Palomas Binational Earth Day 2013: A Border Partners Showcase

by Peter Edmunds

eric shows off papercrete

Eric shows off the amazing papercrete block–extra light, extra insulating–at Earth Day in Palomas.

Last Monday was Earth Day around the world and, for the first time, it was celebrated in Palomas. It was organized in conjunction with several groups in Columbus, NM just across the border and so became a Binational Earth Day Celebration.

student created solar panels

Border Partners volunteer Don Farber and secondaria students who assembled photo voltaic electric panels and used them to power a light bulb proudly displayed their products and explained them to the public.

photo voltaic electric

For the past six weeks, Border Partners has been sponsoring a  workshop  about sustainable technology with the seniors from the Palomas high school.  About 15 students have built a solar water heater, two types of solar cookers, and a photo voltaic electric system.  The completion of the projects coincided with Earth Day.

The Mayor gave us the use of the plaza outside his office for our event. It became a showcase for all of  Border Partners projects.  The student projects were setup on the plaza, and they were there to explain how they worked to anyone who stopped.

Eric Laborin Quezada, who is working with Border Partners to start a business selling papercrete blocks made from recycled paper, was there to promote the advantages of papercrete blocks and insulation panels.

Juana Flores distributes tomato seedlings.

Juana Flores distributes tomato seedlings.

Juana Flores and Juana Lazoya, our gardening promoters,  gave away over 200 free tomato seedlings and seed packets containing ten different vegetable crops for home gardens.

The Promotoras (health educators) sponsored by Border Partners, welcomed a continual stream of people who wanted their blood pressure and  blood sugar checked.

Two artisan groups displayed craft items made from recycled materials.

This was the first time that all Border Partners’ projects were on display to the public in one place.  There’s already talk of a fall harvest festival. Lots of local citizens got a chance to see what Border Partners is doing in the community.

Making the Palomas, Mexico desert bloom: Border Partners’ garden promoter is “peachy”

Palomas, Mexico peach tree

Peach tree is in full bloom in Palomas, Mexico. Thanks to Juana and Border Partners there will be many more.

Border Partners’ garden promoter is quite literally doing a “peachy” job; she’s making the desert soil of Palomas, Mexico bloom. A recent visit during a spring garden tour verified that the peach trees are in full bloom in Juana Lozoya Ortega’s home garden.

Juana readies peach saplings to share with Palomas gardeners.

Juana readies peach saplings to share with Palomas gardeners.

Juana is carefully cutting slips from her initial peach tree and rooting them. When they are ready, she plants them in soil and watchs them launch into seedlings, then saplings. She’s founding a veritable orchard to share with her neighbors.

The blossoms are lovely, and they pop against the deep blue desert sky in the blinding Palomas sunshine.

But, even more mind-popping is the story of how Juana began this project: she planted a peach pit seed.

This is the resourcefulness that characterizes the people of Palomas. They will transform their town.

We are proud of Juana’s abilities and respect her generous heart. And we admire her ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Even a lowly peach pit can be put to good use.

Juana Lozoya Ortega

Juana Lozoya Ortega (left) consults with a Palomas gardener about spring planting.

$3,750: Hire a gardening coordinator

gardening coordinator

$3,750 –Hires our Palomas gardening coordinator for the year. This consultant works 15 hours per week teaching local gardeners, starting plants for them, organizing a farmers’ market, and starting school gardens.  Fifty families and one school will benefit from her skills as they learn to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables.  This gift also provides important employment for one person and income for her family, boosting the local economy.

Click here to secure the gift of a gardening coordinator


$100: Sponsor 1 family’s year-round garden

year round garden

$100  –Sponsors a year-round garden for one family to grow fresh vegetables and fruits to improve their diet.  The package includes all the materials and services of the winter garden package  [lettuce, broccoli, carrot, spinach, chard, radish, kale and pea seeds] with the addition of shade cloth to protect tender plants from the extreme desert summer sun and an expanded variety of seeds.

Click here to purchase a year-round garden.