Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, born in Las Vegas, NM, lived from 1894 to 1991. She spent decades of her life teaching in the classroom or traveling miles across rural communities in New Mexico to share Home Economics knowledge as the first Spanish speaking Agricultural Extension service agent. She taught thousands of New Mexican families about “new gardening and poultry-raising techniques, how to can vegetables and fruits…and how to use sewing machines and integrate them into traditional crafts like colcha and quilting” (Office of the State Historian). She spoke Spanish and Tewa, and helped families to translate government bulletins as well.
Fabiola served as a Trustee for the League of Latin American US Citizens (LULAC) and the director of Junior LULACS in New Mexico. She considered writing to be a great form of social activism and published many works describing traditional New Mexican and Hispanic ways of cooking and living, including the historical contexts of these practices as a means of preserving local culture, in the face of pressure to assimilate. Two of her best known books are “We Fed Them Cactus” and “Noche Buena”.