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PBS special looks at the Albuquerque’s agriculturally rich landscape

Blueher Farms is seen in 1905. It was one of the operating farms in the Albuquerque area. (Courtesy of The Albuquerque Museum)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Rio Grande is the lifeblood that runs through New Mexico.

Centuries ago, Tiguex Pueblo saw life in the river and built communities around it in what is now Albuquerque.

Despite the city’s continual growth, many of those areas remain agriculturally rich landscapes.

Tara Walch, producer of “¡Colores!” on New Mexico PBS, knows it’s important that we all know the history of agriculture in Albuquerque.

“Albuquerque’s Roots: A ¡Colores! Special” will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15, on channel 5.1. It will also stream on the PBS Video App.

The 30-minute documentary celebrates the local food shed, expands upon our understanding of the city’s identity and looks back into history showing parallels on how we sustain a rich agricultural practice to this day.

The 30-minute special “Albuquerque’s Roots: A ¡Colores! Special” takes a look at the local farmers’ markets. (Courtesy of New Mexico PBS)

Walch says it’s important to know where our food comes from. She says local farmers are growing the likes of chile, onions, lettuce, cabbage, beans, corn, squash and carrots.

There’s a storied history in Albuquerque.

“I found that after talking to a few people that some of the acequias and fields that are within the city are centuries old,” Walch says. “I felt like bringing the idea of the food system to the forefront is important. This system is still embedded in our cultural traditions and landscape still supports it.”

Over the course of two years, Walch interviewed growers around the area. Production took a hiatus during the pandemic, but she got the majority of her material in the summer of 2019.

She says people were interested in the idea and passionate about what they do.

“I feel like many people were excited to share their passion,” she says.

Before editing, Walch had more than two hours of material that had to be whittled down to 30 minutes.

Crops such as apples and peaches are planted around the Albuquerque area. (Courtesy of New Mexico PBS)

“There is a lot more to be said and to be shared about this gem of a city,” she says. “Protecting and stewarding agricultural land that Albuquerque embraces and the fact that we have it is something to be proud of. We have these spaces in the community that are thriving and give us life. I want an audience to take away the importance of all the growers in the area. They are important to the entire system.”

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