Get Involved for MSN.com

My series of articles for MSN.com Re:Discover included a Get Involved feature on giving back to the community.

Duke City citizens who come across a wounded baby mule deer in their backyard know exactly where to take it for first aid: Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico. Since desert, mountain and forest wilderness surround Albuquerque on all sides, wild animals often make their way into the metro area, to their own surprise, as well as the locals who find them…

→ Full Clip: Rescuing the Wild

See all articles for MSN.com by Tania Casselle as part of this series on Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Urban Farm Road Trip: Albuquerque

Urban Farm Road Trip: Albuquerque
by Tania Casselle for Urban Farm magazine

This Southwestern city draws on its agricultural roots and pioneer spirit to create a sustainable oasis in the desert.

As the largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque has its fair share of strip malls and high tech industries, but it also enjoys a long history of families farming to sustain themselves. New visitors to the high desert often expect a barren landscape studded with cacti, and are pleasantly surprised by Albuquerque’s lush green band of bosque cottonwood forest snaking along the banks of the Rio Grande river. But while there are definite challenges in the more-than-a-mile-high city’s arid climate, today’s urban farmers in the Duke City continue the tradition of self-sufficiency.

My feature for Urban Farm magazine (Jan/Feb 2012) describes a thriving culture of backyard growing, beekeeping, backyard chickens, and community gardening, and the many organizations, festivals, and events for locals to tap into for support with their urban farming efforts.

Strictly Old School

Old School Skills for Today
by Tania Casselle

If you’ve never canned produce, made your own buttermilk or soap, or gathered eggs from your backyard chickens, the Old School in Albuquerque could be the place to learn how.  The Old School offers classes in the kind of “frugal, traditional, and sustainable living skills” that our great-grandparents might have known, but that we, in our reliance on the supermarket checkout, have lost.

“Gardening is very spiritual,” says Chuck Alex, Old School’s gardening and composting teacher. “Having your hands in the dirt, nurturing the plant and then eating it, incorporating that into your body. Our society has lost touch with some of the hands-on practical DIY techniques, and people are really enjoying getting back in touch with those things.”

→  Full Clip of Old School Skills feature in the April 2012 issue of Local Flavor magazine.

Physicians to Farmers: Talon de Gato

Talon de Gato Farmers for Local Flavor magazine
by Tania Casselle

“I spent 20 years working in a room without windows,” says retired anesthesiologist Adam Mackie. He’s certainly making up for it now. Working the Talon de Gato farm with former public health physician Steve Jenison, he gets as much open air as he can handle.

Talking to the duo in Apodaca, a tiny community on the Embudo river near Dixon, New Mexico, it becomes clear that their path from physicians to farmers was a gradual one.

Read the PDF article on the Talon de Gato farmers and founders of the Dixon Seed Exchange. May 2011.

Artisan Farmers: On the Road in Farm Country

Artisan Farmers: On the Road in Farm Country

Take one food producer and farming specialist: Lisa Fox of Southwest Chutney. Add one writer: Richard Harris, author of 41 books, most of them travel guides. Stir, blend, and send them out to tell the story of New Mexico’s farmers. The resulting dish was the book Artisan Farming: Lessons, Lore, and Recipes.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this recipe is hearing these two authors from very different backgrounds talk about what they learned on the road. Read the full Artisan Farmers article for Local Flavor magazine, May 2010.

From Seed to Plate: Cafe Pasqual’s Santa Fe

From Seed to Plate

When you’re dining in Cafe Pasqual’s this harvest season, play special attention to your veggies -they might be freshly picked by chef Katharine Kagel, whose big passion this summer is her vegetable garden. “It’s my pleasure, my play, my joy.”

Feature by Tania Casselle on Chef Katharine Kagel of Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe.