Since the re-organization of our La Montañita FUND investment program, which provides for one-, three- and five-year terms, and the expansion of the size of loans and repayment term length, the La Montañita FUND has almost tripled the loans made in the community. NRCS grants are reimbursement grants made through the USDA. Our loans help NRCS grantees have the capital to implement their projects, then get reimbursement funds to repay their loan. Over the life of this program, we have facilitated over $250,000 in micro-loans to agricultural producers throughout the state.
Below is a brief summary of the loans out at this time.
Micheal and Ed Loubaugh are long time Co-op partners as we work to build the regional food system. Their business has expanded over the years in tandem with our Co-op Distribution Center, which has become their sole distributor, aside from their visits to their favorite farmer’s markets. For the full story on Old Windmill Diary see the March issue of the Co-op Connection News or visit their website at www.theoldwindmilldairy.com.
A Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grantee, our loan is to cover their capital outlay expenses. Los Jardins is a South Valley based non-profit working to educate neighborhood residents on gardening, farming and good nutritional practices for improved health. Our loan was to cover their capital outlay for the hoop house they are building for the project.www.losjardinesinstitute.jimdo.com
Nolina Bryant has been selling to the Co-op, farmer’s markets and at other retail outlets and has been certified organic since 2004. The loan is to put another ½ acre of mixed vegetables into production for the 2012 season with expectation of being fully productive by the 2013 growing season. It will also help bring electricity to the center of the farm, prepare the soil in the new half acre and install a 30’x96’ high tunnel, hoop house for multiple season production. She was the winner of the New Mexico Dept. of Agriculture Good Earth Farming Award at the Organic Farming Conference in 2010 and she provides farming education for farm interns, schools, farmers and the larger community. www.myheavenlyorganics.com
A dedicated Gallup grower and occupational therapist with the Gallup School district, Amy has been the manager of the Gallup Farmer’s Market, the manger of Wild Sage Co-op before it became a La Montañita Outpost and is currently the largest supplier of local produce for the Work in Beauty CSA in Gallup. With her farming partner Tom, she sold produce from their first ½ acre, last year though the Farmer’s Market, the CSA, to local restaurants and at the Gallup Co-op location. The loan will provide the start up costs of adding another 10,000 square feet of growing space, irrigation supplies, fencing, seed, row cover and plastic. www.workinbeauty.org
Jim and Kate Maynard created the Maynard Cattle Company in 1999 with the purchase of their first cowherd, incorporated in 2002 and began selling in retail markets in June of 2006. Their motto is “Healthy land provides healthy food, which creates healthy people” is in keeping with our shared values. The loan is to expand their herds to continue their 100% grass fed beef operation in Luna County for their NM Ranch Raised Beef label and distributed throughout southeastern New Mexico and west Texas.
Pollo Real has a long history with La Montañita Co-op and we have been selling their chickens for well over a decade. They were participants in the Co-op’s early ventures into micro lending during our pre-payment program and have always re-paid their Co-op loans. This loan is to add 2000 new birds to their flock and for spring season start up costs. www.polloreal.com
This is another NRCS grantee for work to install underground pipes from the acequia madre to his grape orchards, to install a cistern to collect rainwater from his rooftop and to build a 2,000 square-foot hoop house. The loan allows him to get started, get inspected, get his first NRCS award and continue his farming and water conservation projects.
This is yet another NRCS grantee. Andrew and Michelle are to rebuild an acequia head gate to restore critical agricultural land and re-establish family fruit orchards in the Velarde Valley.
In early December we made a loan to the new Ancient Waters Farm, located three miles from Ojo Caliente, run by Alcides and Erin Lloyd-Ortigoza. Alcides has extensive experience in farming both in Alcides’ native Paraguay and as farm manager for Skarsgard Farms here in New Mexico. Erin is a landscape architect. This loan exemplifies the goals of the FUND. It will bring farmland that has been fallow back into production, gets next generation farmers out on the land and helps expand local food production. We made a loan to Ancient Waters Farm in early December to help them put up deer-proof fencing around their seven acres, put up their hoop house, buy seed and get started. www.ancientwatersfarm.com