- Learn - Make - Connect -
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!
We’re almost there!
As a community this year, we’ve raised over $250,000 to establish and equip the makerspace. If we can raise $50,000 more, we can bring the makerspace through its startup period and establish Cruces Creatives as a permanent resource for everyone in Las Cruces. We’re already 5/6 of the way there!
If you appreciate the makerspace and what it does for the community, please contribute.
This is the most impactful time for you to give
Why Your Help is Important
Cruces Creatives is on track to be entirely self-sufficient in 2019.
Since the opening on June 26, 2018, just a little over four months ago, there’s been rapid growth:
If we can maintain this growth (and there are plans in place to increase it), Cruces Creatives will, by 2019, be able to pay for all of its expenses using revenue from memberships, programs, and events.
The current donations of $250,000 in tools, time, and money have made Cruces Creatives a mighty special space. With the Home Stretch Fundraiser, your contributions can bring Cruces Creatives through the remainder of the start-up period and turn the makerspace into a permanent asset for Las Cruces.
Now is the time when your support will make the biggest difference
The first Cruces Creatives Trunk-or-Treat was a wonderful success! At least 400 kids and families came through the doors to do crafts, face-painting, shadow puppetry, and games, photo shoots, bouncy-house jumping, go through our decorated trunk-or-treat cars, and more.
Just a few of the amazing costumes that came through!
Trunk-or-treat and shadow puppets!
Bounce-house - have to burn some of that candy off!
Crafts and cotton-candy from a caldron!
Makerspace made decorations all over!
Even the in-house made arcade system was in the holiday mood!
Games and more
And always the end of night supplies
It was a wonderful night. A great big thanks to the many volunteers who made this event possible and to all the families who made it out.
Just some of the many volunteers who made this year's Trunk-or-Treat possible - thank you!
If you are interested in helping next year's Trunk-or-Treat event, or if you'd like to help at other special events, please reach out to Jordon Kopreski, our Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
First Friday Arts
Join Cruces Creatives this Friday for visual arts and music, with an art gallery exhibit from Felicia Castro and nomadic roots music from Ordinary Elephant, International Folk Music Awards artist of the year. For more information, visit https://crucescreatives.org/event-3103342 and https://crucescreatives.org/event-3098771. The art gallery exhibit is free, and the performance fromOrdinary Elephant is by donation.
Recap on Trunk-Or-Treat
The first Trunk-Or-Treat, with at least 400 kids and families, was a success! Read more here.
To complete the work of making the makerspace, an end-of-the-year fundraiser launches tomorrow. Keep a lookout for the announcement!
Trunk or Treat & More
Trunk or Treat & More at Cruces Creatives is coming up today, Friday October 26th, from 4:00-7:00 p.m.! Come to Cruces Creatives for games, movies, Teal Pumpkin treats, photo ops, popcorn, cotton candy, and more—plus, use the private parking lot to trunk or treat. For more information, visithttps://crucescreatives.org/event-3099105.
If you’re looking for locally made gifts for the holidays, visit the first annual Artisan Fair from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on December 15 to see the work of multiple local artisans and crafters. The fair also features live music, kids' activities, and a silent auction. If you're an artisan or crafter, you can be part of the first annual Artisan Fair. Showcase your best work and gain valuable experience in marketing your original art-work. For more information, visit https://crucescreatives.org/event-3108863.
Shape the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Las Cruces
Share your thoughts on the City’s new comprehensive plan by taking a surveyin English or Español. The comprehensive plan serves as a guide for future development and redevelopment for the next 20 years and beyond, and your input can help shape the growth of Las Cruces.
Trunk or Treat
Looking for a safe place to Celebrate Halloween with your kids? Come to Cruces Creatives for games, movies, Teal Pumpkin treats, photo ops, popcorn, cotton candy, and more—plus, use the private parking lot to trunk or treat. For more information, visithttps://crucescreatives.org/event-3099105.
International Folk Music Awards Artist of the Year Performing at Cruces Creatives
Folk music duo Ordinary Elephant, Artist of the Year atthe 2017 International Folk Music Awards, will be sharing songs and insightsinto songwriting from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday, November 2. Tickets areavailable by donation at the door and at https://crucescreatives.org/event-3098771.
Knitting for the Absolute Beginner, FREE for Members / Open to all, Oct 18
Figure Drawing/Painting Model Session, Oct 19
Weekly Community Bike Shop, FREE, Oct 20
Figure Drawing/Painting Model Session, Oct 20
Introductory 3D Printing, Oct. 24
Improve Your Handwriting (On the way to Calligraphy), Oct 25
Trunk or Treat & More, FREE, Oct. 26
Weekly Community Bike Shop, FREE, Oct. 27
Figure Drawing/Painting Model Session, Oct 27
Charitable Crafting Project, FREE, Oct. 27
Introduction to Audio Recording, FREE for Members, Oct 18
Intro to Bikes and Bike Tools, FREE, Oct 20
Basic Textile Lab Safety Training, FREE for Members, Oct 20
Advanced Textile Lab Safety Training, FREE for Members, Oct 20
Basic Wood Shop Safety Training (pre-HVAC), FREE for Members, Oct. 24
Intro to Bikes and Bike Tools, FREE, Oct. 27
Front Monitor Training, Oct 20
Back Monitor Training, Oct 23
Members get 10% off all paid events, entry to member-only events, plus access to tools, space, community and more.
Trunk or Treat
LAS CRUCES, SEPTEMBER 13, 2018-- The Cruces Creatives makerspace is proud to announce that it has formally become listed as a vendor with the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR). With this listing, people receiving services from NMDVR can have an annual membership to the makerspace included as part of their work plan.
Micah Pearson, Cruces Creatives volunteer team member and community mental health advocate spoke about the partnership. “From the outset our mission has been to connect our members with the necessary tools, skills, training, and community to turn their ideas into reality. Realizing this synergized with the goals of [NMDVR], we reached out and quickly found that both of our organizations, and more importantly the community at-large, would benefit from our collaboration.”
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a State and Federally funded program designed to help eligible individuals with documented disabilities find suitable employment. VR is a voluntary program, and services persons who want to work. With a long history of success and proven methodology for making the best fits, time and again, NMDVR is committed to helping their clients succeed. As of 2017 8,821 New Mexicans received vocational rehabilitation services including: medical treatment, guidance and counseling, training and job seeking skills and received an average 210% wage increase after successful rehabilitation. (Source: 2017 NMDVR annual report http://www.dvr.state.nm.us/uploads/FileLinks/48fe3884b4b04d5c9942fc99ddaf9bd1/2017AnnualReport.pdf)
If you or someone you know are already receiving or could benefit from the services of NMDVR and feel that they could also benefit from the wide variety of skills training and tools available at the makerspace, call the Las Cruces DVR office at (575) 437-6550 ask about adding a Cruces Creatives Membership to your work plan today.