Fiesta del Sol Benefit Dinner Features Native American and Creole Cuisines by 2 New Mexico Chefs, Using 3 Common, Local Ingredients, to Create 1 Unique Dining Experience
Benefit helps fund 21st century solar power projects to preserve ancient cultures on Pueblo lands and northern New Mexico villages.
On October 25, 2019, at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Pavilion, 2 renowned New Mexico chefs will use 3 common, local ingredients to prepare 1 delectable meal at a Fiesta del Sol dinner to benefit The Solar Initiative. The Solar Initiative is co-sponsored by Cornerstones Community Partnerships and Remy’s Good Day Fund. Lynn Trujillo, New Mexico Indian Affairs Department Secretary and Hon. Regis Pecos, former Governor, Pueblo of Cochiti will headline. (Pecos was also former Chief of Staff for Ben Lujan, Sr, Speaker of New Mexico House of Representatives). Their remarks will center on Pueblo perspectives on solar opportunities.
The dinner will feature Ray Naranjo (Executive Chef, Angel Fire Resort) and Matt Yohalem (Chef-Owner, Il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen), creating an original menu featuring Native American and Creole cuisines. The chefs will use 3 common, local ingredients grown and partially sourced by 2 New Mexico Native women farmers, Tiana Suazo (Pueblos of Taos/Jemez), and Julia Wall (Jemez Pueblo and Anishinaabe). The women are studying to be certified in adobe construction and solar energy, and each plans to build a solar adobe learning center. Both women made the intentional choice to live on native farmlands to take care of their grandparents.
The Table 2-3-1™ dining concept is the creation of Hue-Chan Karels Chef-Owner, Open Kitchen, https://openkitchenevents.com/table-2-3-1-tm/ who serves as Event Co-Coordinator for the Fiesta del Sol benefit.
The evening starts with a cocktail hour and silent auction, showcasing Native and Hispanic art from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, followed by a seated dinner from 6:30pm-8:30pm (tables seat 8).
Tickets are $150, and table sponsorship opportunities are available.
Cornerstones Community Partnerships is a 501(c)(3) organization partnering with communities for a sustainable heritage. The Solar Initiative, launched in 2017, funds projects on Tribal lands and in northern New Mexico villages. To date, The Solar Initiative has made grants totally $250,000 for projects ranging from the solarization of individual homes and community buildings, to scholarship for the unemployed and underemployed interested in being trained in solar installation and maintenance. The goal is to invest $500,000 in solar projects by the end of 2021. The complete list of grantees and projects is available at https://www.cstones.org/solar.
“Savings realized through the installation of solar power allows communities to reinvest those dollars into preservation of their culture,” says Maureen Vosburgh, Cornerstones’ Development Director. New Mexico ranks second nationwide for solar potential, and a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that solar panel installation is the fastest growing job category in the state. “The Solar Initiative helps us understand how harnessing solar energy assists in protecting and preserving historic structures and traditions, as it saves the environment,” she says.
Get to Know the Two Women Farmers at the Center of the Fiesta del Sol Fundraiser
Julia Wall, also known as Hoki-Pah, is a Pueblo/ Anishinaabe woman and mother continuously learning about land-based sovereignty. Julia’s background is in de-colonial studies through the Indigenous Liberal Studies Department at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). She received her BA and Certificate in Business from the IAIA in 2017. Under the name Adobe Doula, Julia is currently engaging in full-spectrum doula services (sooth, reassure and guide mothers-to-be through labor), adobe architecture, and land-based youth programing. Julia is also a master’s candidate in the Indigenous Land Based Education program in the Educational Foundations Department at the University of Saskatchewan.
Building an earthen structure has been one of my long-term goals, since my undergrad years at the Institute of American Indian Arts under the instruction of Porter Swentzell. In partnering with Cornerstones, I can feel this dream coming into reality. Working alongside Carnell Chosa and my mentors at the Yiya Vi Kagingdi Doula Program, my ideas for the structure have evolved from a one bedroom into a tiny learning center! I love working with young people and parents. I am excited to have a space to do what I love.
I intend to utilize this structure as both an educational space for community wellness, permaculture, and architecture, as well as a parent resource center for access to safe and holistic space and support for parents. I will plant corn, leafy greens, herbs (for pregnancy and post-partum), an orchard, wolf berries, wild spinach, onions. The learning center will be completely off the grid, utilizing water catchment and other conservation systems, including passive solar.
My designs and yearning for building started 3 years ago after I finished my undergraduate. I wanted to come home to live with my grandparents, and have my son grow up on our ancestral homelands. Housing in my community is a real issue, and while unkept adobe homes are falling, I see new frame houses, and trailers going up. So far, I have engaged myself in the adobe process by building two large hornos in my community. I have enlisted young people in both processes and hope to continue this work as I move forward with the tiny learning center.
I am excited to be part of the Pueblo Solar Adobe Initiative (PASI). For me, it is an opportunity to re-engage with the sustainable livelihood that we as Indigenous peoples practiced not so long ago. I would like to see PASI grow and be a consistent presence in all the Pueblos, providing a grassroots option to not only access sustainable energy, but to achieve energy sovereignty. Our people have been harnessing solar energy for years - why not break away from the unsustainable use of electricity sourced from natural gases and coal?
I look forward to a space where my community can come and share in the things I love. I feel the education system is so ridged and lacking in diversity that our young people need a place that reflects them. I think it will also be good for parents to come and have access to birth knowledge and support.
Tiana Suazo is a Taos/Jemez Pueblo woman who cares passionately about climate change, de-industrializing the food system, protecting the water, protecting sacred sights and artifacts, indigenous/human rights, pollution from oil, gas, plastic, and sexual health rights. She is a graduate of Santa Fe Indian School and received her BA in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Currently she is the tribal liaison for the Northern New Mexico Rural Health Network, doing opioid research in the Eight Northern Pueblos to aid in drug education and prevention. She serves on the boards of Red Willow Farm and Alianza de Aricultura in Taos, NM. She also volunteers her time as a business consultant to individuals in her community.
My project has been on my mind for a few years, growing and changing based on what I have been learning and been involved with throughout my life. The idea to start a farm began when I volunteered
at Red Willow Farm in Taos Pueblo. The idea to create a food business came from an internship at the Taos County Economic Development Corp., where I started a small market and learned about the process of creating a small food business. Both organizations are community based and were a huge influence on my decision to make my project one that helps the community.
My intention with this structure is to create a small food business. I would like to turn it into a home-based commercial kitchen to clean and prep produce for market and create value-added products from the produce and fruit I grow. The kitchen would also be a great component for the learning center I would like to establish. The learning center would be the kitchen structure along with a greenhouse, Pueblo ovens, traditional drying racks, and a root cellar. I want to host workshops to teach community members about traditional and modern methods of food processing/preservation and help community members who want to start a small business. I want to include some earthship features, compostable toilets, water catchments for agricultural use, passive solar. I have a system set up for use of graywater.
The Pueblo Solar Adobe Initiative (PASI) means a lot to me. I believe solar power has the potential to help indigenous communities. Many of the homes are without electricity. Most indigenous communities have the space to house large solar arrays. We could use it in agriculture, where it would help with irrigation, temperature control in greenhouses, and season extension. Renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) can help us become energy sovereign. It would give us the opportunity to manage our own energy system, creating jobs for our people and in the surrounding communities.
With this project I also hope to help create a stronger community. I would like to host discussions around mental health, trauma, alcoholism, drug use, and other health issues. There has always been a stigma around discussing these topics, but I have learned that being open and facing these issues creates a pathway to healing. I want to help my community heal through community projects and community action.