Desert Forge Foundation

aka DESERT FORGE FOUNDATION   |   ALBUQUERQUE, NM   |  http://www.desertforge.org

Mission

Restoring emotional, mental, and physical health to returning veterans through meaningful job training, employment, and the arts.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director, Founder

Mr. Victor Versace

Main address

PO Box 70073

ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87197 USA

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EIN

46-5415993

NTEE code info

Agricultural Programs (K20)

Employment Training (J22)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

New Mexico imports almost 90% of its food - representing BILLIONS of dollars leaving the state every year, yet is host to amazing resources, talent and traditions. At the same time, thousands of Veterans and under served community members are in need of employment and opportunities to provide for themselves and their families. The US Department of Agriculture states that the average age of a farmer in the United States is 65 years old - and in New Mexico it is 67. In order to feed a growing population in the years ahead we need more farmers. But as agriculture changes, as demand shifts from bulk commodities produced for export toward more localization and crop diversification, training for agriculture is facing a inflection point. We can't use the same production methods and paradigms of the past 60 years to take us into the future. It is at the intersection of need and risk, opportunity and hope that Desert Forge is working.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Warrior Farmer Project

Working to deliver support for partner farmers by mobilizing service opportunities for active-duty and veteran service members, the Warrior farmer project provides a crucial connection for our communities. By connecting service members with nature and practical work opportunities, they get into the communities while developing perspective and marketable skills. Further, the Warrior Farmer Project is working to build and deliver a pilot curriculum for an 18-month Warrior Farmer apprenticeship, teaching and building up one existing leadership and work ethic to empower veterans with the skills to become the next generation of agriculturally-based entrepreneurs.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Desert Forge envisions a robust, local food economy which stewards land and water resources while training returning Veterans and local community members to be the food and agricultural entrepreneurs we need. As farmers retire, as land begins to change hands we imagine redirecting the funds leaving our region working instead to train, equip, fund, and grow a transformative climate-informed revival where children are fed, families thrive and invest in the renewal of rural areas and we experience the next age of abundance.

In the future, the Desert Forge Foundation envisions a national training center for arid agricultural technology, restoration design and planning, human-centered design, regenerative technologies, and food innovation. In the process, we will engage returning Veterans in a sense of purpose, service and leadership - properly stewarding and reintegrating those who have given so much for all of us.

In the Spring of 2021 Desert Forge will launch a formal, three year agricultural training program which works to bring healing to returning Veterans and our local community through job training, entrepreneurship and the arts. Focused around our shared story - of individuals, of the land, of families and community - Desert Forge will lead the way in agricultural entrepreneurship and restoration by employing service-oriented Veterans and civilians to become the solution we need.

Desert Forge works to engage and unite local non-profits, businesses, government and individuals - serving as a force multiplier by convening and connecting. With a vision of robust engagement, we know we are all better served when we work together. To that end, Desert Forge strives to be service-oriented and a good neighbor while providing actionable opportunities for trainees to learn and serve, helping our local foodscape to grow and thrive.

From 2014 - 2020, Desert Forge has worked in a number of different agricultural programs, received grant funding from both local and national organizations and been recipient of numerous local grants.

In 2019, Desert Forge focused on diversifying its funding strategy, to build in operational controls and to make better decisions based on data, measurement and participant feedback. As an organization, we made a commitment to professionalize, to prioritize specific issue areas in support of deeper impact. Realizing and identifying our unique strength as serving as a "force multiplier" we have worked to come beside and serve already existing efforts in the agricultural and food space while working to revitalize our own 8-Acre home farm, which we began working on in November 2019.

In 2020, in spite of the COVID-19 Pandemic and restrictions to specific aspects of our programming, Desert Forge has responsibly hosted a 7 agricultural events on our home farm, have continued to assist partner farms and organizations with their efforts to expand local food production.

In early 2021, we will be applying for a USDA Grant which focuses specifically on creating opportunities in Agriculture for Veterans. Desert Forge will be seeking full program funds which will allow us to expand our program offering and formalize our training, recruitment, and agricultural production.

Within the next 5 years Desert Forge aims to break ground on a state-of-the-art National Training Center

Financials

Desert Forge Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Desert Forge Foundation

Board of directors
as of 8/15/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Gerald Torres

Bernilillo County Sherrif’s Department

Term: 2019 - 2020

Eric Ortegren

Compassus

Kathy Salazar

Semi-Retired

Gerald Torres

Bernalillo County

Zia Faculjak

Westwind

Lara Sundermann