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Media Release

Published: 09/08/2008

From Field to Feast

A Native American and Hispanic Community Celebration October 4 – 18, 2008
Albuquerque, NM - The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) and the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) are proud to announce the first annual From Field to Feast Celebration, October 4 – 18, 2008. This two-week community festival celebrates the traditional histories of planting, harvesting, cooking and eating of food while considering issues of health and well-being. Building on the success of the IPCC’s Community Connections Native Food and Wellness Program in the fall of 2007, both cultural centers will host a series of collaborative, interactive programs and events at their respective sites.

Events include a Growers Market, a Fun Run, a Native Chef Cook-Off, a film festival, a nature hike and children’s activities. These events are aimed at giving the public the opportunity to learn more about the rich and varied customs and traditions that the Native American and Hispanic communities share. Also, a new book entitled Good Food, Good Health: From Field to Feast Handbook written by Yolanda Nava and Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D. will also be available. This book was written to help provide information about how to prevent diseases such as heart disease, Diabetes-2 and obesity and to help readers make healthier lifestyle choices.

Ron Solimon, President/CEO for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center said, “Among many Native communities the word for food is actually life, so rather than someone being asked to partake in food, he/she is invited to have some life. Food is considered to be a gift of life from our Creator provided through Mother Earth. As a result of the convergence of Native and Hispanic cultures over four centuries ago, today’s meals among Native and Hispanic peoples are a combination of indigenous crops and wildlife, as well as non-native crops, and protein from domesticated animals and fowl. The convergence of cultures is also reflected in the management of precious land and water resources. Acequias (ditches) that bring nurturing waters to newly planted crops are carefully maintained by Native and Hispanic communities – often on contiguous land areas. From planting time in the spring to harvesting time in the fall, everyone’s prayers to our Creator and the spiritual realm are for life-giving rain. The integration of Roman Catholic feast days celebrating the lives of patron saints into Pueblo culture provides venues for the articulation of prayers for life sustaining moisture through the songs and ceremonial dances of Pueblo people. While many people see these feast days as only celebrations, the Native people have embraced them as opportunities for prayers and supplication. The Native and Hispanic cultures of the Southwest have been sustained as a result of their collective prayers being answered by the Creator and the spiritual realm.”
One of the main purposes of this celebration is to engage the community in a fun and festive way while exploring and celebrating shared food histories and cultural legacies, farming practices, healing powers of food and the artistic expressions in New Mexico in both the Native American and Hispanic communities. NHCC Executive Director Eduardo Díaz adds, “Spaniards, Mexicans and New Mexicans have been living among Pueblo communities for hundreds of years. Over that period of time many unique and diverse cultural traditions have emerged, many of them closely held and shared. From Field to Feast is a singular opportunity to explore a range of these shared Indo-Hispano traditions in a way that will also promote native food and wellness and healthier lifestyles for our communities."

From Field to Feast opening ceremonies will be held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Saturday, October 11th at 10 am. Immediately following at 11 am both centers will host a series of activities at their sites. A complete listing of activities and programs at both institutions can be found at www.nhccnm.org and www.indianpueblo.org. From Field to Feast is an initiative of the New Mexico Community Foundation, and funded in part by grants from the Center of Southwest Culture, the Con Alma Health Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Augustina H. Reyes and Dr. Michael A.Olivas . Program support provided by the City of Albuquerque’s BioPark, South Valley Economic Development Center, Southwest Organizing Project, New Mexico Farmers’ Market Association, the Mexican Consulate and Petroglyph National Monument.

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