Hi, My name is Joseluis Ortiz. I am a land-based native New Mexican Genizaro from the indigenous land grants of Santa Barbara and Las Trampas with roots in traditional agriculture that was passed on inter-generationally through my family since time immemorial. I was born and raised in and grew up farming the High Llanos of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and the low valleys of El Rio Arriba. My family and I grew corn, beans, squash, chile, legumes, wheat, and pasture and practiced a type of regenerative agriculture that can be defined as Biodynamics. My land-based culture has been maintained through generations of lived practice.
My life has had its ups and downs. I come from a family struggling with chronic poverty as a result of historical land loss, oppression, lack of quality education, disability and lack of meaningful opportunities in our home community, which created a difficult reality for my parents, my siblings and myself growing up. I was raised by a disabled father and a hardworking mother who was at times a nervous wreck working sometimes 3 jobs to make ends meet. Luckily my community and extended family stepped up to support raising us while my parents made ends meet. This is where the majority of my agricultural practice and learning took place working for my family in their farms and stewarding and conserving our natural environment and resources while practices land-based ways of sustainability.
In the last 10 years I have spent my time living in the Atrisco land grant community in the “El Rio Abajo” region working with grassroots community-based organizations and community groups developing land-based socially sustainable systems, training farmers, facilitating anti-racism and decolonization training, developing leaders, learning, and investing time in creating healthy realities where we Live, work, play, pray, and go to school. I am trained in Environmental Justice, Restorative Justice, and Land Based Justice and have worked as a program director for 4 years at La Plazita Institute working with youth to transform their lives through cultural practices that connects them to their core identity. My work at La Plazita is the result of an 8-year process of self-transformation and self-discovery in my journey to overcome the impacts of violence, trauma, and addiction which is what people of color in my community face. My community lies within the region known as the "heroin capital" of the world.
A proud father of 2, I am The Programs Director at La Plazita Institute, the Youth Outreach Coordinator for the New Mexico Land Grant Youth Program at the University of New Mexico’s land-grant studies program, the coordinator of the NM Land Based Justice Collective and a board member and social justice circle member of the Biodynamic Association. (BDA)