scp-photo

Open Space Farmlands

Farmland produces the food we eat, recharges our aquifer, provides habitat for wildlife, and presents us with beautiful living landscapes.

Farmland connects us with our agricultural heritage, and through farming, allows us to connect to each other, the land, and the seasons.

As development spreads across the Middle Rio Grande Valley, our farmland treasures are vanishing.

To preserve this dwindling resource, the City of Albuquerque has acquired five farms to manage as Major Public Open Space.

Albuquerque's Open Space Farmlands provide us with unique opportunities to enjoy farming and farm landscapes, educational activities, wildlife, recreation and special events.

Candelaria Nature Preserve

Candelaria Farm

In 1977, the City of Albuquerque's Open Space Division acquired its first piece of farmland: the 97-acre Candelaria Farm. This farm is located on the north side of the Rio Grande Nature Center.

To maintain the farm landscape, the City has contracted Scott Rasband, owner of Rasband Dairy known locally for rgBH-free milk products, to grow crops for his dairy cows and for visiting wildlife such as hundreds of sandhill cranes and Canada geese that arrive to feed at the farm each fall.

Wildlife enthusiasts can view the bountiful flocks of cranes, geese and other water wildlife that take up residence seasonally or year-round at the Candelaria Farm wetland from the viewing blind at the Rio Grande Nature Center. However, in order to protect wildlife, public access to the farm is limited to guided programs. Educational activities for school children are scheduled from March to October, so as not to disturb the avian visitors.

The City of Albuquerque is in the process of creating a resource management plan for the 167-acre Candelaria Nature Preserve, and we're asking for your input! Please visit the Candelaria Nature Preserve Resource Management Plan page to learn more.

Los Poblanos Fields Open Space

LPF 1.jpg

History

Los Poblanos Fields Open Space (LPF) is one of the largest remaining agricultural properties in Albuquerque’s North Valley. The 138-acre farm was purchased by the City of Albuquerque in 1997, through a temporary ¼ cent gross receipts tax, and since then has been designated as Major Public Open Space managed by the City’s Open Space Division (OSD). The farm is considered one of the oldest parcels of farmland due to its long-standing history of being one of the earliest Spanish Colonial settlements in the Rio Grande Valley.  Aside from the City’s ¼ cent tax the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and the State of New Mexico also contributed funds for the acquisition of this land. The City annexed the lower 48 acres while the upper 90 acres of the property are within the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque.

Mission Statement/summary

Today, LPF continues to conserve the region’s agricultural heritage by fulfilling its mission “To maintain, protect, and preserve this land as agricultural Open Space and wildlife habitat, thereby providing recreational and educational opportunities to the community with the least impact to the environment.” Over the years the land has been maintained and transformed into wildlife habitat, community gardens and some organic fields, while offering educational programs and activities, low-impact recreation, nature viewing and community service projects.  These management techniques follow the primary goal set by the Los Poblanos Fields Resource Management Plan; “to maintain agriculture as the primary use of the property, and provide compatible wildlife habitat areas, public use programs and visitor facilities, while preserving archaeological resources and minimizing impact on adjacent properties and viewsheds.”  In order to ensure compatibility between uses, the Open Space Division has developed a system of adaptive management, by monitoring and evaluating farm resources, wildlife, visitor facilities, and public use.

Current Status

The OSD currently contracts with three farmers at LPF including Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF), Rasband Dairy and Bluefly Farms. Although each farmer has their own farming practices and techniques, they all work together to meet the needs of the community, preserve the land, and fulfill the mission of LPF.

Rio Grande Community farm demonstrates sustainable urban agriculture, provides educational and volunteer opportunities, grows food for and with the community, and enhances the urban wildlife habitat. This wonderful non-profit organization has been a part of our community for 23 years and strives to “connect people, earth, water and wildlife” with the best practices of regenerative and sustainable urban agriculture. RGCF has enabled local growers and LPF to contribute to a resilient food system by leasing community garden rows to grow food and pollinator habitat. Another important component of RGCF’s mission is the array of educational programs they offer for a diverse group of multi-generation farmers. For example, Alvarado Elementary School, UNM, CNM and Amy Biel Charter High school all participate in intern and mentorships educational activities. Another program that is offered by RGCF is the Farm Incubator Program. It allows independent farmers to gain knowledge and experience in regenerative farming by providing the land, equipment and standardized farm training. RGCF also hosts year-round events including the annual Maize Maze and virtual Scavenger Hunt. More information available on their website.

While RGCF provides these community-focused programs, Rasband Dairy and Bluefly Farms plant crops such as sorghum, corn, wheat, oats, Dutch and New Zealand clover, sunflowers, and pollinator and wildflower . These provide vital wildlife habitats, both for local species and migratory birds, like sandhill cranes.  This makes LPF an ideal location for bird watching and photography. View the 2020 crop plan here.

LPF 3.jpg

How to get involved

There are many opportunities to get involved at the Los Poblanos Fields.  Please visit the RGCF webpage to become a volunteer and for more information on the educational programs they offer. If you are interested in renting a community garden plot please contact Jamie Welles, Executive director 505-301-5366, with RGCF.

Community Garden Rows Access

The farm is open to the public to enjoy wildlife viewing, picnicking walking, jogging, bicycling and horseback riding. Vehicle access is west of 4th St on Montaño Rd. and north on Tierra Viva Rd. Parking is available in the gravel lot on the west side of Tierra Viva Rd.

Hubbell Oxbow Farm

Hubbell Oxbow Farm

The Hubbell Oxbow Farm is an 87-acre parcel of South Valley farmland. The property, located just outside the Albuquerque City limits, is bordered by Coors Blvd on the east, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) detention basin on the west and south, and Rio Bravo Blvd on the north. The Open Space Division contracts a local farmer to keep the land in agricultural production. The property does not offer formal access.

Alamo Farm

The City acquired this 20-acre North Valley farm as Open Space in 1998. On this property, the Open Space Division preserves a cottonwood bosque, and farms a portion of the land for wildlife crops. In the future, this Open Space may provide formalized pedestrian and equestrian access to trails in the Rio Grande Valley State Park. The property is not currently open to the general public to protect wildlife habitat. However, the farm can be viewed from the parking lot for the paved trail along Paseo Del Norte.

Open Space Visitor Center Farm

Open Space Visitor Center Farm

One of the best places for watching Sandhill Cranes is the Open Space Visitor Center, located adjacent to a 24 acre farm managed by the Open Space Division for wildlife. Since its official opening in 2006, the Visitor Center has become a haven for wildlife photographers, as it allows for unique views of Sandhill Cranes and other bird species, with the spectacular backdrops of the Sandia Mountains and the Cottonwood forests of the Rio Grande. The farm itself is closed to the public as it is managed as a wildlife preserve.