This thesis attempts to define the parameters that characterize sustainable agriculture on the level of an individual farm in the context of the central Rio Grande valley. Using historical sources about New Mexican agriculture, contemporary scientific literature and interviews with practicing farmers in the region, it develops a vision for the shape that farms must take in order to sustain agriculture in the region indefinitely. In doing so, particular attention is paid to how farms can be successful in the present moment and prepare for a future defined by resource scarcity and climate change. It begins with a brief history of agriculture in the Rio Grande valley, including an evaluation of the sustainability of traditional agriculture in New Mexico and the issues posed by modern changes in agricultural methods. This is followed by a brief review of literature on sustainable agriculture that articulates some current ideas about sustainability and refutes some misconceptions about the form of sustainable agriculture. The bulk of the study is devoted to an analysis of 15 discrete components that constitute current farming practices in the Rio Grande valley. For each component, current practices in the valley are discussed and the sustainability of these practices over the long and short-term is analyzed. Finally, ideal sustainable outcomes are proposed for each category along with suggestions of practices that will successfully reach these outcomes. The concluding section of paper reflects on the sustainability of current farms in the Rio Grande valley as a whole and articulates a vision for what a sustainable farm in region should look like.
Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture, Acequia, Acequia Agriculture, New Mexico agriculture, Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande valley agriculture, agriculture, history of, historical agriculture, organic agriculture, chemical free agriculture, local agriculture, hispanic agriculture, indigenous agriculture, rainwater agriculture, irrigation, semi-arid environment
Latin American Studies
Second Degree Name
Community and Regional Planning
Level of Degree
Latin American Studies
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Garcia y Griego, L. M.
Draper, Matthew. "Envisioning the Farms of the Future: In Pursuit of Sustainable Agriculture in the Rio Grande valley." (2014). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ltam_etds/7