- Learn - Make - Connect -
Interested in being part of the all-volunteer team that keeps Cruces Creatives running on a day-to-day basis? Take a class to become a monitor! Back monitor training (for work in the woodshop, electronics room, and bike shop) will be held on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and front monitor training (for work at the front desk, kids’ room, textile room, audiovisual room, classroom and conference room, main room, and multipurpose room) will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19. Monitors who volunteer three hours a week are thanked with a membership to Cruces Creatives.
For more information or to register for back monitor training, visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3176248; for front monitor training, visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3176263.
From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, there’s a seedshare at Cruces Creatives. Come to this free event to learn about heirloom plants and trade seeds (you don’t have to bring seeds to get seeds, but please bring some seeds, bulbs, tubers, or cuttings if you can). The event includes a potluck lunch—if you’d like to join the potluck, bring a dish. For more information, visit http://www.crucescreatives.org/event-3198327.
Cruces Creatives Art Ramble
This first Friday is going to be one special art ramble! The evening features an art show by RV Madrigal & Rio Sangre Art Collective; live performances by Lizard King, Henry Hartig, Hannah Antholzner, and Gonzalo Charles; and an all-original open mic for songwriters, poets, storytellers, comics, composers, and more. The art ramble starts at 5:00 p.m., and signup for the open mic starts at 6:30 p.m. For more information, see http://crucescreatives.org/event-3170849 and http://crucescreatives.org/event-317441.
Looking for a community of artists, designers, engineers, and makers to support you, give feedback on your work, and share knowledge? Creative Crits is the event for you! The meetings start with a mini-lesson (a 15- to 20-minute overview of an idea or technique) followed by individual critiques. The first Creative Crit will be held on January 8 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with a mini-lesson focusing on photography for portfolio. Moving forward, Creative Crits will be held on the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit http://crucescreatives.org/event-3176355.
2018 Donation and Tax-Deduction Letters
This past year has been an amazing whirlwind of events, donations, community building, learning, making, and more. As we wrap up the accounting for 2018, we want to make sure you got your tax letters. If you made a donation and haven't gotten your letter, let us know (by email firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll send a replacement.
Our charitable crafting group finished filling the donation bags this morning, and representatives from Jardin de los Niños came to pick up 60 Christmas handmade bags each filled with 2 or 3 books, socks/ underwear/ hats/ wash clothes/ blankets, toys, an ornament, and a handmade toy. Many thanks to the many people and groups who helped to make this all possible!
To read more about this Charitable Crafting project see:
Cruces Creatives News
The fourth Saturday meeting of Charitable Crafting was rather quiet. It was me. Don't get me wrong, I think people should have been spending time with their families on that Saturday after Thanksgiving. Or traveling, or napping, for that matter. I - on the other hand - haven't been able to spend a lot of time sewing this semester, so that was perfect for me.
The Christmas Bags Project has been rolling along, and when I got there this morning the bag count was 32, and they are hanging up on the wall, so beautiful! Thanks to Misha, for providing some pictures that I didn't think of taking myself!
Cruces Creative Kids
Work on the Kids' Room is well underway, and a day-long Cruces Creative Kids program was held during the Artisan Fair on December 15. As the space grows, it will provide access to engaging childcare and educational programming for all children ages 4-13 and offer a rich learning environment designed to help children acquire the skills they need to be successful in school and life. If you'd like to be involved in designing and equipping the room or developing programs, email Hannah Treder at email@example.com.
The charitable crafting project just delivered 60 handmade gift bags with books, ornaments, handmade toys, clothing, and baby blankets to children at Casa de Peregrinos and Jardín de los Niños. The charitable group will be choosing the next project this Saturday, December 22--come on out to help select the project.
Cruces Creatives is closed for the holidays starting on December 23 and reopens on January 2. May you have safe and happy holidays, and see you in the new year!
The first annual Artisan Fair is this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.! If you’re looking for locally made gifts for the holidays, visit to see the work of multiple local artisans and to enjoy live music, kids' activities, and a silent auction.
The deadline to apply for the pilot class of the HAZLO Program, which helps kids and young adults develop academic and life skills by making real-world projects with a mentor, is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 21.
To apply as a student or mentor, complete a student or mentor application form at https://crucescreatives.org/page-18139. For selected projects, the HAZLO Foundation covers all project expenses, including membership to Cruces Creatives.
Thanks to an indefinite loan from the Farm & Ranch Heritage museum, there’s now a large floor loom available at Cruces Creatives!
From 6:00-9:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, come on out to the makerspace to celebrate everything we’ve accomplished as a community! There’ll be free appetizers and drinks, music, thank-you gifts for members, and sponsor and volunteer recognition. RSVP athttps://crucescreatives.org/event-3142288.
First Friday Arts Ramble and Open Mic
Cruces Creatives is now an official part of the First Friday Art Ramble, and from 5:00-9:00 p.m. on December 7, the makerspace will be presenting “#hashtag: follow me,” the MFA thesis of Victor Beckmann; a continuing exhibit by Felicia Castro; and an all-original open mic for musicians, poets, storytellers, comics, and more.
For more information, visit https://crucescreatives.org/event-3103653 and https://crucescreatives.org/event-3149342.
On December 8 from 6:00-9:00 p.m., come on out to the makerspace to celebrate everything we’ve accomplished as a community! There’ll be free appetizers and drinks, music, thank-yous for members, and sponsor and volunteer recognition. RSVP at https://crucescreatives.org/event-3142288.
Day Passes and Gift Memberships Now Available
Cruces Creatives day passes and gift memberships are now available, just in time for the holidays! Know somebody who’d enjoy the tools and community at Cruces Creatives? You can now get them a gift membership, or day passes in packets of five ($100) or ten ($150). Gift memberships have all the benefits of regular membership; the day passes include full access to the makerspace and tools, as well as safety/use training, and they never expire. You can get day passes and gift memberships at the front desk during business hours.
Thanks to Visgence, Inc. (https://www.visgence.com/), Cruces Creatives now has a laser cutter! Work on calibration and ventilation is underway, and this exciting tool will soon be ready for training classes and community use!
Fundraiser Update and Giving Tuesday
As a community, we’ve now raised over $6,000 through the Home Stretch Fundraiser! This will make it possible to finish the kids’ room, install the ventilation system for the new laser cutter and other tools in the electronics room, and help cover operating expenses during the home stretch of the start-up period. We’re getting there! Coming up next: a woodshop ventilation system so that we can use all of the wonderful woodshop tools without having to move them outside. Help make it happen at http://www.crucescreatives.org/Contribute.
Also, on Giving Tuesday (November 27), you can double your contribution by contributing through Facebook!
Cruces Creatives, in partnership with six other organizations, has been awarded its first grant: $30,000 for a program to identify and address obstacles to regenerative agriculture in New Mexico. An executive summary of the program follows.
Seeding Regenerative Agriculture
Farmers and ranchers can achieve many benefits by more closely following natural models. By cultivating continuous vegetative cover, minimizing tillage, and inoculating soils with the beneficial microbes in soils where the microbiota has been destroyed by conventional practices, farmers can increase crop yields, increase soil nitrogen through the work of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria, increase soil carbon, increase soil water infiltration, increase soil water retention, and prevent or reduce topsoil loss (Johnson et al. “Soil Microbial Communities,” Johnson “Carbon and Nitrogen Partitioning,” Johnson “Influence in Agroecosystems”). Similar benefits can be achieved on ranchland through soil microbiota restoration and by imitating the high-intensity, adaptive grazing practices that nature developed with wild ruminant herds.
In this proposal, we refer to these practices collectively as “regenerative agriculture,” and these practices can address water scarcity, food scarcity, climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, and farm and ranch profitability and long-term viability. The large-scale benefits are known. The challenge now is adapting current practices. Unfortunately, the process of adapting new practices is notoriously slow in the field of agriculture—often taking decades—and the global challenges facing us do not leave us that time. In this collaborative proposal, we propose to work around or address the obstacles impeding the widespread commercial implementation of regenerative agriculture.
There are multiple obstacles to the widespread commercial use of any new farming or ranching practice: technical hurdles, such as difficulty translating lab-based agricultural research to the realities of the field or range (Parnell et al.; Kellett; Dau); economic obstacles, such as difficulty raising capital funds or uncertainty about return on investment (Hepperly 45, 48; Carr), regulatory hurdles (Parnell et al.; Hepperly 54-55); knowledge barriers, such as unfamiliarity with required tools or processes (Hepperly 50, 188-189); negative perceptions of science among farmers (Hepperly 35-36); differences in culture and professional expectations among farmers, scientists, and policy makers (Maat 187); and communicative obstacles among farmers, scientists, and policy makers.
For regenerative agriculture in New Mexico, many of these obstacles have already been removed. Each geographic area, and perhaps each farm, will have its own technical hurdles, but the major and widespread issues have been overcome, with several commercial farms and ranches around the United States having implemented regenerative agricultural approaches successfully (Byck “Soil Carbon Cowboys”; Byck “100,000 Beating Hearts”). Economic obstacles are still formidable, but they can be manageable: capital funds can be raised through loans from organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and although more information about return on investment would be valuable (one goal of this project is to generate more such information), multiple pilot projects at the commercial scale will attest to the economic viability of regenerative agriculture. In New Mexico, regulatory systems do not impose direct obstacles, even though regulations could be improved by creating new policies that recognize and reward soil carbon capture.
In New Mexico, the most substantial obstacles are political, cultural, and knowledge-based. Collectively, our collaboration is poised to address each of these remaining obstacles.
Our plan for change, in essence, is modeled on how beneficial adaptations can originate and spread through ecological communities: a small group, well positioned for change, adapts; the adaptation proves beneficial; the adapted individuals interact with other individuals; and the adaptation spreads. In many instances of social behavior, groups follow “tipping point” theory, and once a small, critical mass of practitioners has been reached, a new behavior can quickly spread through an entire group. Our goal is to build regenerative agriculture in New Mexico toward its tipping point.
Research conducted by collaboration team member Patrick DeSimio through the MESA Project (see “Partner Organizations”) has found that, in Doña Ana County, sizable minorities of farmers and ranchers are largely not subject to the political and cultural barriers that typically impede the implementation of sustainable agricultural technologies (2018, pp. 55 and 67). This subgroup of agriculturalists views environmental degradation as a significant threat, accepts mainstream scientific consensus on human impacts to climate and the environment, and shares a substantial technical vocabulary with agricultural scientists. Most members of this subgroup have already implemented sustainable practices on their farms or ranches. For members of this group, which we call a “Seed Group,” cultural and political beliefs are no longer obstacles to regenerative agriculture; rather, these beliefs can be motivating assets.
Consequently, when working with a Seed Group, the only substantial obstacles to regenerative agriculture are knowledge barriers (which can be addressed through training) and possible technical hurdles associated with on-the-ground conditions as specific farms. Technical hurdles always require innovation, but they can be addressed.
Our proposal is to work with members of Seed Groups—who are part of our existing networks—to implement regenerative agriculture on their farm and ranch land throughout New Mexico, to collaboratively address the inevitable technical hurdles, and to collectively design and perform economic and scientific research to accurately gauge the net economic and environmental benefits of regenerative agriculture. With the Seed Groups as models and guides, we will then collaborate to facilitate interaction and exchange between Seed Group members and other agriculturalists in their communities, promoting the spread of regenerative agriculture (a beneficial adaptation) through larger sections of the agricultural community. The goal is to reach a tipping point beyond which regenerative agriculture becomes the new normal.
Members of the Seed Groups will be drawn from our existing networks (almost 100 members of a Seed Group are already involved in the MESA Project in Doña Ana County) and through promotional materials that explicitly identify with sustainable agriculture and its benefits in relation to environmental threats.
This project plan relies on the collective expertise and abilities of each project partner. The Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research (ISAR) at New Mexico State University (NMSU) is a global leader in regenerative agriculture, especially the cultivation and use of beneficial soil microbes, and ISAR will provide technical and scientific support for this project. Similarly, the Sustainable Agricultural Science Center (SASC) at Alcalde will provide scientific and technical expertise on regenerative agriculture and will provide a testbed for research. The MESA Project, Acequia Madre del Rio Lucero y del Arroyo Seco, Rivers & Birds, and Western Landowners Alliance offer established connections with farmers and ranchers throughout New Mexico, as well as a wide range of resources that can support regenerative agriculture in New Mexico. The Western Landowners Alliance, with its extensive history of successfully influencing policy, will work to impact policy and facilitate regenerative agriculture. Cruces Creatives, a makerspace in Doña Ana County, will offer technical support through rapid prototyping and a broad network of community experts who can help farmers and scientists quickly develop needed technologies and equipment for regenerative agriculture. Each partner organization also has connections to policy makers, offering the chance to create an organized movement behind any needed policy changes.
Carr, Geoffrey. “The Future of Agriculture.” The Economist, June 9, 2016.
Dau, James. “From Lab to the Field, Research Takes Food Where It’s Needed Most.” n.d.
DeSimio, Patrick. “Literacies and Discourse Conventions in Sustainable Agriculture: Potentials for a Rhetoric of Cooperation between Farmers and Scientists.” Master’s Thesis, New Mexico State University
Hepperly, Jody. “Standing in the Way of Control: Small Farmers, Water Use, and Technology Adoption in Oregon.” Master’s Thesis, Oregon State University
Johnson, David C, Elliington, Joe, and Eaton, Wesley. “Development of soil microbial communities for promoting sustainability in agriculture and a global carbon fix” (PrePrint) PeerJ, January 13, 2015
Johnson, David C. “The influence of soil microbial community structure on carbon and nitrogen partitioning in plant/soil ecosystems.” (PrePrint) PeerJ, March 2, 2017.
Johnson, David C. Presentation “Soil Microbes: Their Powerful Influence in Agroecosytems.” California State University Chico.” September 29, 2016
Kellet, Abby. “Taking the Lab to the Field.” Farmers Guardian, 2016. https://www.fginsight.com/vip/vip/taking-the-lab-to-the-field-10568
Maat, H. (2011). “The History and Culture of Agricultural Experiments.” NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 57(3-4), pp. 187-195
“One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts.” Vimeo, uploaded by Peter Byck, 12 June 2016, https://vimeo.com/170413226
Parnell, J. Jacob et al. “From the Lab to the Farm: An Industrial Perspective of Plant Beneficial Microorganisms.” Frontiers in Plant Science 7 (2016): 1-12.
“Soil Carbon Cowboys.” Vimeo, uploaded by Peter Byck, 27 November 2013, https://vimeo.com/80518559
First Grant Award
Cruces Creatives--in conjunction with 6 partner organizations-- was just awarded a $30,000 grant for work with farmers and agricultural scientists to identify and address obstacles to regenerative agriculture. Our role is helping with technology development and coordinating the efforts of the different groups and skill sets involved in the project. Read more here.
Poetry Slam and Open Mic
The first Cruces Creatives poetry slam starts at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16, followed by an open mic. For participants age 21 and older, beers by donation from Bosque Brewing will be available, provided by a licensed server. The event is free, with donations welcome. For more information, visit the event page.
Home Stretch Fundraiser Update
In the first two weeks of the Home Stretch Fundraiser, the Cruces Creatives community has raised almost $3,000! Y’all are wonderful. If you’d like to contribute, visit the donation page. There’s still $100 in matching funds!
Cruces Creatives will be closed for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 21; Thursday, November 22; and Friday, November 23. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Tues, Wed, Thurs 9am - 9pm;
Fri, Sat 9am - 5pm;
Sun 1pm - 5pm
205 E. Lohman Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88001