In 1993, I came across the property while hiking around the neighborhood where I was living in a tipi. The property seemed abandoned and yet was one of the most beautiful pieces of land I’d ever seen. The soil, the views, the mountains, the pasture and the irrigation water all seemed perfect for living off the land. The house was an old adobe built in 1955 and needed work. I took on the project to restore the house and care for the land and only paid $50 in rent for the next 10 years.
Roots & Herbs Farm started when my best pal from high school and three other friends decided to learn how to farm the land and grow organic food. After college, we were in search of a more sustainable and peaceful way of life. We also wanted to learn how to survive if life as we knew it changed and we were forced to grow nutritious plants and vegetables and live off of the land. As the 2020 pandemic hit we were happy to be prepared for something like this and were able to thrive in spite of difficult circumstances.
Community Supported Agriculture
The farm is located at the base of the Latir Wilderness in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in northern New Mexico at an elevation of 8,000 feet. What began as an active research and educational farm turned into a community supported agriculture (CSA) organization. Our aim was to create a healthy and sustainable environment where we could thrive and share our experience and products with our local community.
We offered workshops throughout the season with master gardeners and heirloom seeds preservationists and along with participating community members we explored the potential of biodiversity and organic gardening at high elevation. We had visits from UNM and Colorado College sustainable agriculture programs and became a focal point in the community as a resource and sustainable agriculture ally.
Since our farm was abundant with wild flowers and medicinal herbs, it made sense to create our own herbal products as a cottage industry. We started with several products from plants found or grown on the property and in the mountains behind us including calendula, comfrey, arnica, chamomile and osha root among others.
The more people establish their own organic and sustainable methods of producing their own food, the less we as a culture are dependent upon many of the destructive and costly forces of modern agriculture. Since our food source is our most important and immediate life sustaining need, the first vehicle for positive cultural transformation is the establishment of sustainable food systems. It is our goal to unite people in this spirit of ecological wisdom.
It has always been a far-off dream to grow cannabis at the farm. With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made it federally legal to grow hemp, we were excited to finally make our dream a reality. Although we continue to grow vegetables and medicinal herbs, we are focusing our efforts on growing high quality hemp flowers for extraction into CBD oil that we use in our premium products. In April, 2021 New Mexico legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Roots & Herbs is planning on entering the recreational cannabis market as a licensed producer and manufacturer of craft cannabis flower and branded cannabis products in 2022.
Although the pandemic was very difficult and devastating to many, we were extremely blessed to be living off the land in 2020 and to be able to farm the land while on lockdown. The lockdown situation brought about new ideas for the farm. We created a delightful and inviting glamping spot on the farm for friends and family to come and get away in a natural setting. It was a smashing success - our friends even had to make reservations so as not to conflict with other guests. In 2021 we are offering the glamping accommodations to the world via Airbnb.
We have explored many farming practices throughout our process at the farm. From permaculture and using swales for plant irrigation to the creation of our own compost tea, we enjoy working with nature’s biodynamic principles to accommodate plant health. The plants that we grow here thrive on the high mountain desert air and clean fresh spring water from the mountain behind us. We attribute our premium quality to these elements as well as over 28 years of experience working with plants.