Questa Farmers Market opens Sunday May 29, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Thursday Night Gang from Rael’s Market will be bringing the music. We’re excited to welcome back the vendors we know and new vendors too!
Questa Farmers Market (QFM) works to strengthen the local food system and support small land- and home-based businesses, and offers youth paid market internships. QFM is a program of the local nonprofit Localogy, a 501(c)(3) organization.
It’s an investment in our community to spend dollars and time growing a local market. Creating and supporting a small market like QFM means doing something great little by little. It means connecting to and strengthening a network that people can rely on. This is what it means to localize.
We are offering paid youth internships to provide work-based learning, mentorship and skill development focused on local farm-to-market economics. QFM received a 2-year Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (LANLF) Education Enrichment Grant Award to support the youth internship. During the 2022 and 2023 seasons we’ll be able expand agricultural education opportunities such as farm apprenticeships and entrepreneurial projects. Go here to apply (youth ages 14-18, younger people may apply depending on interest).
Questa Art Market
NEW this season, Questa Art Market (QAM) will share the same day and time and run through October 2, the Cambalache Harvest Festival. In 2021 the Art Market was held on Saturdays and this year, by sharing the same day and time, we can support all local makers more effectively. The QAM operates as a separate market so that the Farmers Market can offer SNAP/EBT (food stamps) and other food benefits to our community. If you have questions about the Art Market, contact Lynn Skall at lynn@QuestaEDF.com, or leave a message at (575) 586-2149.
June Music line-up
June 5 Michael Rael June 12 Chris and Rodney Arellano June 19 Nick Hans June 26 Mario Trujillo
We love hosting music every Sunday. These artists are wonderful and their presence is vital. Musicians are supported by contributions from community members, a portion of our vendors’ fees, and funding from the Questa Creative Council as well as other grants.
The long-range goal of Questa Farmers Market is to establish a marketplace that supports the local food economy by supporting growers, craftspeople, and customers. Our program continues to develop and improve the physical marketplace, plus guide youth internships, and partner with local organizations in order to connect community members to local food and each other.
For more information about the youth internship and QFM in general: call or text (575) 224-2104 or email email@example.com. Farmers, gardeners, and other food producers will find more vendor information here.
Published in Questa del Rio News, February 2022 By Gaea McGahee, Questa Farmers Market Program Director
Farmers and gardeners, bakers and makers, artists and youth – Questa Farmers Market is for all of us! The market keeps dollars local, offers fresh food, supports entrepreneurs, brings you live local music, and is a wonderful place for visiting with one another. We are EBT/SNAP authorized, participate in the double-up-food-bucks program (for New Mexico farmers), and accept WIC and Senior Nutrition Program checks. The market operates every Sunday from the end of May until early October, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and has been in operation since 2017. It is located on land owned by the Questa Economic Development Fund, adjacent to the Visitor Center.
Questa Farmers Market is organized around three core initiatives that support tradition, adaptation, and resilience:
Creating a hub for regenerating the local food economy by supporting and connecting growers, craftspeople, and customers.
Caring for an inviting physical space that hosts vendors and customers, thereby supporting local food and community connection.
Offering a paid youth internship program; work-based learning, mentorship and skill development focused on the local farm-to-market economic system.
The internship program will employ teens (ages 14-18) in regenerating the agricultural community in northern Taos County in farm-to-market economics; during the 2022 and 2023 seasons, we’ll be able expand our participation in the farm-to-market economy through agricultural education opportunities such as farm apprenticeships and entrepreneurial opportunities, including an intern-led farmers market business.
Together we’re creating a marketplace to support small and even micro local businesses in order to help regenerate the agricultural community in northern Taos County and foster skills and opportunity for a new generation.
Do you want to be an intern?
The intended age group is 14-18, but if you are younger and have a strong interest, this program may be for you.
Interns arrive on-site at 9:00 am and finish by 3:00 pm on market Sundays. Contracts are six weeks long and can be renewed several times during the season with the possibility of employment ahead of the season and following the final market in October. Internships include season-long activities that happen every week as well as a variety of projects and additional opportunities tailored to interns’ interests.
Market day operations: support vendors helping with market setup and take-down.
Site beautification and gardens: plant trees, shrubs, vegetable plants and flowers, tend, weed, and water the on-site market gardens.
North Central Food Pantry (NCFP): along with market and Food Pantry volunteers, work together placing local food in distribution boxes (twice monthly, June/July through Sept/Oct)
Local food pick-ups: work with a local food coordinator to pick up produce from area farms and deliver to the Food Pantry, organizing for the twice-monthly distribution.
Local harvest teams: harvest local food. At some farms, like Red Willow Farm at Taos Pueblo, interns are able to harvest, wash and pack, and deliver produce to the NCFP.
Creating social media: take photographs at the market and in the community (at farms) and create social media posts. QFM is on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Market information booth: greet community members, track market attendance, assist with the EBT and Double-Up Food Bucks disbursements.
Merchandise booth: help sell QFM shirts, aprons, stickers, hats, and other items that support the market.
Coffee booth: receive job training to operate a youth-led coffee booth, gaining experience in the economics and customer service aspects of a small business operation.
Horno cooking projects: lead cooking projects on Sunday or other days of the week.
Mentor sites: join coordinated projects at mentor sites in northern Taos county; e.g. working at a farm or with a vendor in a community commercial kitchen, making value-added products.
Youth-led micro-business projects: Interns with a new idea for a market business will be supported in working through the development and economics of a micro-business.
Collaborating with Area Farms
Our interns meet local growers and learn about agricultural networks from operations like the Red Willow Center, Cerro Vista Farm, and Growing Opportunities hydroponic greenhouse in Alcalde, NM. The direction of the internship is set by interns’ interests. QFM matches these interests with the local community’s food needs.
This season we hope to add Virsylvia Farm in Sunshine Valley and Big Wheel Farm near Costilla, among others, to our farm outreach. If you have an agricultural project where you believe youth involvement could be vital, please contact Gaea McGahee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Market Site
An always important part of the internship is working together to care for (and improve) the market site. During the 2020 season, interns built new garden areas and a horno alongside the very dedicated local craftsman Andy Jaramillo. Projects are energized and enriched when they include peer-to-peer collaboration, mentorship, and intergenerational connection. We will use the horno regularly and interns will be able to lead cooking projects in the coming seasons.
Participants in the Vida del Norte youth summer camps in 2019 and 2020 created multiple garden spaces, and interns also took part. We will continue to care for, plant, and harvest from the gardens this season.
Our focus is to create opportunities for employment, community engagement, and small-scale economic development with our interns and could include working at a farm or with a vendor, or creating a small market business. Last July we re-started a coffee stand at the market (it was closed in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions). It’s meant to offer an intern the opportunity to gain job training and business skills, and a familiarity with economics. Eliot Moody and Dedrick Rael were the two interns running this coffee stand last season. They made coffee using an Aeropress and pour-over methods (special thanks to Fernando and his coffee shop in Angel Fire, Just Joe).
Thank You QFM Interns and Supporters!
We are a program ofLocalogy, a local nonprofit 501(c)(3) to whom we are very grateful. And now for a shout-out to the interns who have come before. Your input, ideas, and our shared experience continues to generate momentum. Thank you: Amalia and Alianna Gonzalez, Kaylee Piper, Ashlynn Rael, Dedrick Rael, and Eliot Moody. And a special thank you to Ashley Cintas, who worked for QEDF in 2017. She spent many Sundays that summer running a farm booth at the Market. Because of you, Ashley, we were inspired to create an internship program that could assure youth involvement and employment in the local market scene.
To our partners in supporting youth interns, especially the Vida del Norte Coalition and Red Willow Center at Taos Pueblo, we send out a song of appreciation for you, the many adults who have supported these young people. Gardens have been planted, weeds pulled, seedlings watered, and corn tended by many hands. These people; the teachers, elders, market volunteers, organizers, mentors, drivers, and friends—are vital, as is each young person believing that together we can make our home stronger and a place that reflects our vitality.
We received the LANL Foundation Education Enrichment Grant Award with gratitude and are exhilarated to have support for our work. We are thankful as well to the Questa Economic Development Fund (QEDF) for their support each season. We look forward to summer 2022!
An Interview with Eliot Moody
Photo by Gaea McGahee: Pictured, intern Eliot Moody, running the QFM coffee stand, July 2021. Interns, Eliot Moody and Dedrick Rael, ran the coffee stand this last season, serving coffee from local roasters, Just Joe Coffee’s of Angel Fire and Sunshine Valley Roasters of Questa.
Eliot Moody was an intern for six weeks in 2021. By week three Eliot was running the QFM coffee stand, making coffee using an aeropress or a pour over method (thanks to Fernando and his coffee shop, Just Joe, in Angel Fire).
Gaea: Do you want to write anything about your experience? Or share any reflections? You can do so by text if you like.
Eliot: Sure. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I learned about coffee and I learned about people. I talked to a lot of interesting people with interesting life stories. I learned about problem solving and critical thinking. Like how to make things more efficient or easier. At the food pantry I really learned how to do things quickly when I need to. I learned a lot and I’m glad I was able to do it.
Gaea: Cool! Do you have a favorite memory or place you want to talk about..? Or your best skill that you gained or refined?
Eliot: I really liked when we went to get those tomatoes [at Growing Opportunities hydroponic Greenhouse in Alcalde, NM]. It was cool to see the greenhouse and I also just really liked being around people I like. And I’ve gotten pretty good at making coffee: that will be helpful. And I learned how to tend a fire also, And how to make pizza.
Gaea: Awesome! What would you hope to do more of next summer? And what would you like to do that wasn’t possible this year?
Eliot: I’d like to do more work at the food bank. And it would be nice to do that coffee thing we didn’t have time for. I’d also like to learn how to help go around to the vendors and collect the coins and stuff like you do at the end of the day.
Gaea: Yeah! And do you want to see more farms and growing operations? Or harvest a bit?
Eliot: Yeah that would be cool. I’ve always liked learning in general. So it would be cool to learn more about all kinds of stuff.
Gaea: It will be fun and helpful. We’ll all learn a lot. Thank you so much.
Our Youth Internship in Farm to Market Economics is funded by a 2-year grant from the LANL Foundation, supporting our youth interns during 2022 and 2023.
It’s been a wonderful season and we celebrate this fall harvest with Cambalache! There will be music and more vendors, and events throughout the day.
Published in Questa del Rio News, October Issue, 2021 Cambalache, Questa’s 33rd Annual Fall Harvest Festival
“Cambalache began as a harvest festival (like many cultures around the world) among native peoples and later with their colonizers. The word cambiar means small-scale bartering in villages or trading places. The Village of Questa’s annual fall harvest festival celebrates this ancient tradition and combines it with another, the burning of Cucui. There are many names for burning man—Zozobra, Coco, or Coca, and there are many spellings and pronunciations, such as Cucuy, Cuco, Cuca, Cucu.”
Mr. Cucui is a mean guy, like a scarecrow. He is made of old clothes stuffed with straw, and a papier-mâché head. In his lap he holds a box labeled penas that people write down on pieces of paper, expressing their sorrows and fears. “If it’s true that Cucui is a bogeyman, we shouldn’t hold that against him—hecarries all those heavy burdens and brings them to the festival. So, although he is not the perfect party guest, he is the guy who will take all your worries away. Last year’s Cucui head looked like something we would all like to burn: a coronavirus!” He will have a similar head this year, the COVID delta variant.”
This season, like 2020, has been remarkable. It is vital to keep our Sunday market going to serve as a community space for outdoor gatherings and economic exchange. The return of local musicians this season brought so much joy! We are grateful for all the music, the support of the community and customers, and the work of our vendors!
See you Sunday, October 3, 10:00 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m. ❤️