Winners named in New Mexico Grown Program

Winners Named in New Mexico Grown Program
Posted on 10/01/2021
SANTA FE - Thirteen school districts, five senior centers and one Head Start facility will be honored next month for connecting students and seniors to locally grown food -- efforts that strengthen New Mexico’s farming economy and increase access to good nutrition. Farmington Municipal Schools is being awarded in the “Sprout” Category for growing strong.

“It is our great pleasure to honor institutions across our state that are expanding marketplaces for local farmers while also providing nutritious, New Mexico-grown food for preschoolers through seniors,” said Kendal Chavez, food and hunger coordinator in the Office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and lead of the New Mexico Grown Coalition’s Interagency Task Force.

“Congratulations to all the organizations that prioritize local food and invest in the health of the people they serve,” said Dr. David R. Scrase, M.D., acting secretary of the Department of Health. “When children can grow, taste and learn about produce, they are more likely to develop lifelong healthy habits that can make a positive impact on obesity in New Mexico.”

The program helps assure that fresh produce used in school meals is safe, traceable and originates from a garden or farm using sound and current food safety practices.

“Children can’t learn on empty stomachs, and this program makes sure that school meals are not only nutritious but fresh and local. This is a win-win for every participant,” said Public Education Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus.

The program awarded $474,400 in grants this year to 59 school food authorities serving 281,000 students and $147,500 in grants to six entities representing 36 senior centers serving 15,000 seniors.

Award recipients are being honored in four categories: Seed (program has potential), Sprout (program is growing strong), Blossom (program is reaching maturity) and Golden Chile (mature and fruitful program.)

The coalition’s Interagency Task Force, composed of five state agency partners, is creating a standard system for procuring local produce and food products across all state nutrition programs. This will make it easier for farmers, including small farmers, to sell their produce to local institutions.

Representatives from the Governor’s Office and five state agencies -- the Aging and Long-Term Services, Early Childhood Education & Care and Public Education departments and the Departments of Agriculture and Health -- will recognize winners of the annual New Mexico Grown competition at a virtual celebration at 2 p.m. Oct. 13.