Farm to Table, along with many partners, helped secure close to $450,000 in state funding towards the New Mexico Grown Fresh Fruits & Vegetables for School Meals.
All 218 school food authorities across the state were awarded funding that made it possible for them to participate in purchasing local produce.
As many as 342,000 New Mexico’s school children may have a chance to eat "New Mexico grown' as a result of these efforts.
The Power of Public Procurement: An Action Plan for Healthier Farms and People in New Mexico
This new report looks to identify and understand the potential and current barriers that New Mexico farmers and New Mexico’s public institutions face when trying to sell and purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables for their respective meal programs. Made possible by the Thornburg Foundation, the report was compiled by Farm to Table and New Mexico State University. Download The Power of Public Procurement Full Report or The Power of Public Procurement Executive Summary
Farm to Cafeteria
The Farm to Cafeteria program connects small to mid-sized regional New Mexico farmers to local institutional markets, including schools, hospitals and senior centers. These programs expand markets for New Mexico farmers while offering regionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to cafeterias in schools, senior centers and other institutions.
A win-win for New Mexico
As markets develop for New Mexico-grown produce in schools, fruit and vegetable farmers’ incomes rise and our children’s overall health and academic performance improve.
Children respond with enthusiasm to good tasting fruits and vegetables
As a child in school, enjoying the flavor and freshness of a locally grown produce is an experience that is enjoyable and good for you! Produce that spends less time ‘traveling’ to your plate retains freshness, flavor and also nutrients.
There are close to 338,000 New Mexico children who have the potential to benefit from participating in the school lunch program. 82 percent of New Mexico’s school students are eligible for USDA Free or Reduced Cost Lunch. More than 1 in 4 children in New Mexico are considered food insecure and many depend on school meals for their main meal of their day. Currently, only 25 percent of New Mexico children eat even three servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
A significant and expanding market for New Mexico farmers
Since last year, the number of New Mexico fruit and vegetable farmers selling to schools has increased from 20 to 50. As a small local farmer, selling products to a school can be a daunting task that requires the ability to navigate bureaucratic and transportation issues. Yet, such sales are essential to the livelihood of their family and a welcomed benefit to the local economy. New Mexico School Districts Buying Local Produce Map
Many small farmers interested in selling to the schools lack the experience in wholesale marketing they need in order to meet the needs of school food service. Along with the NMDA and New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, Farm to Table provides hands-on training about safe food handling, season extension, packing, grading, and legal liabilities. Learn more about Farmer Development >
Collaborative Efforts That Look to Expand Opportunities
Since 2001, Farm to Table, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), and the NM School Nutrition Association have been partnering to facilitate relationships among school districts, fruit and vegetable growers, food distributors, and relevant state agencies.
Efforts to create a policy environment that does not inhibit purchases from local producers, and that facilitates a healthy exchange is also critical and is at the core of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Economies efforts.