In the first ever partnership between the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the Albuquerque BioPark, children from the Pueblo of Acoma will plant a corn field with Acoma heirloom seeds at the Albuquerque BioPark’s Heritage Farm on Sunday, May 11.
Under the direction of the Pueblo of Acoma Community Curator, William Estevan, the children, whose ages range from 10 to 16 years–old, will begin planting the white corn crop at 9 a.m. at the Rio Grande Botanic Gardens’ Heritage Farm exhibit, 2601 Central Ave. NW and Garden visitors are invited to observe the planting until 3 p.m. (Botanic garden admission is adults $7; seniors/children $3.)
The Acoma children will plant, maintain, harvest and roast a portion of their native white corn crop in early autumn during the BioPark’s annual Harvest Festival and Farmer’s Market scheduled for October 4 and 5. The children will also harvest all corn and demonstrate the traditional processes for preserving dried ears of corn, preserving corn husks, and utilizing the dried stalks as feed for farm animals.
The planting this Sunday is a lead-in for the construction of a waffle garden at the BioPark by children from the “Pathways to Zuni Wisdom” program later this season. Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico is noted for refining this system of traditional planting and continues to expose younger generations of Zuni people to this art through the “pathways” program under the auspices of the A:shiwi Awan Museum at Zuni Pueblo.
An historical agricultural tradition among most of New Mexico Pueblos, “Waffle Gardens” are constructed in a grid pattern on plots near an existing water reservoir close to family homes. Vegetables and numerous herbs are common plants that are grown in the waffle garden.
According to Brian Vallo, Museum Director for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, both pueblos are excited to participate in this project and the pueblos will provide direct guidance and supervision over both the corn field and waffle garden projects.
Vallo said, “We are excited about this opportunity to engage our Pueblo children and others in this project focused on traditional Pueblo agricultural practices and are happy for this opportunity to share this knowledge with all who come to these events at the Botanic Garden.”
This partnership is part of a larger collaborative program organized by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the National Hispanic Cultural Center under the title “From Field to Feast” to include programs and events dedicated to the shared culture of agriculture, food, medicine and farming between Hispanic and Pueblo people.