January 2013

From the Editor

 

A number of articles in this edition of Green Fire Times make clear that our predominant food system needs some major re-invention. And so, thanks to a collaboration with the Farm to Table organization, we have provided a glimpse into many of the efforts being undertaken statewide to provide affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate food to our region; food that is seasonally grown and raised with eco- and climate-friendly methods; and processed and distributed as close to home as possible, benefitting both rural and urban communities and revitalizing agrarian communities with legacy-defining crops and cuisine.

 

Communities in our region were once intensely focused More >

Farm to Table: Solving the Food System Puzzle

 

Kathleen Gonzalez

 

Since 1997, Farm to Table (FTT) has worked to create a robust local food system. However, when Pam Roy and Le Adams created the nonprofit organization, they were not thinking of changing the food system, they just saw a need for children to have the opportunity to taste and eat fresh-picked food and to experience the joy of watching a seed that they planted, grow. They also saw a need for everyone, not just folks who could afford to pay two dollars for a tomato, to be able to enjoy the extra flavorful, nutritious and abundant fruits and vegetables More >

Healthy Kids-Healthy Economy: It Takes a Village of Advocates

The NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council

 

Pam Roy

 

 In 2005, several community members and I arrived at a high school in Albuquerque for a meeting about childhood health and beneficial community programs. The main entrance was lined with 26 soda and snack food machines. We recognized that each day every student walked though this entrance and was immediately bombarded with advertisements encouraging them to eat the most unhealthy options. These foods were competition for the school meal programs that provided a nutritious lunch (by USDA standards), and with fruit and vegetable snack offerings. It didn’t take us long to decide that More >

Major Policy Accomplishments Farm to Table

New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council

Year Action

2002:

  • NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council (NMFPC) created

 

  • NM Farm to School program created by legislative memorial

2006:

  • NM became a trailblazer among states as the NMFPC took action in support of children’s health through minimizing junk food in schools. 

2007:

  • With the strong backing of Sen. Feldman, $85,000 in recurring state funds are secured for the purchase of NM-grown fresh fruits and vegetables for school meals. This funding benefited 12 schools serving 6,000 students in the valley cluster of the Albuquerque Public Schools district.

 

  • The state provided for $150,000 in recurring state funding to promote the development More >

Food Choices:

Modernity and the Responsibility of Eaters

Ricardo J. Salvador

Almost a billion people on the planet—one in eight of us—are hungry. It is meaningless that global food production is sufficient for all of us to eat well (in fact, it is nearly twice the necessary amount) because the fact that food exists doesn’t mean that it is available to all. To understand why, consider this example:

The Republic of the Congo is one of a dozen countries with an extreme incidence of hunger. More than 35 percent of the population is undernourished. The World Food Programme and dozens of charities operate extensive food relief More >

Cooperating Our Way to a Better Food System

Mark Winne

 

I’d be dead if it wasn’t for my neighbors,” was the way Genevieve Humenay acknowledged the most important tool in her rural survival toolbox. You can be smart, resourceful and even courageous, but when something goes really wrong and you live in sections of Cibola County, NM, where many services are 50 miles away, it could take a long time for the cavalry to ride to your rescue. Just ask the residents of Queens and Staten Island, New York standing neck-deep in Hurricane Sandy’s rising waters. Who were the first people to snatch them from the jaws of doom? More >

Santa Fe Food Policy Council –

Working Together for the Health of Our Community

 

Alena Paisano

 

New Mexico currently ranks seventh in the nation for food insecurity. Many individuals in our communities have difficulty obtaining food or providing balanced, nutritious food for their families on a regular basis. In Santa Fe County, obesity and diabetes levels are above the national averages, and pressure for development threatens agricultural land and water resources.

 

The best ways to address these issues is through a coordinated approach—one that provides an opportunity for both the public and private sectors to participate—one that results in meaningful solutions. A proven way to do this is through More >

Red Willow Farm:

A Navajo Community’s Quest for Water to Grow Food

 

Tawnya Laveta

Dorothy Bitsilly, president of Tohatchi Red Willow Farm, motioned us to follow her as she slid into her pickup and headed down the dirt road to Chuska Lake, the reservoir for the cooperative farm. A couple months before, the small Navajo grandmother stood in front of 250 participants at the Southwest Marketing Network conference in Durango, asking for help to establish a water well for the 938-acre farm. The farm, located in Tohatchi, 25 miles north of Gallup, is divided into plots that are allocated to Navajo families in the area. More >

Project Feed the Hood:

Albuquerque Neighborhood Gardens Support Local Food in the Schools

 

George Lujan

 

Project Feed the Hood has spent the last three years expanding across Albuquerque, working with schools and neighborhood groups to educate on food issues and promote healthy practices. Working with Farm to Table on the Healthy Kids – Healthy Economy initiative to bring NM-grown produce into school meals is a perfect evolution of the work we do, and will bring us much closer to our vision of a healthy, happy New Mexico.

 

Project Feed the Hood, an initiative of the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), began with a “pilot” community garden in Albuquerque’s More >

Del Are Llano: Fresh New Mexico Apples in School Lunches—

This Is One Place They Come From

 

Juan Estévan Arellano

 

When I was in school in the ‘50s and ‘60s, schools used to buy fruit and produce directly from our parents, since at that time most everyone still did some farming. In the mid-‘60s, when I attended McCurdy School in Santa Cruz, NM, the school still had an active farm with chickens, milk cows, hogs and a garden. But by the time I graduated, the farm was a thing of the past.

Suddenly, in the ‘60s, the school lunch bureaucracy became impossible for the small farmer and producer to navigate. As a result, More >

Farm to School Solutions:

The Power of a Local Pear

Le Adams

 

It was a very good year for pears and the other tree fruit. The grower picked them, and after careful cleaning, sorting and packing, they made a short trip to a snack program in an Albuquerque school. They arrived ready, as a special treat for everyone in the school.

Seven-year-old Maria was enrolled in Mrs. Sanchez’s first grade class at a South Valley school. She was a good student and always ready to learn. She was very happy to get a morning snack in class. Breakfast was so long ago, and that bin of beautiful More >

Local Fruits and Vegetables for Lunch in Our Schools –

What It Takes

 

Kathleen Gonzalez

 

A hayride might sound like an odd way to get local produce on the plates of schoolchildren. However, it has become very popular and effective! Last October, food service directors from Taos Municipal Schools, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and Los Lunas Schools climbed onto bales of hay and rode around Pat Montoya’s Family Orchard in Velarde, north of Española.

Food service directors are responsible for ordering the food and creating the menus for all the school meals served in their districts. The tour was held to introduce them to local apples and the farmers who grow them, More >

Getting New Mexico Foods into New Mexico Schools:

Will It Really Take 20 Years?

 

Marion Kalb

 

 

Mark Winne, a New Mexico-based food activist, once said that it takes 20 years to build a movement. In considering the work of Farm to Table (FTT), let’s put his theory to the test—with a specific focus on FTT’s efforts to establish and support programs that bring local food into our schools and educate children about food, nutrition and health.

 

During the last decade, FTT has taken tremendous strides. In 2002, NM was one of the first states to create a Farm to School Memorial that required, through state legislation, the departments of agriculture and More >

The Farm to School Program

Fostering Fun Learning Experiences Between Kids and Local Foods

 

Nelsy Dominguez

 

There are few things as natural as children digging in the dirt. Witnessing the delight of my six-year old and her friends playing in the garden attests to the significance of this simple joy. Gardening and culinary arts combine fun with purpose. At any age, gardens are a fun-filled educational cornucopia.

When schools and after-school programs create opportunities to extend the classroom outside and incorporate a school garden, culinary arts and nutrition as part of the experience, the impact is both immediate and long lasting. A prime example of this is Farm More >

New Mexico FoodCorps:

Growing the Next Generation of Foodies, Farmers and Healthy Communities

 

Amelia Pedini

 

If you live in Gallup, you might know him simply as “the baker,” or if you’re a student in Gallup’s elementary schools, you probably know him as that friendly “smoothie guy.” Joshua Kanter brought his baking skills all the way from Wilton, Conn. to New Mexico with a mission to share the joys of growing and eating good, wholesome food.

 

Now in his second term as a FoodCorps service member, Kanter teaches in school gardens and organizes monthly family food nights where children invite their parents to sit down for More >

Farm to Restaurant

 

Anne Morse

Now under the management of a third generation of Carswells, The Shed restaurant has been part of the Santa Fe community for nearly 60 years. The family’s devotion to quality and consistency in their menu is rewarded when a customer says, “The Shed hasn’t changed since I was a kid,” a statement that co-owner and head chef Josh Carswell claims is the ultimate compliment.

 

Carswell’s strong support of local farmers is influenced by The Shed’s business model. “We believe in developing family relationships with our growers, suppliers and delivery people. We know that if they are doing well, we More >

Farmers Teaching Farmers – Sharing Knowledge to Build a Strong Farming Community

 

Kathleen Gonzalez

 

On a warm December morning in the Española Valley, a group of growers gathered around farmer Roni Stephenson, of Stephenson Natural Farm, to hear about how she harvests the food she grows and sells at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. The farmers ranged from grandpas, who have been farming all their lives, to Stephenson’s interns—new farmers just learning the ropes. They were all there to learn and share best practices to continue to ensure that the food they grow is safe for their families and their customers.

 

We’ve done everything we can think of to make the food we More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque

 

January and February

Retrofitting Commercial Buildings for Water and Energy Efficiency

Certificate course offered by UNM’s Division of Continuing Education in partnership with Global Energy. Designed for building and facility managers, building owners, contractors, engineers, architects and the trades that support them. How to analyze a building and its systems, how to identify the best savings opportunities, how to write a retrofit plan. Free to most trainees. For eligibility and enrollment, contact Julie Kare: 505.277.2382 or jkare@unm.edu

 

Through Feb. 2013

100 Years of State & Federal Policy: Its Impact on Pueblo Nations

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. NW

Exhibition reflects on the human experience More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe

  SANTA FE

 

Jan. 2, 5:30-7 pm

Santa Fe Green Drinks

BODY of Santa Fe, 333 W. Cordova

Informal networking event for people interested in local business, clean energy and other green issues. A mixture of people from businesses, NGOs, academia and government. Find employment, make friends, hear presentations, develop new ideas. Meets the first Wednesday of every month at different locations. Hosted by the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. Info: 505.428.9123 or Glenn@nmgreenchamber.com

 

Jan. 5, 10 am-12 pm

Citizens Climate Lobby

Joe’s Diner, 2801 Rodeo Rd..

Monthly meeting, first Saturday of every month. Help create the political will for a stable climate. 10-11 am: discussion of local actions; More >

What’s Going On? – Here & There

 

HERE & THERE

 

Jan. 23-26

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference

Little Rock, Arkansas

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s annual conference focuses on practical tools and solutions to build the necessary bridges between farmers, marketers, ag professionals and local food system advocates. Info: www.ssawg.org/January-2013-conference/

 

Feb. 9, 10 am-4 pm

Sustainable Homes Tour

Las Vegas, NM

Self-guided tour sponsored by Sustainable Las Vegas highlights a passive solar residence, photovoltaic arrays, a geothermal heating and cooling system, domestic water heating, energy efficiency measures including LED lighting, and financing options. Experts will be on hand to explain systems. For info, contact Emelie Olson: 505.454.3920, eolson@desertgate.com, www.nmsea.org/Chapters/Las_Vegas.phpwww.synergyfest.com

 

March 2-3

Global More >