Saturday, April 30, 2011

InterAction: Food Security Aid Map

InterAction, a broad alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on the world’s poor and most vulnerable people, recently published a Food Security Aid Map to provide detailed project-level information on food security and agriculture work being done by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

The map was put together with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), With the map, which is part of a broader mapping initiative NGO Aid Map, InterAction aims to dramatically increase transparency, facilitate partnerships, and improve coordination among those working to reduce hunger and increase access to enough, safe and nutritious food.

The recent financial and economic crises, as well as volatile food prices, have pushed millions of people into poverty and hunger. Estimates of the number of people suffering from hunger range from about 850 million to 1 billion worldwide. These alarming numbers should call attention not only to the importance of continued and adequate food aid for vulnerable populations, but also to the urgency of food security programs that reduce poverty and hunger in vulnerable countries. This site features the work of InterAction members and their partners to ensure all people have access to enough, safe and nutritious food.
Collectively, InterAction’s more than 190 members work in every developing country. Members are large and small, faith-based and secular.  The map provides details about  798 active projects in 68 countries 51 organizations.  The site can be browsed by location, sector, organization or project.

Here are a few examples:

A project from 2 different sectors in Burundi by International Medical Corps The desired outcomes of this project include: women and children under five access quality nutrition and health se... Learn more
Improving Women's Livelihoods through Fonio Production in Sakoiba Commune
A project from 2 different sectors in Mali by Lutheran World Relief LWR's partner for the implementation of the project, “Improved Women's Livelihoods through Fonio Production in Sak... Learn more

Eat Orange! Promotion of OFSP for Improved Nutrition and Food Security
A project from 2 different sectors in United Republic of Tanzania by Helen Keller International The project aims to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable populations (children and pregnant and lactating... Learn more
An Agriculture project in Nicaragua by Heifer International  This five-year project will affect six communities of the Municipality of Las Sabanas and 11 communities from the ... Learn more
An Economic Recovery and Development project in Sri Lanka by Episcopal Relief & Development   ECLOF Lanka began its tsunami response two years after the tsunami as those affected were better a... Learn more

There are many more great projects listed in the Food Security Aid Map

Friday, April 29, 2011

Add Your Voice to the Circle of Protection for the Poor

(From the Sojourners Web site)


In the face of historic deficits, the nation faces unavoidable choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. These choices are economic, political—and moral.

As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up—how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources.

The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected. God is calling us to pray, fast, give alms and to speak out for justice.

The following is a statement by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world. All people are invited to sign the statement and we'll send a copy to President Obama and your members of Congress. 

Among the original signators are the National Association of Evangelicals, Bread for the World, the Mennonite Central Committee, Sojourners, The American Bible Society, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and dozens of other denominations and faith-based organizations. (Click here for the statement and list of originating signers.

The declaration is not just for faith leaders. Individuals are encouraged to sign too.     Click here to add your voice.   Here is the text:

Circle of Protection: A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor

As people of faith, we are committed to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice. We are also committed to resist budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people. Therefore, we join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.

1. The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.

2. Programs focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. They should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.

3. We urge our leaders to protect and improve poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance to promote a better, safer world.

4. National leaders must review and consider tax revenues, military spending, and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits.

5. A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.

6. The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect "the least of these." "What would Jesus cut?" "How do we share sacrifice?"

7. As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.

8. God continues to shower our nation and the world with blessings. As Christians, we are rooted in the love of God in Jesus.

Affirmed and signed by,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Albuquerque Growers Markets Event Helps Raise Funds for Food Stamps Effort

Click on image to enlarge
Tickets by donation, all proceeds go to implementing EBT (food stamps) programs at Albuquerque Growers Markets.

Free to the public, suggested donation up to $25.

For additional information, please contact: Christopher Goblet, Downtown Action Team (505)243-2230 x107 or 

Albuquerque area growers' markets are pleased to announce the upcoming MayDay market preview and fundraiser will now be free for the public to attend, thanks to a major donation by a local bank. The donation from Charter Bank will be used to enable Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) at six area Growers' Markets during the 2011 season, helping low to moderate income families access farm-fresh fruits and veggies.

This event is an afternoon picnic and market preview with tastings from of over a dozen prepared food vendors, early season salad greens, live music by Squash Blossom Boys and Le Chat Lunatique, raffle items, cool farmers, kids games, and more!  And all to support a great cause-bringing EBT programs to Albuquerque Growers Markets! Participating markets include Academy/NE Heights, Downtown, Nob Hill, Uptown, le Jardin Verde and the new Wilson Park growers' market.

Many of the SVEDC kitchen users will sell at growers' markets this summer around the city. They help increase the diversity of local foods available in grocery stores and farmers markets. The Albuquerque markets and these producers have developed a great partnership to bring healthy local food to more Albuquerque residents.

May Day! will raise funds for all six markets to implement EBT/SNAP programs in 2011. This means all markets in the city will be able to accept food stamps. Additionally, during the month of July, markets operating EBT programs will offer a dollar for dollar matching program for EBT shoppers, courtesy of a grant through the New Mexico Farmers Market Association. Help us get fresh fruits and veggies to more Albuquerque residents!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Letter Carrier Always Rings Twice (So Please Leave Your Food Donation by Your Mail Box)

Our friendly letter carriers conduct two food drives a year, one in May and one in November. The latter one usually gets more response because it's so close to Thanksgiving.

The one in May is just as important, if not more important, because it falls during the late spring-summer period, a time of year when food drives are not as frequent.

Roadrunner Food Bank (and all the affiliate food banks of Feeding America) will tell you that demand for their services has been up significantly the past couple years because of the ongoing economic recession. (See report from the Food Research and Action Center, FRAC, entitled Food Hardship in America -2010)

So this year, more than ever, please remember to participate in the letter carriers Stamp Out Hunger food drive on Saturday, May 14. Leave a bag of non-perishable food items out by your mail box. Peanut butter, tuna, canned beans and vegetables (corn, peas, green beans)...all are welcome.

Here is a PSA to help you remember.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter (Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos')

Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'... We are Marching in the Light of God...

Here is a powerful performance from the Mwamba's Children's Choir from Uganda
(Click here to learn more about them).

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Feeding Columbus (New Mexico)

By Victoria Tester
On a recent Thursday in March, volunteers at the Andrew Sanchez Youth Center in Columbus, New Mexico, directed by Guadalupe Otero, worked to distribute nearly 5,700 pounds of food to an estimated 200 families as part of the Roadrunner Project.

The food is delivered to the Center in Columbus on Wednesdays by the Roadrunner Food Bank, a non-profit food distribution center that feeds hungry people throughout New Mexico, and it is then distributed on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the Center.

The Andrew Sanchez Youth Center joined in on the Roadrunner Project early February 2011, due to strong need in the Columbus community, where unemployment rates are high.

Over 300 eligible Columbus families have registered. Registration is 1 to 2 p.m. on Mondays at the Center, and proof of income and Columbus residency are required.

Eligible families receive a box of approximately 25 pounds of a variety of food, depending on the number of families to be served. Boxes usually contain vegetables, both fresh and canned, peanut butter, bread or pastry, pasta and spaghetti sauce, meat or tuna.

Guadalupe Otero
Otero says, smiling, "It is really the volunteers who run the program. I do the paperwork -- they do the packaging and distributing."

Fifteen Columbus volunteers, all cheerful, worked together for hours to prepare the food for distribution.

One little girl put on a pair disposable gloves in order to help her mother sort pastries.

It was clearly a case of the village of Columbus working to help the village of Columbus. "There's a lot of good in this community," says Otero, whose work was recognized in the Congressional Record in 2003. "I'd like the world to see that."

(The author is U.S. Coordinator for La Luz de La Esperanza Palomas Outreach and poet, playwright and photographer).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Agriculture: The Multiplier Effect

Some investments are better than others. Investment in agriculture is one of the best ways to reduce poverty because up to 70 percent of people living in extreme poverty are small-holder farmers--and most of them are women. Simple interventions can vastly improve crop yields and the environment--meaning that families can put food on the table, improve nutrition and nurture the natural resources their livelihoods depend on. 

If we can also connect farmers to markets, they can develop a source of income, send their kids to school and help lift their community out of poverty for the long-term. We call this the multiplier effect, because of it, millions of farmers are on the way to a brighter, mor sustainable future.

This chart below illustrates how it works (Click on the image to make it larger):

Click on Image to Enlarge

This chart and accompanying text were produced through a collaboration of Good and The ONE Campaign.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday: The Sanctity of Service

Tonight, at the Holy Thursday liturgy, many of the poor were present, having their feet gently washed and dried by others in imitation of Jesus. 

When I saw it all in front of me—the poor, the washing basins, the awkwardness of the washers, the faces of the silent and reverent congregation—I realized once again what the sanctity of service is and that the truth of the heart of Christ is found in the washing of feet. When I have washed feet, I have realized that it is only from below that I can really see what is above.  -Gary Smith, S.J.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Help Haiti, Ecuador and Japan with Your Fair Trade Mother's Day Bouquet

By Alaina Paradise
This Mother’s Day there are a variety of Fair Trade gift options for Mom that will put a smile on her face while helping women around the world who produced them. 

One of the most beautiful options is Fair Trade Certified™ flowers, and this Mother’s Day they are now available for direct delivery to individual customers through One World Flowers

Our company has been a licensed importer of Fair Trade Certified™ flowers since 2007 when Fair Trade USA first launched the program for the United States market. The company has stayed fully committed to the principles of Fair Trade ever since and offers a full line of Fair Trade products to its customers.
One World Flowers will donate 10% of the price of every coral and pink Helping Haiti Fair Trade bouquet sold during the Mother’s Day season.
Originally established as a wholesale company, One World Flowers is now making beautiful Fair Trade flowers available to individual customers, too. Specially packaged individual flower orders will ship directly from Fair Trade Certified™ farms in Ecuador beginning this Mother’s Day.

This is an exciting change for our business that we hope will have a great impact for Fair Trade flowers in the US. We’re making Fair Trade flowers accessible to everyone with direct home delivery and affordable prices. The increase in sales will benefit Fair Trade farms by providing additional revenue and more Fair Trade premium money to use in community development programs.

Children at a pre-school in Ecuador built with fair-trade funds
The farms that work with One World Flowers have used their Fair Trade premium funds for a wide range of social and community development programs. One farm has built an on-site preschool where farm workers can drop off children to be cared for while they are at work. Other funds have been used to provide access to micro-loans that employees can use for housing improvement, to start their own small businesses, or for emergencies. The workers have also used Fair Trade premiums to pay for scholarships and on-site technical training programs.

One World Flowers will be offering 100% Fair Trade rose bouquets for individual customers for the Mother’s Day holiday that range from $39.95 to $69.95. Customers can visit the company’s Web site at and use coupon code FTBlog to receive $5.00 off any order placed before April 22. The order deadline for Mother’s Day will be Friday, April 29 but customers are encouraged to place their orders early to ensure availability of the colors they like best.

A featured product this Mother’s Day is a mix of coral and pink Fair Trade roses called Helping Haiti. In addition to the Fair Trade premium paid on this bouquet, One World Flowers is donating 10% of the purchase price to sustainable development and relief efforts in Haiti. Bouquets in various colors are available on the company’s website including other products to support the relief efforts in Japan.
(The author is proprietor of One World Flowers and a passionate advocate of fair trade). 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Walking the Way of the Cross on Earth Day

Red Mesa Rainbow-David Wu

The Center for Action and Contemplation presents

The Way of the Cross

Friday, April 22, 2011 
Good Friday and Earth Day
This year, Way of the Cross falls on a day that will be celebrated both as Good Friday and Earth Day. Join the Center for Action and Contemplation at its property in Prewitt, located 100 miles from Albuquerque and between Grants and Gallup. Participants will walk through the stations with mindfulness and gratitude for the life of Jesus and the life of Mother Earth.
The Way of the Cross calls us to recall the suffering of Jesus in a particular way. Jesus came to show us how to give our life and our death for others. This year we focus in a special way on the groanings, the crying in pain and the deep longing for liberation of Mother Earth as she too is waiting for Christ's second return. (Romans 8.18-25)

Begins at noon, but please arrive at least a half hour early.
For Directions, see below.
Bring wide-brimmed hat, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, a lawn/camp chair, an umbrella, and water.
Food will not be provided in accordance with a day of fasting, but please if you have dietary needs do not hesitate to bring a lunch or snack
If you have any questions or are interested in carpooling from the CAC
e-mail Jen Nelson:
for more information 


From Albuquerque take I-40 WEST to exit 63 (Prewitt).
When coming from Albuquerque, turn right at the stop sign;
from Gallup, turn left.
All distances are from this point.
At .2 miles there is a stop sign, and the Tomahawk Bar in front of you- turn right
At .7 miles there is the intersection with CR 19. Turn left onto CR 19.
On the way to the CAC turnoff, you will pass the following (do not turn):
at 3.6 miles, power plant entrance  (to your left);
at 4.6 miles, a railroad track;
at 4.9 miles, Henry Andrews Road (to your right);
at 5.1 miles, Big Red Road (to your right).
At 5.4 miles is the CAC entrance - turn right.
At 5.7 miles, you are at the ranch house.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Musical Benefit: Burqueños Helping to Heal Haiti

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23, 6-9 p.m.
Your $20 donation supports Yvonne Scott from What If? Foundation and Melanie Rubin from Acupuncturists Without Borders.
For more information e-mail or call
(505) 907-9070.

Click on image to enlarge

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paper Turtle: Haiti + New Mexico Partnership

We have drawn many connections between Albuquerque and Haiti in this blog.  One of our own Bread members, Sharon Barefoot, is currently working as a volunteer nurse for the Catholic Medical Mission Board.  And our Offering of Letters workshop in March featured local speakers Adolphe Pierre-Louis of the local dance group Racine Kreyol and Chuck McCune from the Prizm Foundation.

We would like to highlight a third local connection, an arts-related enterprise formed by Laura Bruzzeze of Albuquerque (a member of my parish Aquinas Newman Center) and  Aly Abraham of Port-au-Prince.  The two artists have never met in person, and yet they have managed to create a great partnership. Their business, named Paper Turtle, offers beautiful paper-mache sculptures. 

All the art pieces designed by Laura and Aly are hand-made in Haiti with recycled materials and are intended for sale in the US gift market.  Since this is a start-up business, Paper Turtle is raising funds to create initial inventory and capital to ship products from Port-au-Prince to Albuquerque through Kickstarter, a funding mechanism for creative projects around the world.

"We invite you to participate with a contribution in any amount ($2 - $2,000). In exchange for your donation, you will receive one of our beautiful sculptures," said Laura. 

Click here to contribute. You will be taken to the project page created for Paper Turtle in the Kickstarter Web site.

Learn about the origins of the project in this entertaining video:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Fundraiser to Stamp Out Malaria

Amy Foust and Natasha Moharter
Remember that scare about the West Nile virus in 2003? We became aware in the United States about the health hazards associated with mosquitoes.

Now that the emergency has passed, do you think much about mosquitoes? Sure, these critters can be a nuisance during the summer, especially if we live in a humid climate or near a body of water. But for the most part, our concerns turn to subjects other than mosquitoes.

In other parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes can pose a serious and sometimes deadly health hazard.

They carry malaria. (In fact the problem is so serious  that the countries of the world decided to dedicate Goal 6 of the eight Millennium Development Goals to eradicating malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases).
A group of students at the University of New Mexico is serious about combating malaria.  They have formed a chapter of Stamp Out Malaria through Project PeacePal. The campaign was created to raise awareness and funds to supply bed nets for people in West Africa, specifically Togo and Ghana. 
Growing concerns involving West Africa’s exposure to malaria prompted U.S. students to step forward and protect PeacePal communities with life saving mosquito nets, and what started as a dream a year ago blossomed into a life-changing service project.

Today, we have 3,600 nets waiting for a home. In only a few short weeks, these nets will be shipped and delivered to the bustling city of Tamale, Ghana where 1800 of them will be strategically placed in a nearby village. The remaining will be transported to northern Togo where a cluster of 10 villages awaits.
The UNM student group invites you to learn more about their project and to help with their efforts.  They have planned a special event a week from today.

You Are Invited to a FundRaiser
Saturday, April 23, 6:00-9:00 p..m.
UNM Student Union Ballroom C   Albuquerque, New Mexico

Click on image to enlarge
Don't spend another Saturday night watching TV! Give your family a night to remember. This fun-filled and educational event is selling out fast, so reserve your tickets before it is too late!

While planning the event, we knew our top priority was to "create smiles as people walk through the door." It was decided that we would try to recruit volunteer African musicians and dance groups to perform for part of the time. Calls were made and several high-profile groups were happily recruited!

Turns out that many of these performers, originally from Africa, have had personal experiences with malaria. All of the groups jumped at the chance to give their time and talent to help prevent this disease from progressing any further in Togo and Ghana.

Featured Performers: Moria West African Dance and Drum Ensemble, the Odigbo Adama African Dance Group, the Matunda Ya Yesu African Youth Choir, the South African Orion Duet, Facinet Bangoura, and Malé Fainke!.

General admission is $15 and the student/child price is $5. Raffle tickets will be sold for $10 and the winner will receive a week at a luxury condominium located on the beautiful shores of the Dominican Republic.

Friday, April 15, 2011

But Not all the Budget News is Good....

Earlier today I posted the good news from The ONE Campaign about the results of the budget compromise on some key international anti-poverty programs.  While we welcome and celebrate that development,the news is not all good.  There are still $38 billion in budget cuts, and those will hurt poor and vulnerable people the most, particularly here at home.
“Congress passed a budget agreement that includes roughly $2.5 billion in cuts to domestic and foreign assistance programs that are vital to vulnerable people,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “While we are thankful they were not as drastic as originally proposed, these cuts will still severely impact people who can least afford them.”
Read more
And that's why Rev. Jim Wallis and Tony Hall from the Alliance to End Hunger will continue their fast through Easter.
“This compromise represents the interests of all those who make big campaign contributions but betrays the poor and vulnerable,” Rev. Wallis said, referring to the 11th-hour compromise brokered Friday night April 8.

Great News from The ONE Campaign

Great news today. The 2011 US budget that passed Congress last night preserves nearly all funding for key programs fighting poverty in the developing world.

The threat of Congress severely cutting these programs was very real.  In fact, the budget that's currently on its way to the President's desk for his signature makes some of the most significant cuts to the federal government in U.S. history. 

But ONE, Bread for the World, Oxfam and other organizations  campaigned hard to make sure Congress prioritized programs that save lives, and now programs that fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and hunger will maintain full funding.

Here’s a breakdown from ONE on how important programs fared in the FY11 budget:
1.- The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria– no cut, funded at $1.05 billion
2.- The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — no cut, funded at $4.6 billion
3.- Feed the Future Initiative (agriculture) (bilateral) — no cut, funded at about $813 million
4.- Feed the Future Initiative (agriculture) (multilateral) — received $100 million appropriation for the first time
5.- Development Assistance — no cut, at FY10 level of $2.5 billion (contains ag, ed, microfinance, water, etc)
6.- GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization)– hard to determine, but most likely to be flat at $78 million, perhaps better
7.- World Bank IDA — no cut, at $1.235 billion
But the battle is not over.  Here's what ONE says about the next budget cycle.
We anticipate that the 2012 budget fight could be even more intense that this year’s, and there’s no doubt we’ll once again need ONE members to step up to the plate and advocate for these important programs that are saving millions of live in the developing world. Stay tuned to the ONE Blog for further analysis and breaking news.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Couple of Prayers With the Wednesday Fast

Resurrected people prayerfully bear witness against injustice and evil -- but also agree compassionately to hold their own complicity in that same evil. It is not over there, it is here Richard Rohr

We saw a stranger yesterday. We put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place, and with the sacred name of the triune God, He blessed us and our house, our cattle and our dear ones, as the lark says in her song: often, often, often, goes the Christ in the stranger's guise.  -A Celtic Rune of Hospitality

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Australia-based Effort to Eradicate Extreme Global Poverty

Check out The Global Poverty Project, an Australia-based effort to move people in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada to advocate for an end to extreme poverty in our planet.  The concept is similar to The ONE Campaign, with its focus primarily on education and advocacy. 
Our vision is a world without extreme poverty within a generation.
The Global Poverty Project exists to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty.

We have developed 1.4 Billion Reasons, a simple yet ground-breaking presentation, that is travelling the world, inspiring and empowering audiences in its path. Based on leading research, the 90 minute presentation clearly articulates the facts of extreme poverty and demonstrates that by making simple changes everyone can be a part of the solution.
The organizers have even developed a version of 1.4 Billion Reasons that is tailored specifically for a US audience.  The presentation is currently on  a tour of the US, beginning in Austin, Texas., on March 16 and ending in Los Angeles on May 20.  Other cities on the itinerary include Boston, Washington, New York, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago and Seattle.  And they're not all big cities.  Richmond, Va., and Oklahoma City were also on the list.   Click here to contact the organizers.

Check out this video presentation.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

The NM Alliance for Children (Ruidoso) Hosts a Couple of Events this Week

  • Garden Art Opening Monday, April, 11, 4 to 7 PM, drop in anytime during those hours: In partnership with the Ruidoso Regional Council for the Arts, NMAC is sponsoring a Children's Garden Art Exhibit at the RRCA, 1712 Sudderth Drive in Ruidoso. An Opening Reception will be held on Monday, April 11 from 4 to 7 PM. The purpose of the show is to raise public awareness surrounding childhood hunger and nutritional issues in our state. The show features eight garden murals by the 150 children of Lincoln County Head Start, who are building gardens at their schools this spring with NMAC, plus 60 original "Bug Art" creations by the students of Ruidoso Middle School. Door prizes!
  • Saturday, April 16, 9AM-Noon, drop in anytime: NMAC will take part in a community health event, the Community Celebration of Young Children, at Nob Hill Early Childhood Center, 103 Sutton in Ruidoso. The health fair celebrates the Week of the Young Child and features health-related activities for children and families. NMAC will contribute a musical obstacle course and "Living Soil" gardening/science projects course for children, plus nutritional/food security information for families. Kids will learn how to make their own garden soil, view the living soil under a microscope linked to a computer, assemble a worm farm, and plant seeds for their spring gardens.
About 150 Lincoln County Head Start preschoolers have been working on their garden murals for several weeks, led by artists Suzy Komara and Patsy Blasdell. The murals are an imaginative blend of painting and collage with found and recycled objects, revolving around garden themes, such as garden creatures, all types of sunflowers, and the parts of a plant. The art is based on the gardening and composting activities the children have taken part in this spring through NMAC.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

David Beckmann: Poor People Did Not Cause the Deficit

Bread for the World President David Beckmann was featured in a recent interview with Jodie Levin-Epstein, aired on April 6 on the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity webcast. This same video appeared in the Bread blog.
The amount of money we spend on poor people is not very much. They did not cause the budget deficit. We should reduce our budget deficit. But not by hurting hungry people. -David Beckmann

Exclusive Interview with David Beckmann from Spotlight on Vimeo.

All Fasting is Local: Part 2

Yesterday, we invited you to join with The New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty to join in a fast on Thursday, April 14, to raise concerns about the punitive budget cuts that will hurt the most vulnerable people in our country.

RESULTS-Albuquerque invites you to join them on Wednesday, April 13, for a one-hour vigil on the Civic Plaza during the lunch hour (Noon to 1:00 p.m.) to support the National Hunger Fast, led by David Beckmann of Bread for the World, Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Tony Hall of the Alliance to End Hunger. 

You can fast all day, fast for lunch, spend an hour a week in contemplation, or forego food until Easter, said the local RESULTS group.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

All Fasting is Local

You've heard the expression All Politics is Local.  Can we also say that All Fasting is Local?

The national fasting campaign that was launched by Rev. David Beckmann of Bread for the World, Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Tony Hall of the Alliance to End Hunger and several other religious leaders has gained the support of a wide group of faith-based and secular anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations.  There is even a web site dedicated to the National Hunger Fast.

Here's what Rev. Wallis says:
From large Christian groups such as World Vision and Opportunity International, to secular groups such as Women Thrive Worldwide and the ONE campaign; from labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents the poorest workers in the country, to, involvement in this fast is amazingly broad.

Twenty-five members of Congress will join the fast, and this work is now referenced constantly on the House floor. More members continue to join, and they plan to have at least one member fasting every day until Easter by "passing the baton" on to their colleagues.
Another of the national organizations that has joined the effort is Share Our Strength (SOS), which held a one-day fast last Wednesday, April 6.  The fast is ongoing through the SOS NoKid Hungry campaign, which was launched in New Mexico and several other states. Here's what Clay Dunn of SOS says:
Proposed budget cuts in the House of Representatives have spurred our colleagues in the anti-hunger community to launch a hunger fast. The budget cuts, if executed, would have a devastating impact on children struggling with hunger.
This Wednesday, I, along with Share Our Strength founder Bill Shore and other members of our staff, will participate by fasting for 24 hours.
You are Invited to Join the New Mexico Fast
Locally, the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty are leading a one-day fast on Thursday, April 14.  This is the day before tax day.

Here's what the two organizations say:
The proposed cuts will have a devastating impact in New Mexico which has among the highest rates of poverty, hunger and uninsured in the county. The proposed cuts will compromise the food security of New Mexicans who already face unemployment and increasing food and energy costs. We understand fasting is a very personal decision, so we encourage you to participate in the way you feel comfortable.
If you would like to pledge to participate in the New Mexico fast on April 14, click here (scroll down to the bottom).

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Plan to Prevent Recurring Food Crises

The International Food Policy Research Institute has published a policy brief with background on the recent food crisis three years ago and proposals of preventative urgent actions.

The brief, published in March of this year, offers some background on the factors that helped create the most recent crisis. 
Just three years after the 2007-08 food crisis, the food security of poor people and vulnerable groups, especially women and children, is under threat as the prices of basic food items skyrocket. Expanding biofuel production, rising oil prices, U.S. dollar depreciation, export restrictions, and panic purchasing are again driving up food prices—to the particular detriment of the world’s poorest consumers, who spend some 50-70 percent of their incomes on food.
Some of these proposals could be addressed in the discussions of the next farm bill (which sets US agriculture policy for the next 5-year period).  Those discussions will occur in 2012.
  • Curtailing subsidies and reforming policies, particularly in the United States and Europe, to minimize biofuels’ contribution to volatility in food markets.
  • Creating or strengthening social protection for women, young children, and other especially vulnerable groups—something few countries have done during or since the 2007-08 crisis.
  • Improving the transparency, fairness, and openness of international trade to enhance the efficiency of global agricultural markets.
  • Setting up a global emergency grain reserve to handle food price crises.
  • Pursuing policies and investments to promote agricultural growth, in particular smallholder productivity, in the face of climate change.
  • Investment by national governments in climate change adaptation and mitigation using the full potential that agriculture offers.
  • Establishing an international working group to monitor the world food situation and trigger action to prevent excessive price volatility.
Here's a link to the full brief in PDF format

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Join Racine Kreyol in Celebrating Two Years of Hatian Dance in Albuquerque

Afro-Haitian DRUM & DANCE Party!
Friday, April 8th, 2011 
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Rhythmic Arts Center, 4821 Central Ave. NE, Abq
Celebrating 2 years of Haitian Dance in Albuquerque
High-energy Drum and Dance classes
followed by delicious Haitian/Caribbean food and world music
$12 includes food :-)
Space is limited - REGISTER HERE TODAY!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Seeking a Food Revolution in New Mexico

By Jeff Ethan Genauer
Do you want to transform school food in New Mexico, and help change the mass-produced, unappetizing foods that most kids eat today to healthy and delicious local foods? If your answer is "Yes," you can demonstrate your support for this mission by liking the Rio Grande Food Revolution page on Facebook.

Next week on April 12th, the second season of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution will begin ... This spring, millions of people throughout the US who see this TV show will also learn about local school food revolutions that are brewing in communities across the country. Here in New Mexico, our job is to connect new food revolutionaries with the numerous existing efforts to educate youth about sustainable food, plant school gardens, create salad bars in school cafeterias, and generally improve the status of our school foods.

As part of this effort, I'm searching for individuals who are willing to volunteer to be local contact persons for the food revolution in your community. PLEASE RESPOND with a message via Facebook to RioGrande Food Revolution (or send an email to if you're interested in being a point person to help grow this movement ... Together, I hope we can inspire thousands more New Mexicans to join and support our local efforts to revolutionize school food.

Thanks for helping to further the Food Revolution!!

(The author, based in Española, N.M., is the southwest regional organizer with the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, a student in the teacher education program at Northern New Mexico College, and winner of the 2010 "Ideas for Change in America" competition for his idea of "Good Food for All Kids: A Garden at Every School.")

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Birmingham Workshop: Education for Girls, Giving Blood and Writing Letters, and Dual Citizenship

Brendan Rice

By all accounts, the Offering of Letters workshop in Birmingham, Ala., on March 24 was a huge success. "A rapt crowd of about fifty people attended the workshop held at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church," said Elaine VanCleave, a local volunteer district coordinator.  There were 15 churches represented at the workshop, plus a strong college contingent.

This was one of about three dozen similar workshops scheduled around the country in February-April 2011. Each of the workshops has or will be offering Bread members and other interested persons the opportunity to learn more about the 2011 Offering of  Letters and to discuss strategies to rally our congregations around foreign aid reform.

Some of the workshops (including ours in Albuquerque) have also featured guest speakers. This was the case in Birmingham, where Doug Coutts, Special Advisor on Child Hunger to the World Food Programme (WFP) spoke about the global efforts of the U.N. organization and its relationship to our 2011 Offering of Letters campaign.

Below are highlights from the workshop in Birmingham, based on notes and photos provided by Elaine VanCleave, who is also a member of Bread for the World's board of directors.

Greg Sims & Doug Coutts
WFP: The 9-1-1 for the World
The featured speaker, Doug Coutts, is also founding partner of  the Universities Fighting World Hunger initiative and distinguished visiting professor at Auburn University in addition to his role with the WFP.

He shared concrete examples of how U.S. foreign assistance is saving lives and why it's essential for people of faith to insist that our nation's aid be as effective and efficient as possible so that every dollar is translated into "greater help for the world's nearly 1 billion chronically hungry people."

"The World Food Programme is the 9-1-1 for the world. When a tsunami or a hurricane hits we are the first responders," said Mr. Coutts, who has 23 years of experience with the WFP.  "But we are also working with the most vulnerable communities to prepare for 'the next time'.

Food Items Provided by WFP
Mr. Coutts--whose most recent post was as WFP Country Director in Bangladesh (where he oversaw the organization's single largest development operation in the world)--said the WFP devotes most of its funding to school feeding programs. 

And the key to ending the cycle of poverty and hunger is education for girls. There is a huge benefit of linking the two, as school feeding programs are a big incentive to keeping girls in school. "If parents send their daughter to school, that might be the only meal she gets all day," he said.

Brendan Rice, Jayme Cloninger, Meg Lacy
Mr. Coutts also emphasized the importance of writing letters to Congress. "As a staff member with the congressional Select Committee on Hunger, yours truly responded to the letters written to Congress on hunger," he said. "I tell you that thoughtful hand-written letters are taken seriously."

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tuesday: A Talk about the Hunger Crisis in Palomas

(New Mexico State University)
invites you to:

At Our Mexico-New Mexico Border:
The Hunger Crisis in Palomas, Chihuahua
and the Humanitarian Work of Mexican-American Esperanza Lozoya
By: Victoria Tester
Tuesday April 5, 2011, 4pm

Victoria Tester is a poet and playwright, whose book Miracles of Sainted Earth (University of New Mexico Press) won the Willa Literary Award, an award that honors those books that best portray the lives of women in the Southwest.

Throughout 2010 and now in 2011, she serves as a U.S. coordinator for La Luz de La Esperanza Palomas Outreach.  Read her reflections in July 2010 and for the full year.

Lecture is free and open to the public
Place: Nason House
(1200 University Ave. directly across from FedEx/Kinko’s)
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

Celebrate Earth Day in Albuquerque and Santa Fe

ONE volunteers staff Earth Day booth
This is the first weekend in April, and you know what that means. Earth Day is around the corner.  The official commemoration around the world is on April 22, but events are often planned on the weekends close to that date.  Albuquerque and Santa Fe street celebrations are organized by La Montañita Cooperative.

In Albuquerque, the Celebrate the Earth Fest is planned for Sunday, April 17, at the co-op's Nob Hill,  3500 Central SE . (The festival will actually take place behind the store on Silver St.).

Earth Day Santa Fe will take place on Saturday, April 23, at the Santa Fe store, 913 West Alameda.

Both the Albuquerque and Santa Fe celebrations are scheduled for 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M. Here's a description from the Co-op:
All are welcome to come, enjoy and participate in these FREE community gatherings. At all the Co-op spring festivals you can expect a wonderfully inspiring time with information and education booths from dozens of environmental, social and economic justice organizations and local farmers. You can purchase seedlings, drought resistant plants, beautiful art from fine local artists and crafts people and enjoy inspiring performances from some of our favorite local artists and, of course, great Co-op food.
East Central Ministries booth
I plan to get my tomato plants (and perhaps a couple more chile plants) at the Albuquerque event from East Central Ministries, an organization that provides economic development opportunities to residents of that mostly low-income neighborhood.
The annual Co-op festivals are a chance to get your bedding plants, talk to and learn from the farming and gardening experts in our midst, get educated on the important environmental issues we face, get active and take action to make our neighborhoods and the world a better place for us all to share.
See you there!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

We Need a Coordinated Effort to Avert a Global Water Crisis

Too often when we hear about the possibility of a water crisis, the message is one of "gloom and doom" if we do not act. This great documentary, entitled Running Dry provides a blueprint of how the global community can work in a coordinated way to address the problem.

Friday, April 01, 2011

April Fool's Blessing

April 1: a foot of thick snow.
May heaven’s April fool jokes
continually beset you;
may the fickle drifts of your mastery
pile up, and melt,
but only after you shovel them;
may the treasures of earth
awaken your flesh and invite you to dance;
may unexpected blessings
weigh upon you, change your plans,
soak in deep, and make things green.
May you never need to know
too far in advance.
May you be ambushed by grace,
and always more astonished than not.
May every squall return you
to the fleeting moment
and whisper: Watch.
This won’t last long.

Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes
From the April 1 entry in the blog Unfolding Light

Spring Break in Albuquerque

On a recent Tuesday evening in March, Anne Avellone and Graham Golden of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and I were asked to spend some time with four visitors from New Mexico Highlands University (Las Vegas) to talk about Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Bread for the World.  

The visitors, who were here as part of a spring break program sponsored by Catholic Charities, had four busy days in Albuquerque. They spent some time and volunteered with several local organizations and agencies, including Good Shepherd Center and Immaculate Conception (Sunday lunch for the homeless community), the two local Catholic Worker houses (Trinity House and Casa de las Comunidades), and Hibernian House (for low-income seniors).  Read more about it Rosie Shawver's Catholic in the City blog