Blog Snapshot of 499 Capstone Project- Justin Casiquito

My project was designed to educate, build self-efficacy, and promote healthy lifestyles by implementing a strategic plan within the farming community and establishing a foundation that supports both traditional and contemporary farming practices in the Pueblo of Jemez. These efforts would build morale, encourage self-esteem and show how to be resilient. The program begins with the local farmers, then a next step is to implement skillsets with schools, and third is to engage with community and send out shoots of inspiration for others to follow. The people make up the community, this community then creates the culture. Without the people there would be no culture, and with no culture then no community. It is important we count everyone from the youngest to the eldest in this effort because we all make up the sacred circle of life. It is what we experience as a child that will have deep influence on what we do in the future. It is critical that we take steps to improve our communities and provide opportunity for future generations. When we receive and give love, support and understanding it not only builds confidence but also nourishes self-esteem and self-efficacy to be a contributing factor in the community.

The first step in achieving my goal was to live what I visualized in my mind in real time. Beginning with working at an organic farm and followed by creating a small business I started growing and selling a variety of crops in the Jemez Valley. I encouraged organic farming practices as well as traditional and contemporary methods. From then on, I have been doing community work with the local schools as well as tribal programs. When I started this project I wanted to expand on something I had created and what I was passionate about. The reasons I started farming and why I went into the Community Health field was to continue our way of life but also to provide opportunity and a way to cope and manage stress and/or depression living in this modern world. For about ten years I have been on this mission to create a resource and

outlook that people can be inspired by. This has taken me on a journey that I believe was necessary to bridge a gap amongst the community. By increasing awareness, knowledge, and education we can make a huge difference. Working with groups like American Friends Service Committee I have been able to establish a hoop house with help from community members at the Riverside Charter School in Jemez Pueblo. We have also been able to add another hoop house at separate location in Jemez and in the process of erecting a third one at a different location from the other two. I also started a small orchard at one of my fields. I planted the orchard in spring of 2019 with help from Bruce Milne and I hope that the trees rooted well. The support from the community has been great and they love to see the younger generation be able to apply the knowledge we have to local community outreach. So far the journey has been great and do not see myself slowing down anytime soon. When I graduate I will continue to live the life I love and continue to contribute my passion for farming with the Jemez community.

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