Consensus building

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100% agreement to do the right thing, measured by behavior, not words.

The NM Healthy Soil Working Group is committed to operate in a bipartisan and consensus-oriented way. In partnership, we aim to achieve rapid adoption of healthy soil principles state-wide. Improved land management on private, state, and federal lands will result in healthy soil, significant water infiltration, stabilized species diversity, revitalized rural economies and climate resilient communities.

New Mexico recently joined a nationwide, bi-partisan movement aiming to accelerate soil health stewardship through state level legislation. The NM Healthy Soil Working Group brought together a grassroots coalition of over 100 food and agriculture related organizations, as well as conservation groups and dozens of farms and ranches. Together, we succeeded in passing the NM Healthy Soil Act in the spring of 2019. The bi-partisan, unanimous passage of the Healthy Soil Act would not have been possible without the partnership of influential agricultural advocacy groups, such as the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD), the NM Farm and Livestock Bureau, All Pueblo Council of Governors, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, National Young Farmers Coalition, NM Acequia Association and many others.

Through respectful listening and our commitment to 100% consensus, the Working Group is bringing together groups and individuals that often find themselves at opposite sides of important issues. We recognize historic and present-day divisiveness among our agriculture and conservation communities as one of the major inhibitors to widespread adoption of soil stewardship across the state. The Healthy Soil Act was passed unanimously because we were able to coalesce despite these divisions and present a united voice. This kind of bridge- and coalition-building is a key tenant of our process.

We often use a consensus building process developed by Bob Chadwick and now continued by Jeff Goebel of the Community Consensus Institute, who is one of the co-founders of the NM Healthy Soil Working Group. Watch this short portrait of Bob by film maker Nic Askew. See more of Nic’s beautiful work at

Nic’s instructions: Best played full screen, with head phones and giving your undivided attention.