SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced plans to combat hunger in our state. The governor included more than $24 million in her executive budget proposal for the New Mexico Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative.
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The money would go toward expanding food bank assistance to 130,000 more New Mexicans. It also aims to make local products more affordable for vulnerable communities and expand food benefits for children and college students. The governor says a coalition of farmers, nutrition experts, lawmakers and other community groups helped develop the initiative.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, the Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative includes the following for increased funding:
- Meal Gap Funding, which will fund food bank assistance to an additional 127,000 New Mexicans across the state, including children and seniors experiencing food insecurity in high-need counties.
- New Mexico Grown, which will enable an additional 68,850 New Mexicans to eat locally produced fruits and vegetables, meat, nuts, and other foods in schools, senior centers, and preschools.
- Summer and Afterschool Nutrition Support, which provides start-up and expansion grants to help address child food insecurity during the summer months and at other times when school meals are not available.
- The College Food Security Initiative, which provides grab-and-go healthy meals, low cost or free access to campus dining plans, campus food pantries, and/or innovations to food distribution systems to support 15,500 food insecure students.
- Double Up Food Bucks, which provides dollar-for-dollar incentives for more than 46,000 SNAP participants to purchase New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farm stands, and mobile markets.
- The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, which provides individuals in rural communities with weekly vouchers to buy fruits and vegetables from New Mexico producers.
- The Healthy Soils Program, which will promote and support an additional 64 land management projects that improve the health, yield, and profitability of the soils of the state.