Addressing Santa Fe’s South/West Side Food Desert & Retake Goes On the Road

Details on a model urban strategy to address low-income community food deserts and Roxanne and I are leaving town….for 10 weeks in search of a Path from Capitalism. March on the 24th and reception with Sen. Wirth, Councilor Romero-Wirth and Mayor Webber.

March for Life. Noon Saturday, March 24. Assemble at Roundhouse, March to Plaza. A march is not a movement and the value of the march on Saturday will depend on if it leads to sustained advocacy for sanity. But quite obviously our youth have lit a fire nationally and so, join them on Saturday and then let’s see if we can’t work together and initiate a campaign to press our State to ban assault weapons, raise the age a person can buy a gun, and tighten background checks. How many need to die before we regain our senses?

One-Hour Live Retake Our Democracy 11am-noon, KSFR 101.1 FM with Paul, Roxanne, Mayor Webber, Sen. Peter Wirth and former Sen. Dede Feldman.  It is Pledge week for my very favorite radio station, KSFR. We will have a fun show with Roxanne and I talking about our road trip (see below) and with clips from Sen. Wirth, Mayor Webber and former Sen. Feldman interspersed. And do we have an incentive for you to make a $100 donation?  Sen. Wirth, Councilor Romero Wirth and Mayor Webber will be at our home on Apr. 3 from 5-7pm for a wine and finger food reception. We will mingle for a bit and then ask our elected officials to take questions. The first 15 folks to pledge $100 will be invited. At the point that we fill all the slots, we will open two more spots to the highest bidder. So, Saturday at 11am, be the first to call 428-1393 and make your pledge.

The Path from Capitalism Tour, 10 Weeks on the Road Seeking a Better Path

Roxanne and I had spoken about this for months. It started with the idea of touring NM to become more familiar with all things not Santa Fe or ABQ in NM. Now that we are building a statewide network as part of our Legislative Strategy, we added the element of wanting to meet with those volunteers who are organizing networks in their towns and meeting with the legislators while out of session. But then the big idea hit. We are going to Philadelphia for my son’s wedding at the end of June. We had planned to fly of course, but then….

We began tinkering. We could drive, go through Jackson, MS and meet with folks there using Community Land Trusts to build housing, small businesses without creating gentrification; we could go through Kentucky and meet with innovators organizing a just transition from coal; we could also meet with the folks in Philly who are developing large scale community gardens to address food deserts in their low-income neighborhoods. As we thought about it, each of these three projects have direct application to Santa Fe and New Mexico.  We will begin with six weeks of touring the south, east, rust belt and midwest, ending in New Orleans for the NetRoots conference. Then head to Las Cruces and loop the outer reaches of the state. We will share what we have learned on our trip with you via blogs, etc. and with the folks with whom we meet on the NM part of the tour.

We have written often about the negative impacts of capitalism, but this tour would be in search of innovative models that are cooperative, not competitive; seek human solutions, not corporate profit; and involve grassroots folks just saying enough is enough and doing something.

The idea grew and while we are just in the process of pulling together a route and reaching out to schedule visits, we are excited just reading about some of the remarkable initiatives out there and how they could be applied in NM. We also plan to blog and podcast along the way and are even exploring a low-cost, high-quality means of incorporating video clips uploaded to YouTube. In any case, if you happen to know of any ‘can’t miss’ grassroots, social justice innovators, let us know. And if any of you have a few hours a week to help with outreach and scheduling, we could use the help. The number of moving parts is pretty staggering. And because of how much time planning this will take….Drop me a note with suggestions or offers of help. paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.

A Second Effort at Self-Discipline

For the second time, I am going to try to discipline myself. Four blogs a week (including the Monday summary), none more than 1000 words, many less than 750. I am terribly undisciplined about this. I tried once before and succeeded….for a week. But now the need to devote time to organizing this trip is motivation to stick to the plan.

Philadelphia: Transforming Vacant Lots into Public Gardens:  Why Not in Santa Fe On the Southside?

Roxanne shared this article with me and the site:  Next Cities. I recommend touring their site and signing up for their blog, as it is full of innovation appropriate to local communities. Since we will be going to Philly and since we have a food desert here in Santa Fe, I put 2+2 together and they will be a stop on our tour.

From Next Cities:  “With its myriad public gardens and 40,000-plus vacant lots, many of which have been transformed into community farms, Philadelphia is already a hub for community gardening. Philly also has a shortage of supermarkets in low income neighborhoods, which has made the city an incubator for novel ideas on getting healthy food into people’s hands, cheap or even free. Now, a group of Philadelphia agriculturists are proposing a new type of garden that could address the latter by taking advantage of the former: a food forest on public land, modeled after a similar project in Seattle”. Click here to get the full story.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

(991 words; I can do this)

4 thoughts on “Addressing Santa Fe’s South/West Side Food Desert & Retake Goes On the Road

  1. Have you thought about visiting Southern Poverty Law Center in Jackson, MS and Montgomery, AL? Definitely social justice innovators. What a great idea you have for a road trip!

  2. OK, maybe you do not have to go to Hillsboro——
    http://hillsborotxedc.com/news/article/city-creates-empowerment-zones-to-promote-development

    but it looks like they have a good thing going for poor neighborhoods……
    Community Development Director Jerry Barker was charged with drafting the guidelines.

    Barker explored successful Neighborhood Empowerment Zones programs in Fort Worth, McKinney, Corpus Christi and Marshall to come up with the guidelines.

    “These incentives and abatements level the playing field, giving existing businesses an opportunity to take advantage of financial benefits that in the past may have only been offered to new businesses coming to town,” Barker pointed out…………….
    I believe the key word here is ’empowerment’. Our governments, from federal to city government, have not been trained and taught to empower the bottom 80%. It will be up to us to do it.

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