NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Several New Mexico groups are helping fight food insecurity, and even though it seems like a bunch of big groups are heading the project, they actually need help on a smaller scale. Their program is in need of local suppliers, no matter their size of operation.
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), the New Mexico Association of Food Banks, the Food Depot, and the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association have created the “Regional Farm to Food Bank Program.” The system collects food from producers and distributes it to people in need.
“We encourage producers across the state to apply to participate in this program,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “This program will not only give producers a market price for their products, but it will help New Mexicans in need.”
Farmers, ranchers, and local food suppliers will be able to sell their food products, and in turn, they are also helping battle food insecurity.
“New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association works with approximately 1,000 farmers, ranchers, and other food suppliers each year, connecting them to local market opportunities across the state, including through sales at farmers’ markets, in grocery stores, to schools and preschools and to senior centers, among other outlets,” said Food Systems Initiatives Director Bryan Crawford-Garrett. “The new Regional Farm to Food Bank project provides an incredible new market opportunity for local producers that will provide food bank customers with healthy, local food. It’s truly a win-win program that will strengthen the local agricultural economy in New Mexico, while simultaneously helping to address food insecurity.”
How does it work?
The program uses funds from the US Department of Agriculture to purchase food products from local suppliers. That food gets delivered to the banks. Then, volunteers and staffers sort and package the food. The food is taken across the state and distributed through free food programs at pantries, schools, and community centers. In 2022, the NM Association of Food Banks was able to distribute more than 48 million pounds of food.
How do I get involved?
To participate, food suppliers must be a part of the New Mexico Grown Approved Supplier Program.
For inquiries not addressed in this article, email NMDA Marketing Specialist Alyssa Pearson at email@example.com or click here.