In Episode 3, we meet Miguel Santistevan, a multi-generational farmer, musician and educator whose livelihood depends on the ancient Acequia system which transports precious water to his crops.

 “I’m very rooted in healing this earth. The life-blood of this piece of land is the Acequia del Medio which originates off the Acequia Madre. This water is teaching me the nuances of the land and I think of it in square inches. Most people would think of it in terms of acres. The Acequia is managed by this community and all of us who live along it are parcientes, we are all irrigators, we participate in this system and make it work. It’s a teacher for how to work with people and how to forgive. There used to be times when people would steal water. We’re not really having those problems now, thankfully! I think it’s because we had such a strong community development around Conserving this Acequia system because we know how important it is.” – Miguel Santistevan 

We also meet Tiana Suazo, the Executive Director of Red Willow Farm on Taos Pueblo. After getting her Degree in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College, Tiana returned to her roots where she diligently works to advocate for healthy wetlands and farm management to educate the youth about sustainable food production in these challenging times. The ongoing impacts of climate change, variable snowpack and long-standing drought are multiplied by the rapidly growing thirst for fresh water on all fronts. Tiana focuses on the task at hand and spreads her big smile everywhere she goes. 

“I’m such a huge advocate of taking over your family land, cleaning those Acequias, and planting something there. For me, it’s time to reflect and meditate. These are our mountains that are so sacred to us. It’s where we get our water. Snowfall collects in our Rio Pueblo and in the mountain springs above us. We’ve been able to channel the water with terraces that feed the berries. It’s like an easter egg hunt sometimes. We just find little ones here and there.” – Tiana Suazo

 Together, these two charismatic leaders reveal a sliver of hope in a surprisingly fertile yet fragile landscape where water and stewardship of integrated ecosystems are the focus of the day. Our small crew from the UNM-Taos Digital Media Arts program spent multiple days filming with both Tiana and Miguel as they eloquently shared their passion for growing local food and actively maintaining their cultural traditions. This episode also touches upon the complex Abeyta water settlement which has been a long-time in the making and has led to controversial deep water drilling in order to move water around and meet the increasing demand.
 You can watch it here:
Director/Cinematographer - Peter Walker 
Editor - Wendy Shuey
Music Soundtrack - Ryan Beckwith
Writer - John Biscello
Additional Camera and Production Assistance by UNM-Taos DMA Students
Full Credits at end of EACH EPISODE
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