La Placita Gardens Composting Research Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2009: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Abino Garcia Mayordomo
La Placita Gardens
Andrea Botero

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal summary:

    La Plazita Institute, a grassroots center in Albuquerque, engages young people and their families in a comprehensive, holistic approach to youth and community development through farm work. One of the farm’s critical challenges is the loss of vital topsoil, leaving saline soil, which is prone to infestation by invasive weeds and produces poor fruit. This project aims to develop an effective site-specific compost method that will build new topsoil by creating appropriate conditions for bio-microbial organisms that restore soil and support beneficial insects and fungi, resulting in optimal pH levels and nutrient availability for plant growth. The community will be involved by contributing compostable materials and attending workshops and educational programs. Children will be brought to on-site classes where they will test the soil, observe the microorganisms back in their classroom and potentially develop their own compost or vermiculture bin and school garden.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1)Promote good stewardship:

    Goal: Reduce green materials transported to land fills.
    Goal: Dedicate five acres to wildlife habitat.

    2)Enhance quality of life for farmers and ranchers:

    Goal: Provide composting education to farmers and back yard gardeners.
    Goal: Sell organic produce to area farmers market.

    3)Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems by reducing, where feasible and practical, the use of toxic materials in agricultural production, and by optimizing on-farm resources integrating, where appropriate, biological cycles and controls:

    Goal: Composting project will strengthen our ability to produce a
    maximum amount of produce without the use of pesticides and synthetic

    4)Promote crop, livestock, and enterprise diversification:

    Goal: Supplement our soil in order to diversify crops.
    Goal: Integrate worm and worm casting vendorship.

    5)Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems:

    Goal: Strengthen the regional foodshed by reviving a 300-year old
    farm and its acequia, along with water rights that might otherwise
    have been lost to development.
    LPI utilized the following methods in order to achieve the objectives.

    Community-led participation

    Compost demonstrations were structured around the audience in a very organic manner. For example, curriculum for composting demonstrations varied if used for the education of a school-led field trip versus a large community event such as the Cezar Chevez Day.

    Compost methods were chosen in accordance to 1)need by the farm, 2) geographic, weather and organic material appropriate methods.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.