In February 2016 The New York Timesran a story, “Oaxaca’s Native Maize Embraced by Top Chefs in US and Europe,” highlighting the work of a new company called Masienda that was sourcing landrace (heirloom) corn from small farms in Mexico. Masienda’s business model emphasizes conservation of agrobiodiversity, while supporting smallholders using sustainable/organic farming methods. When some of us here in Santa Fe saw this article we asked the question, “Why can’t this be happening in New Mexico as well?” And so the New Mexico Landrace Corn Project was born.
In 2017 the New Mexico Landrace Corn Project (NMLCP) distributed 1600 pounds of blue corn seed. This seed originated at Santo Domingo Pueblo (400 lbs.) and Isleta Pueblo (1200 lbs.). Masienda purchased the seed with the expressed intent to make it available at no cost to farmers across the region that wanted to plant it. Farmers who received the seed agreed to grow it following organic protocols, and to offer Masienda first right of refusal to purchase the harvested grain.