Joseluis M. Ortiz y Muniz is an indigenous, land-based, native New Mexican from the Genizaro land grant (La Merced de Santo Tomas el Apostol de Rio de Las Trampas) village of Llano De La Yegua. He currently lives with his daughter, Corina, and his life partner, Luzero, in his maternal village of San Antonio Del Rio Embudo in the high desert of Northern New Mexico, where together they tend to their crops, care for their livestock, and steward his ancestral lands. He has roots in traditional agriculture that was passed on inter-generationally through his family, and maintains a traditional land- and acequia-based way of life on land his family has cared for since time immemorial. He was born and raised in and grew up farming the High Llanos of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and the low valleys of the Embudo River Valley. He, his family, and his community grow corn, beans, squash, chile, legumes, fruit trees, wheat, sheep, horses, hogs, and pasture, as well as hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables.
For ten years Joseluis worked with the volunteer and grassroots-community based Environmental and Economic Justice organization called Los Jardines Institute in the South Valley of Atrisco in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There he volunteered and interned with community leaders Sofia Martinez and Richard Moore, supporting them in building and developing land-based socially sustainable systems and transforming community by creating healthy realities where we live, work, play, pray, and go to school. For many years he directed programs at La Plazita Institute, working with adjudicated, struggling, addicted, incarcerated, and traumatized youth, families, and elders, supporting them to transform their lives through cultural and traditional healing and land based ways of living and knowing. His work and learning in community were part of a journey of self-transformation and self-discovery to overcome the hardships young people face in occupied Northern New Mexico.
Today, he is the Community Liaison and Visiting Research Scientist at Sostenga for the Greenroots Institute at the Northern New Mexico College, where he works with world-renowned traditional farmer, water rights advocate, and community leader and elder Don Bustos to help coordinate the development of grassroots community-driven processes to determine and implement environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable plans—rooted in water, food, and economic security—for the future of Northern New Mexico Culture.
A proud father rooted in community, Joseluis is a trainer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Anti-Racism; and is a very active community member. In addition to serving as a board member of the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance (BDA), he is also the Board President for the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance, a Board member of the Espanola Famers Market, a member of La Cosecha del Norte (“a growing coop”), and the community-elected Mayordomo for the Acequia Del Llano del Rio Embudo.