Quivira Coalition

Prioritizing community and soil health

It seems like you can’t walk into the grocery store, the hardware store, or get your hair cut without running into a situation that feels contentious and charged with people’s immutable opinions. At Quivira Coalition, though, we’ve always recognized that it takes different people with different viewpoints in conversation with one another to sustainably manage Western working lands with care. From our founding, we brought together people who, at face value, would be on opposite sides of almost any topic to focus on making our agricultural lands and watersheds better. The magic happened, though, when those who were at the table set aside their politics, their grievances and gripes, and instead, looked to take the West forward, to restore ecological, social, and political health to the landscape — especially in New Mexico — that deserves it and so desperately needs it.

Our work continues, more than 25 years later, to help foster resiliency not only in our working lands, but also in the people who steward the land and the communities which rely on their vitality. Like almost everything in agriculture and social movements, change has to start at the ground level, and for Quivira, that means prioritizing soil health to help combat the climate crisis. We recognize that land stewards need various types of support to shift to regenerative agricultural practices, namely:

  • Immediate day-to-day, on the ground assistance for those who are caring for the land.
  • A culture shift so the community around those doing the work understands the importance of these regenerative practices and how they can get involved
  • Intergenerational knowledge transfer so that we don’t suffer the loss of existing land-based knowledge, wisdom, and expertise.

According to the National Resources Conservation Service, New Mexico is the state with the most bare ground in the country, which can lead to soil erosion and valuable topsoil being lost. With this in mind, soil health becomes imperative to the resilience of the landscapes and watersheds that we know and love. We have focused many of our efforts to build the capacity of New Mexico farmers and ranchers, land managers, and technical service providers to implement land management practices focused on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

  • The Soil to Supper project supports producers to get more meat, hides, fiber, and other livestock products into regional supply chains while reducing waste, increasing soil health, and building climate resilience. Through a USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant, we have funds that will help 50 livestock producers with training, technical assistance, and planning support. This support will help keep local food and products local while providing these producers with tools to improve soil health, access new markets, and reduce their carbon footprint.
  • New Mexico Coalition to Enhance Working Lands brings together dozens of organizations to improve the productivity of New Mexico’s working lands to create viable agricultural businesses and rural communities, to protect open space, and to increase the ecosystem service benefits these lands provide to the people of the state. We create spaces for the network of organizations and individuals who steward our state’s working lands to gather and share lessons learned around agriculture, conservation, and stewardship. We also provide professional development and fellowship opportunities.
  • An upcoming project will help land stewards connect to resources, improve the health of their land, and meet their agricultural goals through community building, support accessing financial programs, and connection to USDA resources. We know that cutting through bureaucratic red tape — especially for farmers and ranchers who have historically been underserved by financial, conservation, and technical assistance programs from state and federal agencies — can be daunting, so we want to nurture partnerships between land stewards and governmental agencies that can bolster our agriculture and food systems.

Quivira has grown a community of practice and a network of human relationships focused on soil, conversation, and community. We continue to cultivate hope, innovation, education, and collaboration as the nexus from which soil is restored and relationships are grown. We know that offering as many seats at the table as possible will help all of us understand that caring for our working landscapes is critical in remedying the devastating impacts of climate change. We hope you join our coalition — learn more and get involved on our website.


The Santa Fe Community Foundation invited local nonprofits to submit stories related to our April topic of Environment

Apr 20, 2024
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