Getting back to the land

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September 18th, 2019

Chispas Farm, Albuquerque

Casey Holland and Ian Colburn love digging in the dirt, even in the middle of the Albuquerque area. The pair manage Chispas Farm, a 4-acre operation in Bernalillo County’s South Valley. Chickens and dairy cows roam near the rows of vegetables and flowers that line the small urban farm.

Holland and Colburn practice regenerative agriculture, which aims to restore soil nutrients while maintaining healthy crops. They are applying for a healthy soil grant from the state to help further that effort.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture has a total of $175,000 to award for soil improvement projects in the pilot year of the Healthy Soils Program. The grant program was created by the Healthy Soil Act, which passed the Legislature this year and was signed by the governor in April.

“We’re excited about finding ways to diversify our cover crop mixes and to incorporate more mulching,” Holland said. “We hope the grant could help us transition from tilling our soil to a minimal disturbance alternative that protects this soil microbiome we’ve worked hard to build up, instead of shredding it.”


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