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Right one last Spotlight, okay, well, thank you for joining us tonight. We are going to start our seed story for September.
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So I just wanna welcome everybody who will be viewing this seed story. My name is Renee Free.
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I am the education coordinator at Cs and Common and your host tonight for Seed Story.
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And if you haven't joined us before, the purpose of Seed Story is to really compensate with farmers, see keepers and activists.
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And to focus on the people and organizations doing really impactful work in their respective roles within the food industry.
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And tonight I am joined by our guest, Brandon Francis. I was fortunate to meet Brandon during a seed school.
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I think it was a seed and grain school held by Rocky Mountain Seat Alliance. And I feel like I was more of a student to brand in every single time that we interacted.
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My next interaction with Brandon was when he was a presenter at the work and beauty event that we held in Raina, New Mexico.
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I think that was in 2,021. And I was or 2022 and I was able to really witness historic telling skills live and in person.
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It was really a great time and we're telling skills live and in person. It was really a great time and we'll talk a little bit about that.
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I so, yeah, so he, then the last time that I was able to really become involved with Brandon Frances's style was when he decided to join us in the grain school one on one modules by being a facilitator.
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And so if you have been watching our seed stories, you would have seen that last month I aired that module just so that people could see you know what a grain school one on one is all about and what the new activity that was happening in that course.
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So. Still posted, please do check it out. And so, yeah, I am very pleased to welcome Brandon Francis to join us tonight for Seed Story.
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So thank you, Brandon.
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Yeah, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
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Yes, well we appreciate you. So, I was wanted to ask you if you could share a brief little introduction about yourself and being involved in this industry.
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Or this world.
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Oh, yeah, Sherry Brandon, William, Francis, Twitch, in Dessert Trader, Kilachine, that's Oh, I've been nice like, thank you again, Renee.
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All the opportunities they get to share knowledge with people and because when you're in any agricultural related field.
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It's all about sharing and building community and kinship. And. One time we started, on this path of sharing my knowledge and what the ancestral, the traditional ecological knowledge and knowledge from.
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Where I came from on Black Mesa, Arizona. Was, as I, I, from a very young age, I didn't realize that.
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I was being gifted or blessed with all this knowledge. That people. Get degrees in they go to school years for and And my grandparents, my aunts and uncles.
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It was just a part of our way of life, so. When I got to got to go to school and I, I realize this is a good opportunity to share all this knowledge of people and And grow a communion and further this knowledge.
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Of our, of our heritage, and just share the love that we have of growing and planting.
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Yes, no, you were you definitely grew up in a scenario that I would say is pretty atypical for people in this country.
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And it seems like it was really ingrained in just your day to day life. I just wanna share like a little bit of a background that I'm familiar with with regard to Brandon and I know that I had posted it on our web page but just, just to inform anybody viewing this, you know, in addition to his upbringing and all the knowledge that he obtained through his
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family, he's a plant researcher, you know, and he's worked in the lands of Black Mason, New Mexico, like his family did for several generations.
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But truly beginning your work was in sustainable food systems at the old Fort Lewis in Hesperus, Colorado.
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And that's where you completed an internship and apprenticeship in sustainable agricultural methods. And then, where you were working as a research laboratory technician, education research coordinator, and currently now you're a graduate research assistant at New Mexico State University, right?
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And this is all at the Agricultural Science Center in Farmington, New Mexico. And you know, one of the things that I had read on about Brandon was that part of his research was doing high elevation, experimentation with 3 sisters, see.
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Brides that are endemic to the Southwest. And you know I I read up on that and I you know I thought that it was really interesting and informative and all that work in the San Juan Valley.
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But anyways, I just wanted to share a little bit about that background. Regarding Brandon.
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Yeah, that I always tell people I probably Did every program over at the O for in Hesper's Colorado?
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That or it's a educational. Area where they're training future farmers who are interested in making that their way of life.
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And which is very important. As, you probably know and everyone probably knows. Growing your own food or even growing food in general is And, you know, farmer is on the decline nationwide.
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International people are losing connection with it. And when I went to the O for, I. I took advantage of every opportunity like I mentioned.
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I volunteered there. I did my internship there. And then I became a apprentice and I became a farmer in training.
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And then I became. What they call an incubator farmer. And I did that and I'm.
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Now, thanks to all those opportunities that Fort Lewis College. Offered and. The O fork, Bethle, I'm able to farm and grow here in New Mexico and the Samoan River Valley.
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So I'm very grateful for all those opportunities and I would highly recommend anyone who's interested in starting their own farm or learning how to save their own.
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And they're in or wanting even just to feed their family or the community to look into programs like incubator farming or farmers and training programs.
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I really highly recommend them.
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Great advice. Good advice. So I know that we touched on this very lightly, but And I'm familiar with this because I was I listened to the module in Green School 101, but can you share a little bit how grains in particular were interwoven into your early life like you were mentioning you were learning just within your family.
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It wasn't until later like when I went to college, I didn't realize. How much corn?
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Growing things like corn, beans and squash. Was something that everybody did. When I, when I was young, every neighborhood would have a, even a small cornfield in their backyard.
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Or they were always growing something and that became less and less over the years. But It wasn't until I thought back on how I was raised that Oh, I remember growing up on Black Mesa.
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We, we always had a cornfield with various successions going on every year. And one of my earliest memories.
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Is playing with my My grandma, my dad's mother, my male lady. In the cornfield with my brother and I just like my earliest memory.
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This is When I think about my grandma and corn and My biggest memory. It's like. It's all interior like you know, you word it perfectly.
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There's no discrepancy from. Not being connected with it. And And, anything else.
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So I was blessed to have. All this. You know, all this, stood on me and I love for at the early age.
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No pun intended, but ingrained in your upbringing. And you know, will you tell that story and I think about that time when we were in Raymond, New Mexico at the work in video event doing grain school.
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And how your daughter Mary Ann was present. And so. You know, when you participated as a knowledge keeper at our event, you communicated that in your work on the farm, always involving your family and you know.
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I mean, I, I saw it and then I hear it in, you know, your own. Upbringing and I think that that's really that's precious and very different from I think at least how I was raised.
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And I was raised in Illinois and they have a lot of corn there too.
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Yeah. I always tell the always tell this. That education, Western perspective, how we go to school, we go to the classroom, We learn.
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It's new. Us people in in the 4 corners and. In North and South America, but.
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Our classroom was. The corn field or some outdoor type activities. So from a very young age, people were kids were taught.
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Yeah, about life, about the cycle of life, about the continuation of life. In the cornfield and the respect for life and the kinship with all things not just living.
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But also with the soil, which is living at what the water and the plants and we all depend on each other.
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And it's very important that kids are taught that at a very young age and And then it's harder to pick up.
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As they grow older and in my other research. So I was involved with the Yellow Healthy eating and gardening project.
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They found or we found that. Kids when they're about 8 to 10 years old. That's when they make this certain choices and that are gonna stick with them for the rest of their lives such as eating choices and healthy eating choices and knowledge about.
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Life so it's very important that they get that knowledge around that. And indigenous people were doing it.
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For centuries, millennia, and they realize that Living in harmony with the land and it's very important to our well being.
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Definitely. And you know, I've been seeing, that there's been a really increased influx of younger farmers at least from what I've been reading at least in indigenous communities.
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And I was looking at how the average age of a lot of Western farmers in this country that the average age is much higher like mid fiftys and so i just wanted to know what's what have your observations been with younger farmers getting more involved in agriculture in your in your community.
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There is that interest. And in particular a strong interest when we realize during the pandemic. How vulnerable our food system is and or can be.
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One stretch to the limits. So a lot of people realize that. But the supermarket or even the grocery store might not.
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Reliable and the knowledge that our ancestors, you know, our grandparents have of preserving food and growing food.
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Is very important and and having those food available for your family is also very important. So. I have seen the uptick and it is very encouraging.
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To me, because when I first started doing work and research in the Santa. The number of people growing along the center.
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I'm really in the center of that. We're, in business was about 35%.
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So, 35% meaning of all the available land that was designated for farming. Only 35% was being utilized.
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But, but then, do you take the recent, pandemic, to the pandemic and things like that.
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People have been getting back into it. Getting that, realizing that. Even if they put corn in or alpha or any type of product that they're gonna have to.
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They're gonna have to, think about the health of the soil, the health of the water.
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So all that knowledge about food. It's also either connected into other areas about health of our environment, health of our of our of our animals and it's really encouraging.
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And I. I like to think that. Those people are on the cutting edge of a resurgence.
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And did you say what percentage is being farmed now along the San One River Valley? Post pandemic.
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Oh. I would say more than 35%, but a lot a lot of factors go into into into into that.
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And it's really that the 35% is a really important number because 70%. Of the Navajo farmers that farm on the Nabo reservation.
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70% farm along the San on, over Valley.
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And so yeah, and I have seen them follow land that I used to drive by. Yeah, people are working it now.
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So it's really encouraged me and they are asking questions that farmers probably never asked before like. What's a good cover crop?
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I, I can add to this soil. Where can I get a soil test? And that they're, they're thinking, they're thinking long term, not just, oh, what can I get immediately or what can I get now?
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I'm thinking. I got returned to like our turn this land not only to production but Yeah, we make it resilient and sustainable for future production.
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This is a little bit of a side note, but I just came across this organization, called Big Baby Foods.
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Have you heard of them?
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Yeah. Last year, me, Mary Ann and Karen. Actually, yeah, doing the fair.
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Actually gave out. Steam corn and vegetable to the community with them. So I can marry Ben.
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They're also young farmers as well. And they're working land over in And trying.
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Look for healthy options for kids and that's very encouraging. And one of the overlooked areas, I would say.
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Yeah, I came across this organization and thought that they were just doing something really brilliant and, just for those of you who are not familiar.
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Being able to provide culturally relevant early childhood food sources for children, which were very far and few if not at all across I guess it would be across the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico and I'm not sure where else, but their reach was quite far and they were really successful and, Yeah, I just thought that was a brilliant idea.
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And so I was just wondering if there was like any partnerships with like the San One River Valley growers and biddy baby foods.
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If you were familiar with that at all.
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Yeah, the area that they're growing on in the It's what they're working with family and friends.
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And that's the basis of any agricultural pursuit is. Yeah, to be successful, need to work with your community and with your family because you can't do it alone.
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It's a community in Denver. And they invite people over to their farm. And as well as teaching them how to do it.
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They're also building those bonds of kinship which are very important I can call a which is very important to building up your community.
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And food and food is one of the most important places to start is. When when your people are eating well then they can make other plans right beyond that but Well, that's very important is thinking about our young ones and our elderly and people like that.
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People who are most at risk. Or these type of shortcomings in terms of food access.
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Is very important.
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You hear that? I had watched an interview that you had done and really enjoyed it and really just wanted to ask you if you could share.
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Your interpretation of what food sovereignty means to you.
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It's a very, it's a very, very complex question. And. Every person will probably ask it, answer it different.
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And even the time of day, you could probably answer differently. Or just something you heard. For me personally.
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Food sovereignty. Has a lot to do with. Not only what your food that connects you with, your culture.
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But the food that also your body is. Genetically I would say predispose to digest.
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And connecting your kids and your family with that. Is very important. And having even something small in your backyard.
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And teaching your kids that. A lot of work went into this, tomato. Into this.
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Carrot that you grew and just it didn't magically appear at the grocery store.
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There's something that every person worldwide needs to, to understand. And that's my definition is.
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Not only having your own food, but choosing. The healthier option and knowing what your kids and your family is eating is very important.
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When I was watching that interview and it just made me think about my family's background, my mother is from the Philippines.
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And they also have had rapid urbanization over there with Spanish colonialism and They also, you know, they had a primarily like rice, rice, subsistence diet for many, many years and then at this point in time, 500 years post.
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Spanish colonization. And there are just some outrageous numbers in terms of diabetes.
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And so, you know, when you speak to food sovereignty, like I'm very passionate about that too because it's I mean you know the life expectancies are getting shorter.
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Very, very sick and it's already a very hard life and limited resources is they're on islands and so I really also I agree with your definition and how and also about how it impacts.
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What their bodies are predisposed for because I think that there's been similar circumstances out amongst indigenous populations in this country as well.
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Yeah. That's one of, that's one of the reasons that. I started working at the NMS Uxign Center in Farmington.
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Was when I was riding what they call our senior thesis for my undergrad. I did a lot of research into food food related illnesses and these are these are preventable.
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Illnesses. Like, And so. Sharing that, sharing that knowledge of. Healthy eating and growing.
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I read research done by my boss, Dr. Kevin Lombard. And eventually, I got to work with him and Start project or work on projects with them related to getting people.
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Not only knowledge, but But connected to people that can help them in terms of healthy eating because Diabetic and heart related diseases on the reservation.
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Are very prevalent. I think the statistic. Was that one third of the Navajo population is diabetic.
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The other 2 thirds is pre diabetic. So that's. That's an epidemic.
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That is. Those numbers are staggering and Hey, those can easily be prevented. And I read a book once, I can't remember the title of it, I'm right off hand but They were saying it takes 15 generations.
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To that to a new. Food type so things like process sugar and process food our bodies are not prepared for.
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And but then that's the food that's readily available on the reservation because people Well, living in rural areas, they don't have electricity or running water, so.
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They have to take stuff that has a shelf life and. So meeting those needs of people. It is very important.
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Wow, that is a wild. Those are some wild numbers in terms of one third and then the other third is pre diabetic.
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That's so are you have you observed there being like early onset. Diabetes rates increasing like meaning more prevalent adolescence.
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Now let me. Go ahead.
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Oh, sorry. I've read studies where those numbers are on the rise. But then you read about it further and it's national, it's international.
00:24:07.000 --> 00:24:13.000
And it's staggering.
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I just, to add another bit of information. I came across somebody talking about how really diabetes should be labeled as the process food disease.
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And that has definitely been. Highly. Influenced by Western dietary practices.
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Oh, well, hopefully we're, you know, the work that we're all doing now is going to be changing that and hopefully it won't take 15 generations.
00:24:47.000 --> 00:24:52.000
For us to see some positive effects.
00:24:52.000 --> 00:25:00.000
So you, also were talking about how in these in growing food, you need to think about all of these other aspects.
00:25:00.000 --> 00:25:10.000
And so I wanted to ask you about how is water access for your area, your neck of the woods and I guess also the San Juan River Valley.
00:25:10.000 --> 00:25:17.000
And, is it clean water and, is it abundant?
00:25:17.000 --> 00:25:25.000
I always, like to share statistics and numbers. And 70% seems to be the magic number.
00:25:25.000 --> 00:25:35.000
In terms of, Sandra County or the 4 Corners. 70% of the water that flows through the Mexico.
00:25:35.000 --> 00:25:44.000
Flows through San Juan County. So we are actually very, very blessed to live here. And I always tell people that.
00:25:44.000 --> 00:25:55.000
In our, in our cosmology and in our stories. We're blessed and we're given this place by the end of now with the holy people.
00:25:55.000 --> 00:26:02.000
And if, if you over driven on that road. Going towards Albert Creek, there's a place called Dixon.
00:26:02.000 --> 00:26:17.000
Or Angel Peak and in our stories that's where first man and first woman lived. And if you've if you've been towards Navajo Lake or As we're changing women, we gave birth to the warrior twins.
00:26:17.000 --> 00:26:25.000
Oh, that's where she lived. And then just like not even a mile south of where I live.
00:26:25.000 --> 00:26:31.000
By the hospital. Yeah, the count is the confluence of the animus, the, and the La Plata.
00:26:31.000 --> 00:26:40.000
So it's a very, very old place. And we are blessed to live here and grow here.
00:26:40.000 --> 00:26:55.000
And things. I interrupted the the cycle of growing things. But that's just goes to show you how much people care about their plants and care about their.
00:26:55.000 --> 00:27:03.000
Their soil is and it shows the how they have a deep kinship with them that they care. What they water their plants with.
00:27:03.000 --> 00:27:10.000
And then the goalkeeper, 2,015. A farmer shared this outlook with me where he said.
00:27:10.000 --> 00:27:19.000
If we water. Our plants. With the water from the That was contaminated there in this bill.
00:27:19.000 --> 00:27:28.000
It'd be like a form of domestic violence or domestic abuse because we view plants and we view those the corn, the beans and squash as an extension of our family.
00:27:28.000 --> 00:27:35.000
So they worry deeply about these things and rightly so because our kinship and our bond with them.
00:27:35.000 --> 00:27:43.000
Goes back hundreds if not thousands of years. And the corn beans and squash existence today in our existence.
00:27:43.000 --> 00:27:52.000
Today is evidence of that. We share a deep phone with them.
00:27:52.000 --> 00:27:54.000
Do you? I know that in Colorado, there are limitations on being able to install water catchment systems.
00:27:54.000 --> 00:28:09.000
Is that something that you do? Over the 4 Corners area or around in surrounding communities.
00:28:09.000 --> 00:28:10.000
In New Mexico.
00:28:10.000 --> 00:28:20.000
In terms of water catchment. We have installed systems that, We're not.
00:28:20.000 --> 00:28:27.000
We don't actively install in them. For the public but we do we have installed them for a charter school.
00:28:27.000 --> 00:28:36.000
Call Gene, in Shiprock, and. But, water access and having healthy water, people even worry about.
00:28:36.000 --> 00:28:48.000
They're municipal source of water. Is it safe for my plants? Is the well water safe for my plants and Those are questions that we if we don't have the answer for them at the agricultural science center.
00:28:48.000 --> 00:28:59.000
We help them search out those people that can point them in the right direction. So. Helping people and helping them grow.
00:28:59.000 --> 00:29:11.000
Is when the mission statements that Hi, that the like the cultural science and it has to help people in the Sando, which just doesn't mean same.
00:29:11.000 --> 00:29:19.000
On County, a watershed, like that, say in some, I can't remember who said think like a watershed, you know, don't think like a the community.
00:29:19.000 --> 00:29:24.000
We're all inter dependent on each other.
00:29:24.000 --> 00:29:34.000
Yeah, and you know, so having access to healthy water, super important, obviously.
00:29:34.000 --> 00:29:42.000
And then also having quality and, you know, relevant seeds. Where do you source your seeds from?
00:29:42.000 --> 00:29:46.000
00:29:46.000 --> 00:29:55.000
The the corn I grow. Our family has been growing it. Where centuries, if not longer.
00:29:55.000 --> 00:30:05.000
And I was recently blessed with a seed collection. From the Sand One Seats Savers, the late, Thirdly Todd.
00:30:05.000 --> 00:30:13.000
Bless me with her seed collection. And. Cause that's one of the things about growing is.
00:30:13.000 --> 00:30:22.000
You have to have diversity in your seat and you have to have a health to see population as well. And a healthy plant population.
00:30:22.000 --> 00:30:33.000
To ensure the viability. Sharing that knowledge is key. And finding people who like who are like minded.
00:30:33.000 --> 00:30:43.000
It is. It is one of those small blessings that growing things does help like when I was leaving to go to college.
00:30:43.000 --> 00:30:51.000
I asked my If I could take some of the corn and beans and squash things that we had in, in our, Seed stash.
00:30:51.000 --> 00:31:03.000
Now she handed to me. She said. Wherever you plant these. You're gonna find a new a new family and new friends.
00:31:03.000 --> 00:31:13.000
And I didn't, didn't strike me until later. Don't know when I was planting them that people in.
00:31:13.000 --> 00:31:23.000
Or best, people on us take. They share the same love and that's one of the beauties of agriculture is that it transcends barriers, these imaginary barriers we put up.
00:31:23.000 --> 00:31:33.000
And the transcends race, religion. And that because everyone needs to eat and everyone wants to be healthy.
00:31:33.000 --> 00:31:36.000
You know, when you grow something that is so amazing, you're like, I want to share this.
00:31:36.000 --> 00:31:46.000
Like I want you to taste this tomato that I grew and you know what it's got like 30,000 seeds in it right now.
00:31:46.000 --> 00:31:53.000
Like grow, grow, get after it, grow it. But, that's always been my experience when I have something so great.
00:31:53.000 --> 00:32:05.000
I want to share it and I have the capacity to do so because of the abundant nature. Of fruit vegetables in the seeds that they provide us.
00:32:05.000 --> 00:32:06.000
Yeah. Oh no, I'm just gonna say that. That's a very good way to think about it.
00:32:06.000 --> 00:32:12.000
Oh, go ahead.
00:32:12.000 --> 00:32:24.000
Is that when someone gives you something like a fruit. They're just not handing you. Something that's We're handing you something that they cared for for many weeks, months.
00:32:24.000 --> 00:32:34.000
And that if it's a heirloom or heritage, it's something that their people her family have cared for and have allowed for centuries and and it's a continuation.
00:32:34.000 --> 00:32:41.000
That, you know, like that is very beautiful.
00:32:41.000 --> 00:33:01.000
Share the love, you know? So. Curious. You know, I definitely want to get into what projects and events that you're involved in, but really just like, what are some of your ideas for how to better communities to achieve food sovereignty, food access.
00:33:01.000 --> 00:33:11.000
Food economy. Like what would be just some He, to being able to achieve that in your perspective.
00:33:11.000 --> 00:33:21.000
Hello. Well, for communities. There's no one size fits all solution.
00:33:21.000 --> 00:33:30.000
For being able to access food. Okay, I mentioned, the communities living along the San Juan River.
00:33:30.000 --> 00:33:37.000
They're blessed with so much water. And then you go to another community and. They have almost no water.
00:33:37.000 --> 00:33:48.000
And learning. To, help one another. And.
00:33:48.000 --> 00:33:59.000
And those needs because I And the agricultural science center, we also help people who. Are not from traditionally growing areas.
00:33:59.000 --> 00:34:06.000
And they're, but they, they see that need for their communities. And that need to feed their people is great.
00:34:06.000 --> 00:34:18.000
And, and they, but. Looking looking out looking, don't just look within your community. For help is.
00:34:18.000 --> 00:34:28.000
There's people on the outside who want to help as well. And who have that knowledge. And Like I mentioned that they're willing to help.
00:34:28.000 --> 00:34:43.000
And because they realize that on the most basic level is. Yeah, we need to eat and helping. People eat is a holy is the holy as a holy, profession.
00:34:43.000 --> 00:34:52.000
In terms of like holy way of life, you know. And I always saw people when you, when a novel person tells another person.
00:34:52.000 --> 00:34:58.000
But they're a corn planter. It has meaning beyond just saying, oh, I grow corn.
00:34:58.000 --> 00:35:12.000
It's symbolized that that person has made a path between the earth, and Father Sky like. They're gonna love all things, And just that simple.
00:35:12.000 --> 00:35:20.000
Phrasing, oh, that, oh, I grow corn. It speaks volumes. And so when people grow things.
00:35:20.000 --> 00:35:26.000
That means that they have that in them. They have that love. They have that capacity. And realizing that.
00:35:26.000 --> 00:35:36.000
That help that you need might not come from your community or. It might even be like something across the world that they're doing now.
00:35:36.000 --> 00:35:43.000
To be open to knowledge. That's what I would say.
00:35:43.000 --> 00:35:58.000
I appreciate that. And you know, I just wanted to add to that. Yes, food growers help, you know, not only sustain people's lives, but like encourage health and you know, they were very revered individuals, you know, in history.
00:35:58.000 --> 00:36:15.000
And at least in history in Western history, you know, you would, when agriculture came to being in the storing of food, you know, this was a very like not not process but like really highly valued and respected individual society.
00:36:15.000 --> 00:36:24.000
And then, you know, after industrial agriculture. And how all of these things change the farmer has now become at least in.
00:36:24.000 --> 00:36:53.000
Western society, United States. The farmers become somebody who is in debt. Constantly who you know has been ostracized like in legal terms like having certain corporations go after them for you know, growing GMO corn or whatever that was past, very probably air, wind pollinated and have just like come to this point where these were once the people that were providing sustenance that are now.
00:36:53.000 --> 00:37:04.000
Working so many hours and now their children don't want to carry on this legacy because they've seen it just break down their their family and it's just completely flipped 1 80.
00:37:04.000 --> 00:37:14.000
And it's very saddening because it really does, I mean, it, he, he basically heals, you know, people with food if you're doing it quality wise.
00:37:14.000 --> 00:37:26.000
Yeah. One of the, in a farmer also has one of those sad statistics as well where they have one of the highest rates of suicide.
00:37:26.000 --> 00:37:35.000
Because of issues like There they can't afford to run their family farm anymore. They're gonna sell their family farm.
00:37:35.000 --> 00:37:46.000
And all and it's It, it is one of those. Where like you mentioned, it used to be a highly respected.
00:37:46.000 --> 00:38:00.000
Profession and now one person is growing, growing food for 300 people. No, and that's hard to think about when like less than 100 years ago.
00:38:00.000 --> 00:38:14.000
We one farmer, enough to feed 10 people. And that number is going. Hi and higher and has to because there's less and less farmers or less and less people growing food.
00:38:14.000 --> 00:38:36.000
So it is refreshing that there is an influx of younger people interested in farming, but really from what I've seen to do it in a different and bio dynamic way and that is to be more sustainable and more in harmony with all of the other elements that play into it as well.
00:38:36.000 --> 00:38:50.000
So that is, you know, positive. No. I did have a question for my colleague, Marissa, and she was wondering, she, I think she, she's from Northern Arizona as well.
00:38:50.000 --> 00:38:58.000
Oh, you met her. She's Hopi and Navajo as well. But she was curious about.
00:38:58.000 --> 00:39:08.000
How do you think that? That we can move away from highly processed, meat flour and towards more healthier local green.
00:39:08.000 --> 00:39:21.000
Varieties and it's relevant to her because you know, she was saying that in her communities there's a lot of blue bird flower that's used for fry bread and tortillas and it's just not nutritious at all.
00:39:21.000 --> 00:39:29.000
And so she was curious about your perspective there.
00:39:29.000 --> 00:39:41.000
I would say by supporting your local growers. And. And advertising it to your communities.
00:39:41.000 --> 00:39:54.000
And because farmers markets, they're, all over. And telling them like. The hardest thing to do is tell someone to grow something new.
00:39:54.000 --> 00:40:09.000
When they've been growing something successfully for thousands of years. And, and that they'll be interested because they're always interested in maybe they'll But I always tell people.
00:40:09.000 --> 00:40:16.000
I always try to for my kid, I always try to. Incorporate corn, beans and squash into their meals.
00:40:16.000 --> 00:40:23.000
And at least once a day because There's a Navajo word. And similar to the word for soul food.
00:40:23.000 --> 00:40:28.000
It's called a chunk. It's when you crave something like almost on a spiritual level.
00:40:28.000 --> 00:40:34.000
So when you see it when you feed your kids those corn and beans and spots you can just see it.
00:40:34.000 --> 00:40:43.000
Almost the elation that Their bodies making that connection where it's, digesting something familiar.
00:40:43.000 --> 00:40:53.000
And they love it and they know they ask for it and it's something beautiful. And when, and when they love it, you just wanna grow more of it.
00:40:53.000 --> 00:40:58.000
I think that's something similar you can do to your local growers. That's shown that you love something.
00:40:58.000 --> 00:41:08.000
Maybe they'll grow more of that. Is on supply and demand.
00:41:08.000 --> 00:41:13.000
Yeah, really good point. In a way it's like marketing, you know, you have to like market it and, you know, show them why.
00:41:13.000 --> 00:41:27.000
And yeah, that would be a really big risk. Ask someone to be like, hey, you've been doing, you're making money, you're doing this for a while, but now try this.
00:41:27.000 --> 00:41:32.000
Pretty big bite to take.
00:41:32.000 --> 00:41:36.000
So tell me, what do you have coming up? What, what are some projects that you're working on?
00:41:36.000 --> 00:41:46.000
Do you have any? Seed education events coming up. What's coming up for you in 2023 to 2024.
00:41:46.000 --> 00:41:54.000
I'm not growing as much as we did in previous years. being a, a grad student and.
00:41:54.000 --> 00:42:03.000
Being a father to a 3 year old is, and working. Is a lot. And.
00:42:03.000 --> 00:42:07.000
But my current project is.
00:42:07.000 --> 00:42:15.000
Is I developed what's called survey instrument. To help farmers, to get a better understanding of.
00:42:15.000 --> 00:42:25.000
Of their needs in the center on. In terms of controlled environment growing, which is hoop houses. Hi, tunnels, low tunnels, aquaponics.
00:42:25.000 --> 00:42:32.000
Hi, systems and as well as their knowledge of agro voltaics, which is going. Yeah.
00:42:32.000 --> 00:42:43.000
Alongside solar panels. Because the big is a big push towards green energy now. And when you take when you put land in for solar, you're taking it out of production.
00:42:43.000 --> 00:42:53.000
So I was looking at ways of where we can. Now, only provide power, but provide food because there's research that has been done where it shows that.
00:42:53.000 --> 00:43:00.000
Like, plants grow near electricity action, produce more, which is very strange.
00:43:00.000 --> 00:43:12.000
And just questions like that. Like, what's your knowledge of organic organic, production practices and familiarity with different types of training.
00:43:12.000 --> 00:43:20.000
And so that way we can get a better understanding of. What the community is actually because a lot of people they come to.
00:43:20.000 --> 00:43:27.000
They come to these communities and they offer a free greenhouses and aquaponic systems, hydroponic systems and.
00:43:27.000 --> 00:43:33.000
Yeah, go back later and they'll be sitting there. There'll be a storage check. You know, go on, you'll ask them.
00:43:33.000 --> 00:43:38.000
How come you're not using your greenhouse? Oh, there's no one trained to do it, you know.
00:43:38.000 --> 00:43:49.000
So a lot of people are putting the cart before the horse. And not offering the training and the and the free new production methods, you know.
00:43:49.000 --> 00:44:01.000
So just getting a better understanding of the system as well as. Trying to. See a farmers be interested in cover crapping in the.
00:44:01.000 --> 00:44:06.000
See who'd seen who'd be the early adopters to this new method. And like I mentioned.
00:44:06.000 --> 00:44:14.000
It's almost like your snake oil salesman. You know, coming to just coming to talking to people.
00:44:14.000 --> 00:44:27.000
We have ground corn and squash and beans as long as they remember. And they're telling them, it's let's add some more work on top of that, you know, and some of them are interested, but if you tell them to.
00:44:27.000 --> 00:44:30.000
And some of them are interested, but if you tell them the benefits. Yeah, they're interested.
00:44:30.000 --> 00:44:45.000
See if there's an interest in. And new layer of complex. If it are. To the growing system, just cover And it's currently that's my current project.
00:44:45.000 --> 00:44:51.000
What cover cropping do you think would work in the San One River Valley?
00:44:51.000 --> 00:45:03.000
When we were offering the farmers the options, we, showed them all. Like ones that were, could work well in the soil type and as well as the region.
00:45:03.000 --> 00:45:13.000
And we weren't saying, oh, use this. You weren't saying you have to use this or your, you can't be in the program, you know.
00:45:13.000 --> 00:45:22.000
And we're, well, we let them choose. We're trying to. See if they would
00:45:22.000 --> 00:45:31.000
And Patricia Caley is actually good for. Young, use. Youngest, nursing sheep mothers.
00:45:31.000 --> 00:45:39.000
And that's showing, and even caps, showing that they increase, milk production. And we'll see if that'd be a.
00:45:39.000 --> 00:45:48.000
Because a lot of the farmers, they're also ranchers as well. So. But 9 out of 10 of those farmers.
00:45:48.000 --> 00:45:56.000
And we give them the options of cover crop. What do you think they chose?
00:45:56.000 --> 00:45:58.000
In terms of
00:45:58.000 --> 00:46:01.000
Yeah, cover crop.
00:46:01.000 --> 00:46:14.000
I'm, I mean. Where are using Cal P out here, but. Which is native I guess to this area but what were they choosing?
00:46:14.000 --> 00:46:16.000
00:46:16.000 --> 00:46:22.000
00:46:22.000 --> 00:46:23.000
00:46:23.000 --> 00:46:30.000
So they're not, they're not diverging very far from. From their knowledge base. But hopefully those early adopters that could show the people like.
00:46:30.000 --> 00:46:37.000
Yeah. Well, I didn't increase my yields. It didn't, it didn't increase my organic matter, which did increase.
00:46:37.000 --> 00:46:45.000
The microbial life and did help my plants, you know, some like that because Cover copying really hasn't been shown to increase yields.
00:46:45.000 --> 00:47:00.000
Sometimes it actually decreases your yields after using years of this method. But it's one of those things where you have to, you have to start it and learn with it like anything like start small.
00:47:00.000 --> 00:47:10.000
Learn how it grows, learn when to. To cut it down, incorporated. And those things, it's a.
00:47:10.000 --> 00:47:19.000
It's not new. But it is something that you're asking people who. You are in the peak of their harvest season that.
00:47:19.000 --> 00:47:26.000
Before the water shuts off on October fifteenth that Maybe you should throw down some cover crop and put some water on it, you know.
00:47:26.000 --> 00:47:38.000
And It's something that will take time for or incorporate into their agricultural practices, but. And hopefully those early adopters will see the benefits of it.
00:47:38.000 --> 00:47:46.000
Yeah, and then start sharing those successes with the community and then, you know, hopefully it takes off.
00:47:46.000 --> 00:47:54.000
So we're, we've got about 10 min left. And I always like to conclude seed story with asking.
00:47:54.000 --> 00:47:59.000
What's your favorite seat to save the season?
00:47:59.000 --> 00:48:09.000
We save a lot of But one thing I like to do when I'm teaching. Hi, agricultural methods.
00:48:09.000 --> 00:48:15.000
Is I like to show how our ancestors did it. Are you even people 100 years ago did it?
00:48:15.000 --> 00:48:23.000
You know? And then finally, show them how we do it in the 20 first century and it just it not only blows their mind.
00:48:23.000 --> 00:48:29.000
But it teaches them a respect of how tough. In resilient people were a long time ago.
00:48:29.000 --> 00:48:44.000
So the example I always use is, Is. He's selling corn. Like when you try it and you shell it, always to get an old cob and just rub the corn kernels off.
00:48:44.000 --> 00:48:54.000
I had my kids doing this. And it's a, it's labor intensive. And some of the, you can't imagine you wouldn't imagine it, but sometimes corncobs are sharp.
00:48:54.000 --> 00:49:00.000
You can cut you. And after, after they do a few buckets worth or a few bags or.
00:49:00.000 --> 00:49:10.000
And then I break out the hand crank sheller and just like show them through one at a time, you know, and they And then I also do that when I'm setting up a water system.
00:49:10.000 --> 00:49:17.000
At the either a community garden or a new place where we're going to be growing. I always, we play bucket brigade first.
00:49:17.000 --> 00:49:22.000
Then I'll set up either a drip system or the irrigation system just to show on that.
00:49:22.000 --> 00:49:29.000
This is the way our ancestors did it. They didn't have any problem with it. And the reason that I know it wasn't tough on them.
00:49:29.000 --> 00:49:36.000
Is that you are here today. Is and the reason that there you're here today is because they were so tough.
00:49:36.000 --> 00:49:52.000
And we have it so easy because. We live in the 20 first century. And but teaching that appreciation and respect for how how all those processes took place.
00:49:52.000 --> 00:49:58.000
And How are you? How easy we got it now is something I like to teach.
00:49:58.000 --> 00:50:05.000
Great answer. Yeah, I love that, you know, to show a real appreciation for all of that hard work.
00:50:05.000 --> 00:50:14.000
To lead to whatever technology or practices that we have benefit from today to make it easier. All because of our predecessors.
00:50:14.000 --> 00:50:32.000
I have memories of shucking corn with my aunties in the Philippines and I was a little kid at that time and I remember just like how difficult it was and you know, I would get scratches, but it was such a fun thing to do as a kid.
00:50:32.000 --> 00:50:37.000
Of course, I'm not even getting through a whole cob, you know, when you're 6 years old, but.
00:50:37.000 --> 00:50:43.000
But nevertheless, it was a fun thing to do and, always have that memory.
00:50:43.000 --> 00:50:46.000
Yeah, and you have that deep appreciation for it, right?
00:50:46.000 --> 00:50:48.000
Oh for sure. Oh yeah.
00:50:48.000 --> 00:50:58.000
Every time you eat a tamale or you eat You know how much hard work went into that. Yeah.
00:50:58.000 --> 00:51:05.000
So when you want, so when your grandma or your mother makes you a homemade meal. Not only did she just take hours for pairing it.
00:51:05.000 --> 00:51:09.000
She planted it, she grew it. And. Prepared it was low. You can feel it.
00:51:09.000 --> 00:51:19.000
Yeah, love and over a long period of time, you know, this isn't just what you said, like making the meal.
00:51:19.000 --> 00:51:35.000
There's so much that went into it and you know, I growing up in Arizona this isn't something that I encountered regularly in where I was raised, but whenever I go back to the Philippines, it was, I had much more of the touch into the agricultural.
00:51:35.000 --> 00:51:42.000
Aspect that my family depended upon. Living in that world community. And so. Yeah.
00:51:42.000 --> 00:51:49.000
Many props to to our food growers and our predecessors to bring us to this point now.
00:51:49.000 --> 00:51:56.000
No, don't quote me on it, but I'm not saying farming is easy in the 20 first century.
00:51:56.000 --> 00:52:00.000
But I'm just saying it. It's a lot easier.
00:52:00.000 --> 00:52:04.000
Oh yeah, I agree with you. Yeah.
00:52:04.000 --> 00:52:10.000
Go, go, come up to me tomorrow. I'm like. Right and said farming's easy.
00:52:10.000 --> 00:52:11.000
Yeah, he's not working hard enough.
00:52:11.000 --> 00:52:15.000
Get to my field. Yeah.
00:52:15.000 --> 00:52:28.000
Well, thank you so much for joining us. It's always really cool to speak with you and to see Mary Ann and You know, if you have time, maybe we can get into another project together with seeds in common.
00:52:28.000 --> 00:52:41.000
I know that you're focusing on your graduate studies but we have some things coming up and if it's something that you can join in, I'll definitely reach out to you and see if it's in your capacity but always love speaking with you Brandon.
00:52:41.000 --> 00:52:46.000
Yeah. And if you're in the Cortez area next Wednesday, Cortes, Colorado.
00:52:46.000 --> 00:52:58.000
At 40'clock at the good. Food bank. Indigenous gardening class there the last Wednesday of every month and this.
00:52:58.000 --> 00:53:01.000
This Wednesday will be the last one. For this. Yeah.
00:53:01.000 --> 00:53:11.000
And you'll be facilitating. Oh cool, okay. Well, Cortez. Network and go get some seed saving education next Wednesday.
00:53:11.000 --> 00:53:19.000
Awesome Cool. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate you, Mary Ann. Nice to see you.
00:53:19.000 --> 00:53:22.000
Thanks for joining us.
00:53:22.000 --> 00:53:24.000
Yeah, she's locked up.
00:53:24.000 --> 00:53:32.000
Well, thanks again and, we will. Be in contact soon, but appreciate your time today, Brandon.
00:53:32.000 --> 00:53:39.000
Yeah, I really appreciate you letting me share. So my stories and my knowledge, I really appreciate it.
00:53:39.000 --> 00:53:46.000
Anyone needs any help in anything agricultural related. Reach out to RNA or. Or to me.
00:53:46.000 --> 00:53:54.000
And helping people with something. I enjoyed the. So here I see.
00:53:54.000 --> 00:54:05.000
Great, thank you so much. Yes, reach out to me if you want to contact Brendan and all of you have a great rest of your night.