Saturday, March 10, 2018

Funding Comes Through for New Mexico-Grown Produce for Schools

By Pam Roy

It is with great excitement that we announce that Governor Martinez signed a $6.3 billion budget on Wednesday. The budget will begin in July. Included in the final budget is the NM Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals totaling $425,000, more than the original legislative request to restore funding to the program (HB 62 and SB 106.) 

Thank you to our sponsors Representative Jimmie Hall and Speaker Egolf, and Senators Howie Morales, Woods and Campos. We also want to thank our originating sponsor, former Senator Dede Feldman for her vision. 

In addition, the goal to create a permanent program within the NM Public Education Department (PED) is about to be realized with support from the NM School Nutrition Association, Farm to Table, the NM Food and Ag Policy Council, CPLC New Mexico, COPE, the NM Public Education Dept., the NM Dept. of Agriculture, and NM Dept. of Health. 

Future plans include expanding the program to include farm to school education related programs and exploring how to add New Mexico’s beef to the school lunch plate. Messages to the Governor and Legislators from across New Mexico and the Navajo Nation were heard!

We want to thank all who supported the priorities of the NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council, NM School Nutrition Association and partner organizations and agencies. We appreciate all who participated in the NM Food and Farms Day and School Nutrition Day at the Legislature – an incredible turnout, organized efforts, and incredible enthusiasm and support. It truly takes us all to create change and support important programs. We look forward to our continued collective work ahead!

(*The author is coordinator of the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council and executive director of Farm to Table)

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