Ben Family Farming continues a long legacy of agricultural practice in the Colorado Plateau. Original Ben Family Farms were dry farms located 18 miles southwest of Shiprock, New Mexico near Beautiful Mountain near Sanostee, NM. Dry farming required an intimate relationship between the land, corn and farmer. Today, In its second generation, in the San Juan river basin Ben Family Farms now farms utilizing the Hogback Irrigation System in Shiprock, New Mexico.
A part of Ben Family Farm’s lineage is white corn. Over generations we have taken extensive care of the pure genetic makeup of our family’s Navajo white corn. It is not just a source of nourishment but a physical embodiment of our holy people. Pollen is harvested for purposes of personal prayer to ceremonial usage and is a catalyst for prayer. White corn is an extension of who we are as Diné and as such understands our language, songs, prayers and our love. It is through the cycle of white corn’s life that we base our cultural structure off of.
The practice of farming in this manner is a simple realization of traditional practices that were employed for millena. The corn is a perfect role model for our people that demonstrates how we can realize true food sovereignty, solely relying on ourselves, the land, corn and water to guarantee a truly indigenous food source that ensures cultural sustainability of our people.
Grown with Care
Harvested and steamed corn has the ability to keep up to 4 years ensuring that meals are available. More importantly the process of growing corn reconnects our people to an intimate relationship that all Diné have with family and their homeland. It is through the physical manipulation and work with the land and corn where one can reconnect and gain strength in one self.