Saturday, February 27, 2010

When Visions Coincide

by Cindy Bellinger

With a shift in the economy and food security earnestly being talked about, communities are pulling together—especially in rural areas where old fields and pastures are being tilled again, where weathered corrals are being shored up, and sagging barns renovated. People used to know how to live off the land, and now a nationwide movement is taking place to bring back the old skills. And with so much of our land in rural status—43 million acres out of 77 million—New Mexico is definitely part of the growing trend.

One county actively combining the old ways with new technologies is Mora, a topographical blend of open plains, mountainous regions and swampy lowlands that spreads 1,900 square miles. Located in the northeastern part of the state, the county seat is Mora, a town of 2,100 residents; 15 other communities make up the rest of the county.

The person spearheading the movement is Anita LaRan, founder of Mujeres Unidas (Women United). The organization started as a way to empower local women but it’s growing. “The right people with the same vision keep showing up,” LaRan says, who is a member of Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative. Mujeres Unidas, an outgrowth of Helping Hands (a multi-purpose service organization), is a local grassroots initiative. What’s more, it could become a blueprint for other rural communities embarking on the growing trend of empowering women, youth and families....continued.....