“Farmer Unwind” - A Unique Wellness Celebration for Farmers

By Sayrah Namaste, New Mexico Program Co-Director

As the harvest season came to an end and farmers prepare for the winter, the AFSC New Mexico program created a unique celebration to show our appreciation to the local farmers in our network. We organized a wellness celebration dubbed “Farmer Unwind” intended to care for the farmers’ wellbeing.

Twenty-five farmers attended from Albuquerque, Isleta Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, the Navajo Nation and northern New Mexico. I told them that we hoped they’d leave feeling well fed, physically good, with a happy heart and spirits lifted.

Farming, after all, isn’t easy on the body or soul. A new study by the National Rural Health Association found that the rate of suicide among farmers is 3.5 times higher than the general population, with the highest rates in the West.

The stress of the climate crisis has impacted many farmers in the AFSC network negatively, with some farmers losing all of their crops in August due to three weeks of record-breaking heat. AFSC wanted to provide more than just technical and material support during this time.

At our gathering, the Navajo caterers of Cleo’s Blue Corn Kitchen created a nourishing luncheon of seasonal foods like green chile, squash, blue corn, and pumpkin. A local musician played gentle guitar music while people ate and visited with each other.

Licensed massage therapists provided chair massages to treat achy muscles from the very physical work of farming -- as well as foot soaks in hot water with essential oils and a foot massage. Farmers learned stretching techniques from a yoga instructor to keep their bodies in good health.


AFSC New Mexico

Farmers made paños (bandanas) together with natural dyes from indigo and ash and received gifts of traditional remedios made of wild harvested herbs to take home with them to reduce pain and soreness.

People loved connecting with each other and were very touched by the event. “No one has ever done this for farmers before!” a farmer from the Acoma Pueblo told AFSC staff. We felt honored to do so.


AFSC New Mexico