Las Cruces, NM - On this edition of PUENTES, bridges to the community, host Emily Guerra meets with New Mexico State University Associate Professor in the Sociology Department, Dr. Julie Steinkopf Rice. Earlier this year she brought the Borderlands Economy Project to our region to bring community members together to volunteer their time and energies and build a solidarity economy. The project originated in Latin America in the mid-‘80’s out of the poverty and economic needs of their people.
Rice says there are two primary purposes of a Borderland Solidarity Economy Project for our communities: “Number 1: fighting economic alternatives, particularly for those people who are economically disadvantaged or in financial distress. It allows them to access goods and services that they don’t normally have access to. Another primary emphasis in building a solidarity economy is building community, strengthening social bonds, because particularly in today’s day and age where there’s so much strife and intolerance and people are so disconnected from each other. Participating in something as simple, such as a time bank, or a seed share, or exchanging children’s books over lemonade, that can really go a long way in just building social bonds and making people feel like they belong to something valuable and they are meaningful.”
Several economic alternative activities have been happening in our community for some time, such as: “Little Free Libraries,” “Seed Share of Las Cruces,” “Silver City Co-op,” “Mountain View Market,” “Weaving For Justice,” “hOur Time (Timebank),” and the “Fair Trade Store,” (currently at Nopalito’s Galeria in Las Cruces).