“Practical research-based knowledge and programs to improve the quality of life.”

In the 1860, the United States government established land grant colleges across the country. These were usually called State Colleges and each was funded for a School of Agriculture. New Mexico State is our land grant school. CES is part of the College of Ag, and every county in NM has a Cooperative Extension Services office. (In Gallup there is an additional Tribal cultural based office with sheep shearing, 4H, backyard community gardening.) In the mid Rio Grande the offices are in Socorro, Los Lunas, Albuquerque and Bernalillo.

Apricot preserves. Photo: Elena Leya / unsplash

Not every CES carries on the same activities. In Socorro the main programs are Nutrition Education at senior centers, 4-H (self-led projects), and a pesticide applicators course in December for renewal of licensure. In Valencia County there are eight in-person 4-H clubs, a Master Gardner Course, and the agent makes home and farm visits to help with problems which arise. They are planning on expanding services as they fill staff vacancies.

The Albuquerque Cooperative Extension Office is fully staffed and has a robust array of classes and an excellent web site which is inclusive of both CES courses and other agency’s classes on gardening. Some examples of CES courses offered throughout the year are preparation for Fire Defense Zones, the Five Step Walking Method, Diabetes Prevention Life-Style, Food Preparation and storage (canning), Building Resilience with today’s stresses, and Backyard Farming. There are also a webinars on Sleep problems and on Stress Management. A week-long Garden Guardians camp for kids runs July 17-21, and the staff supports    4-H clubs and judging at the state fair. The Master Gardeners classes have a waiting list but Master Gardeners are available Monday-Friday 9:00-3:30 to answer gardening questions. (505-243-1386). The office staff will also identify plants which you bring in. Their website also carries current pertinent information. For example, the recent invasion of migrating Miller moths is fully explained.

Bernalillo CES also has the 15 week Master Gardener course and as a follow-up, the graduate gardeners offer courses to the public throughout the year. They also publish a newsletter. Currently CES staff is working on the Sandoval County 4-H Fair,, which runs August 3-6 and has both large and small animal (rabbit, poultry) showing and judging, plus a horse show. All are welcome to the fairgrounds.