Traditional and innovative agricultural practices reconnect people with community and environmental stewardship that is part of our region’s agrarian and cultural heritage.
The South Valley of Albuquerque is among many communities in need of greater access to local fruits and vegetables, which can improve nutrition and support preventive healthcare. More people are realizing that chronic and fatal diseases can be caused or exacerbated by a poor diet. There is also increasing recognition of the importance of local farms that do not rely on synthetic chemicals or long-range transportation.
The Agri-Cultura Network was created to address these needs. Each week, the network has been able to directly provide quality produce that would otherwise not be available to about 300 families. For many, the produce is offered at a subsidized rate. A mobile market rotates among four health clinics, through partnerships with Bernalillo County, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, the Street Food Institute, Storehouse New Mexico and the Bernalillo County Community Health Council.
As a farmer-owned cooperative with nine member-owners, Agri-Cultura coordinates small farms and operates a wholesale business that sells produce to Albuquerque Public Schools, restaurants, hotels and other customers.
Agri-Cultura provides support for farms to build their capacity. The past few years have seen an increase in agricultural production and the number of customers. As a result, Agri-Cultura’s farms have been able to employ more people, stimulating the local economy while providing a living wage and proper worksite conditions.
This sustainable agricultural economic development in turn provides opportunities to feed, employ, educate, inspire and engage the workers’ families, friends and neighbors. Increased interest in integrated agricultural practices, including resource conservation, inspires individuals and families to learn to grow effectively and efficiently to provide fruit and vegetables. Cooperation helps rebuild trust and community involvement.
For more information on the Agri-Cultura Network, call 505.217.2461 or visit www.facebook.com/agriculturanetwork