Clean Economy Conference Speaker


JOEL SALATIN- keynote speakerJoel Salatin of Polyface Farms and "Food Inc."

Joel Salatin, a third generation alternative farmer who has been featured in “Food, Inc.” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” is a masterful speaker whose humor and positive energy guarantee a rewarding experience. Can we feed New Mexico and the world with local food? This is hands down the most frequently asked question to Joel or anyone else who promotes local, solar-driven, carbon-fertilized systems. Even most foodies and environmentalists have a deep-seated assumption that were it not for the petroleum-based fertilizer boom – the green revolution – we could not feed ourselves. Those massive Kansas wheat fields and California almond groves, for most people, represent efficiency and abundance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Backyard gardens and multi-speciation are far more productive per acre. In these workshops, Joel will give you the information and tools to feed your family and articulate a credible “feed the world” argument.


MARGO COVINGTON:Margo Covington-speaker at Clean Economy Conference 2014The Miracles of Zero (Waste)

Setting your sights on Zero Waste means setting your sights on Infinite Restorative Economies!.  Zero Waste is a healthy and prosperous economic development strategy.  Our current world "take-make-waste" economic strategy is depleting the world.  Viewed from an individual perspective to a world perspective, zero waste opens up the possibility of infinite, restorative economies and cultures.  Bring your questions and inquiring minds, as well as the cool things you are already doing to create a clean, restorative economy.When it comes to building sustainable practices that will result in a more resilient future, Margo Covington has strategic and action plans that could get us there. Margo has been designing and implementing sustainable entrepreneurship systems for 29 years. From green tools and awards to zero waste, her impressive list of clients include the Santa Fe Community College, City of Albuquerque, City of Los Angeles and more. Margo holds a ZERI Certification from world-renowned speaker and author, Gunther Pauli. Margo is the Executive Director of Sustainable Communities ZERI NM Inc (a NM 501(c)3), which identifies and links resources needed to foster bioregional collaboration and economic development by finding value in local and regional waste streams

LeslieLeslie Buerk is an Architect, certified water harvesting practioner, permaculture designer and teacher, and big fan of the earth. She is owner of Kalyx Studio, a design firm focused on the creation of beneficial relationships between all systems at play in a project—people, environment, the site, plants, and social/cultural to name a few. Her passion is to help people live their lives more sustainably through beautiful, integrated, and regenerative whole-system design.Experienced in everything from building science and water harvesting to soil science and plant ecology, Leslie has been successful at applying the principles of permaculture to urban design projects. She was designer of the home and property awarded the highest honor of “Best in Show” in the 2012 New Mexico Green Built Tour, which was also the first residential project in Albuquerque to achieve Build Green New Mexico’s highest ranking of Emerald. The home is currently operating at net zero. Her work has been highlighted in Su Casa magazine and the Construction Reporter.

In keeping with her personal mission, she is in the process of creating a demonstration site for regenerative systems making her knowledge and work available to the community in addition to her clients.
Leslie has a small property in Albuquerque’s South Valley on which she grows food, raises chickens, and thinks up new ways to improve resource efficiency. When not at home, she can often be found in the foothills, bosque, and mountains reading the landscape from her mountain bike.


Nate DowneyNate Downey is author of “Harvest the Rain: How to Enrich Your Life by Seeing Every Storm as a Resource”. He is an expert in both passive and active water harvesting systems as well as wastewater harvesting and community water harvesting techniques.For over a decade, Downey has spoken, taught and written about permaculture practices.He owns Santa Fe PermaDesign, a landscape-design firm whose projects emphasize beauty, function and ecology. He is a frequent guest on public radio and writes a popular column called “Permaculture in Practice” for The Santa Fe New Mexican.At home, in our backyards, in the workplace, regionally, nationally and internationally, his work addresses what he calls “changescapes,” “permapatterns,” and “permaDesign” — providing practical and visionary ways to be productive and add value to our lives, homes, communities and environment.Downey says enough rain falls to provide ample water for everyone. “We simply have to collect, store, distribute and reuse a small percentage of that which falls from the sky. Fortunately, this way of saving the world comes with perks such as increasing your property’s value, lowering your utility bills or simply creating a comfortable oasis for conversation just outside the kitchen door.”

KATHERINE AND MARKUS OTTMERSSpeakers clean economy conference ABQ

If you own a farm or ranch, work on one or are thinking of becoming an agricultural producer Katherine and Markus Ottmers will teach the nitty gritty when it comes to building a regenerative agricultural profit center on marginal land. They use a multidisciplinary approach to attaining resiliency in sustainable farming, one that integrates land and water wisely, builds soil, increases biodiversity, mimics natural patterns and puts money in your pocket. The model is an interconnected systems approach with bioremediation, mycology, geomorphology, scaled precision earthworks, impoundments, pulse irrigation, slash on contour, natural spring development, and other techniques utilized in creating multigenerational legacy. Become a part of this new paradigm, and growing movement in land management.

MIGUEL SANTISTEVAN:Miguel SantistevanIn pursuit of resilience: climate change, food security, and youth education.The future will bring challenges associated with climate change and its effects on food security, water availability, and other environmental impacts. Finding solutions to these challenges will be more effective if the coming generations of youth participate in actualizing their capabilities and confidence in creating solutions. The non-profit orga
nization Agriculture Implementation Research & Education (AIRE) has taken an approach to finding solutions to our future's most pressing problems that addresses many issues at once: youth-in-agriculture education, food traditions, crop adaptation, soil building, and other programs that strive to meet the challenges associated with climate change, our relationship to water, and food security. Many of these programs are chronicled at the 'Home' page available at

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Science degree in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, Miguel Santistevan is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Biology at the University of New Mexico. His research interests are in the traditional acequia-irrigated and dryland agricultural systems of the Upper Rio Grande and Sangre de Cristo mountains. Miguel is certified in Permaculture and ZERI Design and has directed youth-in-agriculture programs such as ePlaza of Hands Across Cultures and the Regional Development Corporation and the Sembrando Semillas youth-in-agriculture project of the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA). He has produced video and public radio programming (¡Que Vivan las Acequias!) with the NMAA and Cultural Energy. He maintains a conservation farm with his wife and daughter in Taos called Sol Feliz where many visitors have participated in educational presentations, tours, and hands-on workshops (

Miguel serves as Executive Director for a youth-in-agriculture and seed library program through the Agriculture Implementation, Research, and Education non-profit organization he co-founded ( while he serves as a Math, Science, and Sustainability Teacher for Chrysalis Alternative High School. Miguel has recently been elected Chairman of the Acequia Sur de Río de Don Fernando de Taos for the 2014 & 2015 growing seasons of which he is a parciante (irrigator) and past Mayordomo (ditch boss). He also serves as a Board Member for the Taos Valley Acequia Association.

HEATHER HARRELL:Heather Harrell Co-author of "Top-Bar Beekeeping", is helping bees bounce back from Colony Collapse Disorder by focusing her work to the study of multi-use permaculture plantings, which support a diverse network of interrelationships in the natural world. Along with a wide variety of vegetables, she grows medicinal herbs, which offer nectar and pollen to pollinator species. She is experimenting on how soil biology is affected by using biodynamic methods of planting, and is currently studying compost teas incorporating various types of manures and plant materials. Heather is owner of For the Love of Bees Farm and sells her vegetables, honey and beeswax products at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market.

Eric Highfield AcquaponicsAquaponics.Eric Highfield is a is the Greenhouse Technologies Program Coordinator & a professor at Santa Fe Community College. He is one of a handful of individuals with graduate level education specific to aquaponics, with a master’s degree earned from the University of Arizona in environmental science with a focus on aquaponics and aquaculture. His thesis was completed while managing the aquaponics research greenhouse, and was one of the first studies to examine tilapia-freshwater shrimp polyculture in aquaponics. His undergraduate degree is from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he completed a bachelor’s of science in molecular biology with chemistry minor. There he worked with waste water remediation research via nitrifying sub-surface flow wetland systems. Eric has always possessed a passion for environmental responsibility and sustainability, and he has had a longstanding interest in fish and hydroponics. He is well versed in real world situations, and is always looking to push the envelope and think outside the box with a creative and novel approach to science.