Flowering Tree is a non-profit organization working with the concepts of Permaculture. The Institute was created in 1987 here at Santa Clara Pueblo. We began teaching classes on different techniques and methods of healthy life-styles.
We taught classes on how to farm and garden in our high desert climate with low water use, how to understand micro-climates, and how composting and seed saving are a part of growing sustainably. We also taught classes in animal husbandry in which we showed how to take care of turkeys, chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, fish, and even bees. We taught how to butcher, store and cook meets, shear sheep, spin wool, weave, milk, make cheese, harvest honey, create ecosystems of ponds with fish and plants. We covered building techniques as well, including adobe construction, mud plastering, straw-bale construction, solar energy, water catchments and so on.
ROXANNE SWENTZELL - PRESIDENT
Roxanne grew up sculpting, making pottery, building with adobe, and gardening. Born in 1962 in Taos NM, into a family of Santa Clara Pueblo Artists (Naranjos), Roxanne grew up with her two sisters in a creative environment. As a young child, she wasn’t able to communicate due to a speech impediment, but her mother handed her some clay and Roxanne found a new language. She sculpted human figurines depicting something going on in her life that she wanted others to know. Meantime her parents were studying solar energy and as a family built themselves a solar adobe house in Santa Fe, NM. They had a small garden plot and fruit tree along with turkeys and chickens. Roxanne took it upon herself at an early age to be the caretaker of the gardens and animals. She also took over (from her mother) making the dishes for the household. Roxanne was able to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts while finishing her high school credits.
She then went on to study at the Portland Museum Art School in Oregon but after a year she returned home to be closer to her Native Culture and raise her two children. She built a solar adobe house by hand for her and her children at Santa Clara Pueblo. During this time, Roxanne was introduced to Permaculture and with the help of her husband (at that time) Joel Glanzberg, and a likeminded friend (Brett Bakker), they started the non-profit, Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute in 1989. Roxanne’s home site was the place they would experiment with the practices of permaculture and teach. Soon it became obvious that Roxanne’s ties to the Pueblo culture steered the Institute into cultural preservation and ways to become more self-sufficient. She has written and had published, “Our Home” an experimental place in sustainable life-ways, “Droppings” a occasional newsletter for the community, “Extra-ordinary People”, (NM Magazine Artist Series), a number of “how-to” booklets and her latest on the diet of her people, “The Pueblo Food Experience” Museum of NM Press. Roxanne also created The Tower Gallery in Pojoaque, NM where she shows and sales her artwork. These days, Roxanne homeschools her three oldest grandchildren, tends gardens and animals, makes sculptures, teaches building and gardening skills, and gives talks all around the country on her art, work in the tribe, and permaculture. You can visit her website at: wwwroxanneswentzell.net
BRETT BAKKER - VICE PRESIDENT
Brett Bakker doesn’t remember when he was born because he was just a little baby but by the time he was nineteen, he found himself living in a remote log cabin in New Mexico wondering how to grow food with no water. In 1980 he hooked up with the Seed Saver’s Exchange and began pestering every elder he met for traditional corn, beans, squash, melons and chiles to plant.
In 1985 he had the good fortune to work (mostly for free) at Ohkay Owingeh with the San Juan Pueblo Seed Project. Soon after Roxanne Swentzell & Joel Glanzberg somehow talked him into signing on the dotted line of the board of Flowering Tree. Bakker also pestered Native Seeds/SEARCH of Tucson until they gave him a job in New Mexico collecting and growing seeds, mostly just to shut him up.
He also found time to work with Talavaya Seeds in Espanola, High Desert Research Farm at Ghost Ranch, Plants of The Southwest Nursery and sneak as many native seeds as possible onto the University of New Mexico campus as a member of the landscape Flower Crew. Concurrently, he worked for twenty-six years as a tool of the government with the Organic Commodity Commission / New Mexico Department of Agriculture certifying organic farms, livestock and food processors until retiring in early 2017. The food was much better when he was doing the seed stuff with Pueblo and Nuevo Mexicano famers, especially the bone stew, chicos and prune pie. Happily, he has returned to growing traditional and native seed crops with Cuatro Puertas / Arid Crop Seed Cache. In direct contradiction with all of the above, Bakker
enjoys loud obnoxious rock and roll in Albuquerque with people half his age.
PORTER SWENTZELL - TREASURER
Porter Swentzell is from Santa Clara Pueblo, where he grew up participating in traditional life in his community and developed an interest in language and cultural preservation. He is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Liberal Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Porter holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations in History and Political Science from Western New Mexico University in Silver City and a BA in Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Pueblo Indian Studies from Northern New Mexico College in Española. He is currently a PhD student at Arizona State University in the School of Social Transformation. Porter lives at Santa Clara Pueblo with his partner and three children.
ROSE B SIMPSON - MEMBER AT LARGE
Rose B. Simpson hails from an arts and Permaculture environment at Santa Clara Pueblo, NM. She is a mixed-media artist whose work engages ceramics, metal, fashion, painting, music, performance, installation, and custom cars.
Simpson’s work has been featured at Pomona College Museum of Art, SITE Santa Fe, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, the Clay Art Center, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Denver Art Museum. Her work is in museum collections nationally.
Residing on the Santa Clara reservation, she explores ways to deconstruct stereotypes of gender and culture while challenging social ideologies by creating 2D and 3D works in her studios, working on her classic cars in her shop, or pulling weeds and feeding animals on the farm, while carrying her baby girl.
Simpson earned her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design. From 2012-2015 she attended Northern New Mexico College’s Automotive Science Program with a focus in Auto Body. She is currently enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Low Rez Creative Writing MFA program, and is on the Board of Directors of Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute of Santa Clara Pueblo, Tewa Women United in Espanola, and the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. Simpson is represented by Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art Gallery in Santa Fe.
NICOLE LOVATO - PROGRAM MANAGER
Nicole Lovato is from Kewa (Santo Domingo Pueblo), New Mexico. She graduated from Fort Lewis College in Colorado with a degree in Native American and Indigenous Studies. She currently works for two non-profit organizations. Nicole is the Program Manager for Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute and an Instructor for RESOLVE which focuses on self-defense and violence prevention in New Mexico.
Nicole’s passions include working with youth and being outdoors. Her love for nature has kept her in the outdoor education field for over ten years. She has guided backpacking trips into the Grand Canyon for the United World College and Outdoor Pursuits for Fort Lewis College. Nicole has also led summer leadership programs for the Institute of American Indian Arts and the World Leadership School.
She seeks out opportunities that allow her to participate in decolonizing processes, promote Indigenous knowledge and values through sustainability, and culturally relevant philosophies. Her willingness to serve others through this type of work stems from the values of community, family, love, support, and cultural pride she learned while growing up at Kewa. These values help her to continue to enrich the lives of people she is fortunate to cross paths with.
Nicole currently lives with her partner and his three children in Santa Clara Pueblo. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in the future.
Board of Directors