October 2016

A Regional Food and Farming System in New Mexico

The New Mexico Grown Program


Pam Roy

New Mexico is abundant with locally and regionally produced foods—from fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, to beef and milk. Then there are the many products created from farm and ranch businesses such as traditional foods—chile products, salsa and tortillas—to artisanal products such as goat and milk cheeses, wheat for breads, wines, and hops for beer. Overall, agriculture in New Mexico contributes over $4 billion to the state’s economy annually and is considered the state’s fourth-largest economic sector.


Yet, approximately 97 percent of what we grow, produce and process is exported, leaving us to rely on More >

Santa Fe County’s Agriculture and Ranching Implementation Plan

Connecting A Thousand Points of Light

Erin Ortigoza


…Part of what defines our querencia

Which gives us this sense of place, is our food,

Contrary to those who say that there can be no sense of place

In today’s global experiment.

And our food cannot be separated from how we work the

Land and how we water our crops…


– Estévan Arellano, New Mexican historian, farmer and writer


A thousand points of light make up the past, present and future of an agricultural legacy that shapes our querencia. Santa Fe County has a rich agricultural heritage. The valleys and ranges have been in production for thousands of More >

Shopping Local with Squash Blossom


A New Mexico-grown company, Squash Blossom Local Food, offers the convenience of shopping 100 percent local from the comfort of your home. Visitors to the company’s online store can see what is fresh each week. The products change with the seasons and come from more than 20 northern New Mexico farms. In Santa Fe, weekly orders can be picked up midtown at Verde Juice on San Mateo Road or downtown at Cheesemongers on Marcy Street. Squash Blossom also offers delivery to workplaces if there are at least five interested coworkers or employees.

Unlike the traditional Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, Squash More >

Acequia Culture and the Regional Food System


Miguel Santistevan for the New Mexico Acequia Association



Acequia irrigation originated in the highlands of Central Asia more than 10,000 years ago and traveled to places such as India and the Middle East. As acequias were established in different areas from the Old World to the New, crops from those areas were incorporated into the diet and practice of acequia culture. By the time the acequia system arrived in the Americas in the 16th century, it carried with it an entourage of crops and animals that represented its origins: apple trees and chickens from Asia, cattle and sorghum from Africa, sheep More >

A Postcard View of Sixteen Years of the Española Farmers’ Market’s Big Vegetable and Best Poem Contests


Sabra Moore


In 2000, I answered an ad in the Río Grande Sun for a “low-pay community job” managing the Española Farmers’ Market. As it turned out, I was the only applicant and I got the job, midway through the market season. I had moved to Abiquiú full time in 1996 after living for 30 years in Brooklyn. I worked in New York City as an artist and freelance photo editor. I had never managed a farmers’ market but had organized exhibitions, conferences and events. In taking the job, I was returning in an indirect manner to my rural East Texas roots. More >

The New Wave of Agricultores


Alejandro López


José Antonio Serrano is a thriving and dedicated agricultor who cultivates land in San Pedro, near Española. When asked about his work, he laughs at the near total improbability that he would have wound up making a living as a farmer in rural New Mexico when, just a few years before, in a dizzying and fast-paced Mexico City, he had been working the beat as a policeman. He had never picked up a hoe or shovel in his life or grown much of anything.


Now he thanks his lucky stars that he is up at dawn irrigating a two-acre field, More >

Seeds to Plant, Seeds to Save

The Bueno para Todos Farmers’ Cooperative


Nazca A.Warren



With the late monsoon rains comes the beginning of the harvest season. Ears of corn swell on their stalks, green chile is abundant, tomatoes come out of the garden in gallons, green beans by the basketful. After all the planting, tending, weeding, pest control and watering comes the enormous task of making sure that all of the long-awaited produce is processed in time.

Here in El Valle, N.M, on the Pecos River along Highway 3, the work of the Bueno Para Todos Farmers’ Cooperative (BPT) mirrors this process. Even far from harvest, both on our More >

The Health and Safety of Organic Farmers


In 2014, researchers at the University of New Mexico’s College of Population Health received funding from the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education to explore health and safety issues among organic farmers in central New Mexico. “The small grant was instrumental for recruiting 30 farmers willing to talk about traditional occupational topics such as perception of risk, attitudes toward health and safety behaviors, and so on,” said lead investigator, Francisco Soto Mas.


This information is essential in order to develop initiatives that promote safer practices and healthier farmers. This qualitative inquiry opened the door to a myriad of participants’ perspectives More >

Closing the Food Gap

Agri-Cultura addresses food insecurity in the South Valley and other food deserts of Albuquerque


Katherine Michalske


 Joseph Alfaro, a farmer at Valle Encantado Farm in the South Valley of Albuquerque, reaches down to pull a bright, orange organic carrot out of the rich, dark earth. Birds chirp as the morning sun warms the air. “There are a lot of elderly living here, and we’re able to bring nutrition right to their front door,” said Alfaro.


Valle Encantado is one of nine farms that work together through Agri-Cultura Network to create a healthier food system and positively impact the health of vulnerable families. The More >

Growing Health and Justice Coalition


Travis McKenzie


 Working with schools and communities to grow healthy, organic food can be a tool for enriching educational environments and increasing student success. The Growing Health and Justice Coalition, formed in 2016, works with schools in the International District and South Valley of Albuquerque. The coalition’s mission is to help create healthy school environments and local food experiences for youth and families. As partners, its unique role is to build relationships and provide opportunities for both increasing technical knowledge and engaging schools and community. The coalition is building upon food procurement initiatives and cultural education taking place in six pilot schools, More >

Mobile Farmers’ Market Expands Reach in Year Two


The Mobile Farmers’ Market, a Healthy Here initiative, is currently completing a successful second year of operation. In 2015, this “farmers’ market on wheels” provided 659 Albuquerque residents with fresh, affordable, organically grown fruits and vegetables, free healthy food samples, nutrition education and kid-friendly food-preparation activities. Thanks to expanded partnerships and additional locations, as of September 2016, the market had seen an overall 276 percent increase in sales.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New Mexico has the second-highest rate of food insecurity in the country. The lack of fresh, healthy foods is most apparent in two of Albuquerque’s most More >

Healthy Food is Key to Improving Health

Leigh Caswell

Food is key to a healthy life and an important economic driver to support a healthy community.


Presbyterian Healthcare Services, a not-for-profit healthcare system that has cared for New Mexicans since 1908, operates from the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be healthy and live in thriving communities. Presbyterian has become increasingly aware that caring for the health of patients extends far beyond the walls of a hospital or clinic. From supporting mobile farmers’ markets to offering free meals to children at hospitals in Albuquerque, Socorro and Clovis, Presbyterian supports programs across New Mexico that address the More >

Con Alma Health Foundation Initiatives


Place matters. Ethnicity matters. Status matters. Health equity is about ensuring that everyone has an equal chance to live a healthy life regardless of income, ethnicity or zip code. Increasingly, philanthropy and other stakeholders involved in health are developing a better understanding about the correlation between poverty and good health and the importance of prevention nutrition and food systems’ relationship to health and wellness. Con Alma Health Foundation (www.conalma.org), the state’s largest foundation dedicated solely to health, brings together people from different sectors to discuss viable solutions to New Mexico’s health challenges and inform policy makers.


Con Alma also awards annual More >

New Mexico Celebrates Farm to School Month


Pam Roy


October is National Farm to School month and New Mexico has much to celebrate. Throughout the state there are hundreds of school gardens and programs that help children learn and appreciate the world of gardening and food preparation. In addition, school districts are excited to add New Mexico-grown fresh fruits and vegetables such as melons, apples, tomatoes, bell peppers and salad greens to their school meals.


Summer has been in full swing with a plethora of New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables, sweet alfalfa and high mountain grass hay for livestock. Summer rains and winter snows replenished our rivers and streams More >

Celebrating Healthy Kids and Healthy Communities in New Mexico

October is National Farm to School Month


Anna Mullen



Every October, thousands of schools, farmers and communities around the nation celebrate a movement that’s connecting kids to fresh, healthy food while supporting local economies. From New Mexico to Vermont, through food education, school gardens and lunch trays filled with healthy, local ingredients, people are recognizing the power of the farm-to-school movement to benefit people, planet and profit.


The National Farm to School Network is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agriculture education into schools, early-care and education settings. Farm to School More >

Kids Cook! – Celebrating 15 Years


Mary Meyer


Kids Cook! is celebrating 15 years of assisting schools and communities in New Mexico in learning about healthy lifestyles. Kids Cook! has brought multicultural, hands-on cooking, nutrition education and physical activity programs to more than 40,000 low-income elementary and middle-school students and their families in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. 

The nonprofit program’s partners have included dedicated teachers, principals and families who have worked in close collaboration with Kid’s Cook’s staff. The goal is to encourage families to improve or adopt healthy lifestyles through the introduction of new, local and diverse foods and food preparation, along with learning to enjoy More >

FoodCorps–New Mexico


Leiloni Begaye


Hello, my family and relatives. My name is Leiloni Begaye. I am from the Coyote Pass Jemez clan. I am born for the Water Flow Together clan. My maternal grandfather is from the Red Running into the Water clan. My paternal grandfather is from the Red Bottom clan. This is how I present myself as a Diné (Navajo) woman. I am from the Navajo Reservation in Greasewood Springs, Arizona. In 2015 I served with FoodCorps at La Semilla Food Center in Anthony, N.M., and currently I am in the second year as a FoodCorps-NM Fellow, based in Albuquerque.


My traditional More >

Celebrating World Food Day in New Mexico


Tony McCarty


More than 124,000 people in northern New Mexico don’t have enough to eat. Chances are, you probably know someone who goes without enough food, whether you realize it or not.   

But you can help change that! October 16 is World Food Day, a day that is celebrated in more than 150 countries to promote awareness of the importance of food security and the need to make nutritious food available to those who suffer from hunger. World Food Day is the birthday of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This year’s theme is, “The climate is More >

Food Policy Amnesia


Mark Winne


I am quite sure that people only have the kind of government that their bellies crave.”

– From Paterson by William Carlos Williams

“Florida Lawns Are Being Transformed into Edible Farms,” gushed the Huffington Post story (June 1) that described how a dozen Orlando, Florida, homeowners had converted their manicured yards into tidy vegetable patches. The story explained how suburban sod had given way to salads planted and tended by a project called Fleet Farming. Homeowners mothballed their lawnmowers while getting a cut of the greens from their yards; earnest gardener volunteers had an outlet for their horticultural energy; and Fleet sold most More >

BOOK PROFILE / Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up


Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up:

Harnessing Real World Experience for Transformative Change

By Anthony Flaccavento; University Press of Kentucky

Forward by Bill McKibben


In his new book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change, Anthony Flaccavento highlights the work of people, organizations and communities that are moving toward economic sustainability and creating healthy, localized economic, agricultural and financial infrastructure.


As the major media continues to focus on “what’s wrong” nationally and internationally, Flaccavento writes about successes that are happening all over—from the upper Midwest to southern Appalachia and from the desert Southwest to the More >