Monday, October 09, 2023

Commemorate World Food Day with us!

The Interfaith Hunger Coalition has commemorated World Food Day every year (in some form or another) over the past several years: 2016 2017201820192020,  2021  and 2022-1, 2022-2.

In keeping with the 2023 theme Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind, this year we are gathring on the banks of the Rio Grande to highlight the importance of water in feeding our local and global communities.

Join us for a morning filled with prayers, songs and reflections from various faith and cultural traditions:
Georgene Louis (Acoma Pueblo)
Michael Zenshin Haederle (Zen Buddhist monk)
Joseph Sandoval O. Praem. Obl (offering a reflection from Rev. Lynne Hinton, New Mexico Conference of Churches)
Caroline Hess (Albuquerque Baha’i community)
Howie Sagrans (offering a reflection from Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, Congregation Nahalat Shalom)
* Sarah Rahman (offering a reflection from Aamna Nayyar, Sisters Food Project),
Maziar Saleh Ziabari (M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi® School of Islamic Sufism).
 * Clarence Hogue (Indigenous Farm Hub)

We will also have presentations from
Helga Garza (Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network), and
Jorge Garcia (Center for Social Sustainable Systems).

* Music, Dance Movements, Logistics, Sound coordinated by Keri Sutter and Surgite, a sacred dance company

We will take about five minutes to celebrate the annual solar eclipse, which will occur at mid-morning on Oct. 14. *(More information below)
Directions to Tingley Beach Overlook
From Central, turn south onto Tingley. Turn right at the first opportunity. Turn right again and drive past the model boat pond. The parking lot is north (just past) the model boat pond. The path to the Overlook begins just west of the handicapped parking spots.

Watching a Solar Eclipse Safely
(from KRQE-TV) In Albuquerque, the eclipse will start at 9:13 a.m. The peak will then happen at 10:36 a.m. when the full size of the moon will cover most of the sun creating what looks like a “ring of fire.(Our event starts at 10:00 a.m.) The peak will last nearly five minutes and the eclipse will end at 12:09 p.m.

We have purchased a limited number of eclipse glasses and we'll try to find others. Please do not try to watch the eclipse without these special glasses, as this could damage your eyes.
An Invitation to the NACA Feast Day
The Interfaith Hunger Coalition is excited to link our World Food Day event with the Native American Community Academy's Feast Day on Friday, October 13. We will be present at the Feast Day, and someone from NACA will speak briefly at our event at Tingley Beach the next day.  

The public at large is cordially invited to the NACA Feast Day, which starts at 10:00 a.m., with a great program, a keynote speaker and dances from the students. There will be a community meal following the dances.

NACA is located at 1000 Indian School Rd NW, near 12th St. Parking is available at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) buildings north of NACA (1001 Indian School Rd NW). A couple of small NACA yellow school busses will shuttle people to the event.

Join our Collective Effort to End Hunger in New Mexico
We invite congregations and organizations to endorse the Interfaith Hunger Coalition. The endorsement does not imply any financial contributions, just a commitment to partner with us to address hunger in New Mexico. Here is a list of our current endorsers (25 congregations and 31 organizations).. Download the endorsement form and attach in an e-mail to

Donate to Interfaith Hunger Coalition  (Via the New Mexico Conference of Churches)

Monday, July 10, 2023

Advocating for an Equitable, Sustainable Farm Bill

Approximately every five years, Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill, a comprehensive piece of legislation that authorizes most federal policies governing food and agriculture programs

As has been the case in many prior years, our advocacy efforts in 2023 center on a Farm Bill that protects and enhances nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Additionally, we also want to protect the programs that help our government respond to food emergencies and promote food security around the world. 

As we make these requests, we want to ensure that any decisions reached on the Farm Bill incorporate the principles of equity and sustainability.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Food Depot Advocacy Agenda 2023

 The Food Depot’s Agenda for the

2023 Regular Legislative Session

Approved by The Food Depot Board of Directors on January 18, 2023

The Food Depot respectfully requests that you and your colleagues provide crucial help to

our efforts by taking the following seven actions:


Repeat the 2022 appropriation of $1,116,500 for food banks to purchase and distribute fresh

produce, and appropriate an additional $10 million per the Food Initiative for food banks to

acquire more of the self-stable food hungry New Mexicans need. Because there is no end in

sight to the need for this funding, it should be made recurring.


Approximately 20 percent of our state’s children are food insecure. An important way to

reduce their hunger will be to enact legislation to provide universal free school meals. This

will ensure that, when schools are open, every child can receive a nutritious breakfast and

lunch and, in some cases, an afternoon snack or meal before going home. A child should only

have to worry about school rather than worry about going hungry and feeling ‘less than’ their

peers. Making these meals free to all children will end the costly and frustrating

administration of means tests for children’s families. It will reduce ostracism of children

whose family incomes permit them to eat free while children from families with higher

incomes must pay something to eat. And it will reduce non-participation by children whose

families lack the money to pay even the low co-payments required and by those who don’t

want to be seen as participants in a “welfare” or “handout” program.


Leave food exempt from the gross receipts tax. Taxing food will directly reduce the food that

can be purchased by poor New Mexicans who already are experiencing hunger, and already-

strained food banks will not be able to make up difference. Make no mistake: taxing food will

increase hunger in our state.


Approve a $225 per month allocation to up to 42,287 seniors in the state’s augmentation of

the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or “food stamps”) benefit received

by New Mexico’s poor senior citizens. Seniors are increasingly hard-pressed to meet their

essential living expenses in the face of inflation, and this will reduce the number of them who

face food insecurity.


When the Legislature provides funding intended to help food banks meet the increasing

costs of feeding hungry New Mexicans and, in order to comply with the restrictions of the

Anti-Donation Clause, the recipient food banks must obtain those funds from various local

governments, the funds are delayed in reaching the food banks by a host of administrative

requirements and sometimes never realize their intended purpose of preventing hunger.

Some 2022 funding has not yet reached the food banks for which it was appropriated.

Application of the Anti-Donation Clause to established nonprofit organizations involved in

feeding hungry New Mexicans should be eliminated. Until that is accomplished, State

funding for food banks should be channeled to them by means of contracts from state

agencies rather than grants they must obtain from local governments.


Currently, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations like food banks do not pay gross receipts tax

on tangibles they purchase and yet do have to pay gross receipts tax on services, making New

Mexico gross receipts tax law different from most other states. Please support the end of GRT

on services.


We urge your support for a Memorial calling on the appropriate state agencies to simplify

and clarify their requirements and procedures to facilitate donations by hunters of game

animals they have killed, and safe processing of the meat obtained from those game animals

so it can be used by food banks to feed hungry New Mexicans across the state.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Article: 'COVID grew New Mexico hunger relief network'

Great article from Isabel Ruehl in New Mexico In-Depth

Below are a couple of excerpts, followed by a link to the full piece

"When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it created a food emergency of epic proportions.

But it had strong silver linings: People... learned how to access healthier food in their daily lives. And it forced food, health and agriculture organizations to scramble, causing them to rethink how to get food to those in need, with new collaboration and innovation that has the potential to transform New Mexico’s struggle with food insecurity."

This year, building on the gains made during the pandemic, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham launched the Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative — recently renamed the Food Initiative —and secured $24.7 million from the Legislature to create and fund policy that tackles hunger across the state.

“The Food Initiative is Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to build a robust food system that measurably reduces hunger and improves equitable access to nutritious, culturally meaningful foods,” said Chavez, “while simultaneously supporting farmers, ranchers, and food businesses to produce more fresh food for food-insecure New Mexicans.” 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Farm Bill Forum Videos: (Part 2)

On October 15, the day before World Food Day, four organizations (the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, Bread for the World, New Mexico El Paso Interfaith Power & Light, and Save the Children Action Network-New Mexico) brought together a handful of diverse organizations in New Mexico to discuss their vision for the 2023 Farm Bill (which Congress is scheduled to consider next year).  We are publishing videos of their presenations in two parts. Here is Part 2. 

National Latino Farmers and Ranchers: Lawrence Gallegos

(Video:  16:14)

Lawrence Gallegos spoke about the importance of conservation and water programs, and why they shoud be expanded in the Farm Bill. He also discussed a lack of access to important programs for indigenous and Latino farmers and ranchers, particularly those with small operations. 

"The conservation programs are really good programs and are helping a lot of ranchers and farmers. But especially in the indigenous communities and Hispanic communities, we haven't have had enough access to these programs  What we need to do is to make these programs more accessible " 

Gallegos also emphasized the need to leverage state money with federal funds available through the Farm Bill, particularly  to help the smaller farmers. He said National Resource Conservation Service and USDA have offered equity agreements to non-profit organizations to help make operations more efficient and profitiable, protect the environment and train producers on how to deal with drought.  "There are two demonstration projects show you especially how to use water more efficiently, which is going to have happen here in New Mexico."

Save the Children Action Network: Lacey Daniell-Miller

(Video: 5:33)

Lacey and volunteers from New Mexico met with our New Mexico members of Congress in Washington a few weeks ago to advocate for a stronger food assistance program in the 2023 Farm Bill. The Supplemental Nutrrion Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition programs account for the largest share of the funds disbursed under the Farm Bill. The challenges is to ensure that SNAP serves clients in the best way possible, including reducing barriers that prevent access to the program.

"We talked to our federal delegation about strengthening SNAP within the Farm Bill, and all of our delegation was very supportive of that," she said. 

"Studies show SNAP benefits have reduced food insecurity for households with limited resources.  SNAP participation reduces food insecurity by 30 percent, and is even more effiective among children."

Moderator Pam Roy Offers Summary

"Here in New Mexico, one in every five children are considered food insecure. We have to think about that.," she said. "Think about the people down the street, down the road, in our communities..Why should any one child or family or individual be hungry? And isn't it our role as advocates to figure this out? " 

Roy also spoke about the Double Food Bucks program, a program that has been in place for 15 years.  Eligible individuals and families utilize the SNAP program to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, with funding from the federal government leveraged by state funds. The program is now known as GusSNIP. "New Mexico has one of the more successful programs, thanks to the New Mexico Farmers Market Association." The program is also designed to help the local agriculture economy. "Those dollars serve our communities, our farmes and ranchers." 

Questions and Answers

(Video: 5:39)

Sister Joan Brown, osf, executive director of New Mexico El Paso Interfaith Power & Light asked about leveraging funds for environmental, conservation, waterways and wildlife protection programs. "I'm wondering it that's another area to collaborate across organizations' voices and some funding that might already be here at the state level.  
Alan Brauer also spoke of the need to balance consumption of natural resources, which he said was a form of collaboration. "Thinking about how we use the precious water that we have...One of the things that we commit to at the Indigenous Farm Hub...we do micro-irrigation where we can.  We use just a pinch of water for vegetables that just need a bit of water every single day," said Alan Brauer 

"The value of using as little water as possible is still inherent in what we do," he pointed out.
Group Picture

All of these folks played an important role in the success of our Farm Bill Forum as panelists, speakers, members of  the audience,  program and logistics planners,and representatatives of our host church La Mesa Presbyterian Church (including the all-important Zoom technician). Inicidentally, dozens of people watched and listened to the pogram on Zoom.

Farm Bill Forum Videos (Part 1)

On October 15, the day before World Food Day, four organizations (the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, Bread for the World, New Mexico El Paso Interfaith Power & Light, and Save the Children Action Network-New Mexico) brought together a handful of diverse organizations in New Mexico to discuss their vision for the 2023 Farm Bill (which Congress is scheduled to consider next year).  We are publishing videos of their presenations in two parts. Here is Part 1. 
Moderator Pam Roy Offers Opening Reflections
(Video 3:52)

Pam Roy, coordinator of the NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council, moderated our panel  She outlined some of the goals that the NMFAPC has proposed for the 2023 Farm Bill, including the need for equity in all policies. 

 "Not all programs are accessible to farmers and ranchers. So how can we change this Farm Bill to ensure they are accessible?... We must meet climate change and climate crisis head on. This is a huge issue...Ending hunger in our communities, of course, is a huge issue in New Mexico....We must ensure dignity and safety for workers. Who is out there with our farmers and ranchers to ensure that food ends up on our tables..."

The Indigenous Farm Hub: Clarence Hogue and Alan Brauer

(Video 17:26)

Clarence Hogue stressed the cultural and historical importance of local food production. "For me growing up, a lot of our community people were farming. They were growing food and feeding their families. Since then, a lot of the people who were the farmers--our parents--are now elders, and a lot of them have passed on.  And so a lot of these farms are sitting idle.  A lot of the statistics that I have heard that there's an 8,000 acre of farms, and only 15 percent are being used right now. There is a lot of land that could be used to fill our our farm operations again  , but we need people to do it.  How do we get our younger generations to get back to this type of work and occupation. This is part of building our food systems for our communities at the grassroots level.   

Alan Brauer
 underscored the importance of programs that are possible because of past farm bills. He pointed out an issue here in New Mexico is that organizations, sovereign tribes, munincipalities very rarely apply for these opportunities and connect and build coalitions. The leadership at Indigenous Farm Hub "usually says yes" to applying for different programs. 

"We know that it's something that could really bear so much fruit for our young people and for our experienced farmers and to really create a more just and Equitable food system across our our state, profoundly within tribal communities...Throughout the last two years, we have been very lucky to be part of a couple of different programs within the Farm Bill. We were one of three recipients across the entire state of New Mexico in 2021 that received a grant through Farm to School.  We work with two specific schools: Native American Community Academy and Albuquerque Sign Language Academy, but we also have four other schools: Santo Domingo Elementary School, Cochiti Elementary School, RFK Charter School and Ace Leadership Charter School." 

NM El Paso Interfaith Power & Light: Terry Sloan

(Video 13:06)

Terry Sloan spoke of the spiritual nature of food and the need for access to nutrittious sustenance, which is a human right spelled out in the 1996 World Food Summit. "What can we add to the new Farm Bill, and these are just my thoughts? We can incorporate the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, and we can address food insecurity, we can add a holistic approach--equitable access to food and agriculture." 

"We can eliminate chemicals--insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. We need to develop systems and programs that address food waste....We can look at sustainable methodologies of farming and agriculture...including water conservation methods...We need to consider an research responses to severe weather changes like drought, which have here in New Mexico."

Sloan suggested that we consider indigenous ways of farming and how tribal communities sustain their way of life in agriculture. "They have been practicing sustainable development for thousands of years," he said.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Food & Farms Day Awards, August 24, 2022

 Food & Farms Day Awards, August 24, 2022

The awards celebrate exceptional programs and partners in New Mexico who actively foster innovative and creative approaches to complex problems facing our local food economy.

Compilation ALL Food and Farm videos_1.mp4 from Helen Henry on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Hunger Caucus and Related Initiatives in the 2022 Legislature

What were the legislative outcomes for food, hunger, agriculture and human needs initiatives in the 2022 New Mexico State Legislature? The most significant and far-reaching measure approved in the past legislative session was the Food, Farms and Hunger initiative promoted by a broad anti-hunger coalition in collaboration with the governor's office and legislators. The effort resulted in approval of a $24 million package in anti-hunger and related measures ia the state budget. Listen to Pam Roy of the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, Kurt Rager of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico, and State Rep. Joanne Ferrary talk about these initiatives. Rep. Ferrary also gave us an update on the Legislative Hunger Caucus.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Dozens of State Legislators Sign on to Hunger Caucus in 2022

Several dozen members of the New Mexico House of Representatives and a handful of members of the State Senate committed to address hunger in New Mexico by agreeing to join the Legislative Hunger Caucus. Rep. Joanne Ferrary of Las Cruces (shown at left), who has played a major leadership role in creating and promoting this informal body within the State Legislature, developed the mission statement below.

The legislators added their names to the Hunger Caucus document at a gathering in the Roundhouse a few weeks before the start of the 2022 session of the New Mexico State Legislature.

Here is the statement at the top of the document that legislators signed. 

Below is the list of legislators (in alphabetical order) who added their names to the Hunger Caucus list this year. The legislators represent all corners of our state. Each legislator has a hyperlink leading to their page on the NM State Legislature, including an e-mail address (in case you want to send them a thank you note). One legislator--former Rep. Brittany Barreras--left the Legislature this year and is no longer listed on the Legislature's page.


Eliseo Alcon          Anthony Allison         Phelps Anderson      Karen Bash   

Kay Bounkeua      Micaela Lara Cadena   Gail Chasey             Meredith Dixon

Daymon Ely          Joanne Ferrary              Natalie Figueroa      Doreen Gallegos  

Harry Garcia          Miguel Garcia              Joy Garratt               Susan Herrera

Pamelya Herndon   Day Hochman Vigil    D. Wanda Johnson   Raymundo Lara

Derick Lente         Tara Lujan                    Willy Madrid          Antonio Maestas

Javier Martinez     Marian Matthews         Roger Montoya       Kristina Ortez

Andrea Romero   Patricia Roybal Caballero   Angelica Rubio   Debbie Sariñana

Linda Serrato       Nathan Small             Candie Sweetser          Christine Trujillo

Liz Thomson 

Former Rep.  Brittany Barreras


 Martin Hickey         Linda Lopez       

 Gerald Ortiz y Pino   Harold Pope          Shannon Pinto        

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez  Liz Stefanics         Bill Tallman 

Other Senators who signed an earlier more informal document

Bill Burt     Jacob Candelaria    Carrie Hamblen   

Stuart Ingle'    Daniel Ivey-Soto   Gay Kernan

George Muñoz   Bill Soule  Jeff Steinborn   

 Mimi Stewart   Peter Wirth     Pat Woods

The list includes former Sens. Carlos Cisneros, Jim White and Gabriel Ramos

Evolution of Hunger Caucus

  2019  State Legislature 


The concept of the Hunger Caucus has been around a few years. The House approved memorials in 2019 and 2020 supporting the creation of this special body within the State Legislature. "I think New Mexico for far too long has had hunger as part of our our social economic cultural fabric," said Rep. Phelps Anderson, speaking in favor of House Memorial 65 in the 2019 State Legislature. "I salute you for bringing this memorial to the front because we're all here to do good work. The work we do could not be better in this area, or more important.

An earlier effort in 2018, led by former Rep. Sarah Maestas-Barnes, created a hunger council--a partnership between non-governmental organizations and state legislators.

The current Hunger Caucus is the result of several informal meetings in recent years between legislators and representatives of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, Roadrunner Food Bank, AARP New Mexico and other organizations and Rep. Ferrary. Among the legislators who contributed to the discussion over the years are Rep.  Ferrary, Rep. Anderson, Rep. Anthony Allison, Rep. Natalie Figueroa, Rep. Karen Bash, Rep. Kristina Ortez, Rep. Rebecca Dow, Sen. Bill Tallman, Sen. Harold Pope, Sen. Carrie Hamblen, Sen. Liz Stefanics, among others.

Major Anti-Hunger Initiative in 2022

Because of their commitment to the Hunger Caucus, many legislators were aware of this year's broad Food, Farms and Hunger initiative, which promoted a long-term and wide approach to addressing hunger in New Mexico. Because of an effort by a broad coalition of non-profits, anti-hunger advocates, feeding agriculture organizations, and the governor's office, about $24 million was allocated in the FY23 budget for programs to address hunger in New Mexico this year. 

The same advocates promoted a similar measure in the 2021 legislature via an omnibus bill. That measure did not contain funding allocations and did not reach the House floor. This year, the strategy was to include funding in the Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's budget proposal for HB2, the general budget.  

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Coalition, Governor's Office Craft Hunger Initiative for 2022 Legislature

Dear Representatives and Senators,

These are unprecedented times. Even as the pandemic has made the weaknesses and inequities in our food system more evident, it highlighted the strength of New Mexico’s food system. The pandemic also revealed the potential to expand food and farming businesses and the agricultural economy while creating greater access to food for those who are vulnerable.

Our local food system is supported by a long tradition of small and mid-sized farms and ranches that are part of the state’s agricultural industry that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year, yet 95% of products leave the state. At the same time, hunger and food insecurity have remained persistent challenges in New Mexico for generations. 

To address this potential, over 250 New Mexicans came together to work on a large, comprehensive plan to strengthen the connections between food, hunger, and farming in New Mexico. The Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative supports our commitment to fostering a food system that addresses hunger while improving economic resiliency in New Mexico’s communities. 

The FY23 Executive Budget recommendation includes more than $24 million – the largest investment increase in food and agriculture in the state’s history. It’s more urgent than ever for the legislature to fund these essential programs. 

We ask that you prioritize the complete Executive Budget recommendation in House Bill 2 as requested for the Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative. $14.2 million is included in the Department of Finance and Administration’s budget, with another $200,000 recommended for essential staff positions for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department and Human Services Department. $10 million is recommended in capital outlay for hunger relief infrastructure improvements.

This effort will benefit hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans through an intergenerational approach that will yield significant economic, health, and environmental benefits. This targeted investment will help expand federal nutrition programs and homegrown programs that work.

The many organizations, individuals, and partner agencies that worked together to create this comprehensive budget package multi-year set of initiatives ask for your full support in making sure this funding request is reflected in the legislative budget.

Please feel free to contact any of us. Several organization’s contacts are provided below.

Yours truly, signed:
New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council, Pam Roy, Coordinator, 505-660-8403
NM Farmers’ Marketing Association, Denise Miller, Executive Director, 505-699-2064
NM School Nutrition Association, Marie Johnson, President, 505-599-8778
New Mexico Association of Food Banks, Sherry Hooper, President, 505-577-0444
   ECHO Food Bank
   Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico
   Roadrunner Food Bank – Albuquerque
   Roadrunner Food Bank – Las Cruces
  The Food Depot
Agri-Cultura Network
Agri-Nature Center
Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity
Black Farmers and Ranchers New Mexico
CPLC New Mexico, Inc. & HELP New Mexico, Inc.
Farm to Table
Interfaith Hunger Coalition
La Semilla Food Center
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry - NM
National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association
National Young Farmers Coalition
New Mexico Appleseed
New Mexico Conference of Churches
New Mexico First
NM Healthy Soil Working Group
Rural Coalition
The Community Pantry and Hope Garden
Wagner Farms
Western Landowners Alliance

The Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative (Governor's Budget Proposal)


New Mexico has a vibrant local food movement supported by a long tradition of small- and mid-sized agriculture. Our thriving agricultural industry generates billions of dollars in revenue every year, but 95% of products leave the state. At the same time, hunger and food insecurity have remained persistent challenges in New Mexico for generations. It’s time to change the system – and we’ve got a plan.  

The FY23 Executive Budget recommendation includes more than $24 million – the largest investment increase in food and agriculture in the state’s history – to revolutionize New Mexico’s food system. This targeted investment will help expand federal nutrition programs and homegrown programs that work. This effort will benefit hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans through an intergenerational approach that will yield significant economic, health, and environmental benefits. 

The Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative supports our commitment to fostering a food system that addresses hunger while improving economic resiliency in New Mexico communities. The future of New Mexico’s food system will be improved by these comprehensive investments outlined in the FY23 Executive Budget recommendation.


Increase immediate hunger relief efforts for food insecure 

  • New Mexicans Senior Food Boxes Program, which provides an additional 3,025 homebound seniors and adults with disabilities in rural communities with seven meals each month. Recommended funding: $692,000 for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department. Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, which provides an additional 1,960 individuals in rural communities with weekly vouchers to buy fruits and vegetables from New Mexico producers. Recommended funding: $500,000 for the Department of Health. 
  • 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. A minimum of 75 grants will impact 9,975 children. Recommended funding: $1.5 million for the Early Childhood Education and Care Department. 
  • 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 up to 17,500 food insecure students. Recommended funding: $1 million for the Higher Education Department. 
  • Meal Gap Funding, which funds food bank assistance to an additional 127,000 New Mexicans across the state, including children and seniors experiencing food insecurity in high need counties. Recommended funding: $5.9 million for the Human Services Department. Increase immediate hunger relief efforts for food insecure New Mexicans 
  • Mobile Technology for WIC and Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs, which funds the purchase of mobile technology for paperless transactions at farmers’ markets, farm stands, and grocery stores. 25,000 New Mexicans currently benefit from this program. Recommended funding: $108,400 for the Department of Health. 
  • 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. Recommended funding: $700,000 for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

Invest in local producers’ ability to support New Mexico’s food system 

  • New Mexico Grown, which allows an additional 68,850 New Mexicans to eat locally produced fruits and vegetables, meat, nuts, and other foods in schools, senior centers, and preschools. Recommended funding: $400,000 for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department, $300,000 for the Early Childhood Education and Care Department, and $800,000 for the Public Education Department.
  • Healthy Soils Program, which promotes and supports an additional 64 land management projects that improve the health, yield, and profitability of the soils of the state. Recommended funding: $1 million for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
  • Agricultural Workforce Development, which provides internship opportunities for young and beginning farmers, ranchers, food processors, and other agribusiness professionals. Up to 34 interns will be supported in partnership with community-based organizations. Recommended funding: $250,000 for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
  • Approved Supplier Program, which supports an additional 219 farmers and ranchers selling to schools, senior centers, preschools, grocery stores, and distributors. Retail sales by participating producers increased ten-fold in a 2-year period because of this program. Recommended funding: $200,000 for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
  • Farm to Food Bank Program, which connects communities in need with locally produced fruits and vegetables, meat, nuts, and other foods that would otherwise be wasted. Producers will be reimbursed for the costs involved with harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting donated foods. Recommended funding: one-time appropriation of $500,000 for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

Build the capacity of New Mexico’s supply chain  

  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which will fund low interest loans and grants to invest in local farmers, food hubs, and grocery stores. Up to $2 million annually will be matched from the U.S. Treasury. Program expansion will support 7 projects and more than 100 jobs. Recommended funding: $250,000 for the Economic Development Department.
  • Food, Farm, and Hunger Capital Outlay Request, which invests in infrastructure improvements for New Mexico’s food system. Funding priorities include cold storage, transportation, kitchen equipment for preparing and serving meals, and facility renovations. Recommended funding: $10 million for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department

Monday, October 25, 2021

Rep. Melanie Stansbury Joins House Hunger Caucus

Rep. Melanie Stansbury formally became a member of the  US House Hunger Caucus in September of this year. She is the third consecutive congressperson from the New Mexico First Congressional district to join this House body. Her two predecessors, former Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (now governor of New Mexico) and former Rep. Deb Haaland (now federal Interior Secretary) were also members of the House Hunger Caucus, as was former Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of the Third Congressional District. Interestingly enough, Sen. Lujan is still listed as a member of the House Hunger Caucus, even though he is in the Senate (More on that later). Perhaps Rep. Teresa Leger-Fernandez could follow in Rep. Lujan's footsteps. If you're a constituent of Rep. Leger Fernandez, send her a note urging her to join the House Hunger Caucus.

Rep. Stansbury is a natural for the House Hunger Caucus. Before her election to the US House, she worked tirelessly as a state representative to coordinate a new approach in New Mexico to address hunger in our state. She promoted an omnibus bill that would bring together all the elements needed to address hunger in New Mexico. This created the blueprint for anti-hunger efforts going forward. 

And one of her first actions after her swearing-in ceremony to the US House was to speak out in favor of making the Child Tax Credit permanent.

What is the Hunger Caucus? 

A caucus by definition is comprised of a group of members of Congress that meets to pursue common legislative objectives. According to the Congressional Research Service, caucuses are formed as congressional member organizations (CMOs) both in the House and the Senate. The legislative bodies are governed under the rules of the two chambers. 

Unlike formal committees, caucuses do not have authority to craft legislation. They primarily intend to provide a forum for members to demonstrate their willingness to work together on a particular issue such as addressing hunger in the United States. While highly symbolic, they also contribute to the national conversation. For example, in December of 2020, House Hunger Caucus co-chair Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, urged then President-elect Joe Biden to to appoint a “hunger czar” to develop, coordinate, and implement a national strategy to reduce food insecurity in America. 

"I have long maintained that hunger is a political condition, and the choices our leaders make have a profound and direct impact on whether or not Americans families will live in fear of not knowing where their next meal will come from. Ending hunger is not only a moral obligation; there is also a tremendous cost to our country for our indifference," McGovern said in a letter to Biden.

Caucus Co-Chair Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., has also spoken in favor of policies to address hunger in our country. “Access to plentiful, nutritious food plays a key role in health and wellness and can help families and communities build stronger futures," Walorski said during a commemoration of World Food Day in 2020. “I’m honored to support the designation of a World Food Day and renew my commitment to addressing hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition in the U.S. and across the globe. As co-chair of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, I’ll continue working to make nutrition a priority in Congress.”

Here are other quotes from legislators, including some members of the Hunger Caucus, on World Food Day 2020

To be sure, the House Hunger Caucus aims to be a bipartisan body.  Here is the current listing, courtesy of Rep. McGovern's office. The listing does not include party affiliation, but a few of these legislators are members of the Republican Party.

Kind, Ron


Lawrence, Brenda L.


Courtney, Joe


Pallone, Frank


Matsui, Doris


Lofgren, Zoe


Costa, Jim


Norton, Eleanor Holmes


Carson, Andre


DeLauro, Rosa


Doyle, Mike


Lee, Barbara


Aguilar, Pete


Smith, Adam


Cleaver II, Emanuel


Carbajal, Salud


Deutch, Ted


Kildee, Dan


Huffman, Jared


Adams, Alma


Larsen, Rick


Pingree, Chellie


Maloney, Carolyn


Lujan, Ben Ray


Connolly, Gerald


Raskin, Jamie


Ryan, Tim


Jackson-Lee, Sheila


Welch, Peter

VT At-Large

Green, AL


Speier, Jackie


Maloney, Patrick


Larson, John


Lynch, Stephen


Bishop, Sanford


Lowenthal, Alan


Scott, Robert "Bobby"


McCollum, Betty


Neal, Richard


Bonamici, Suzanne


DeFazio, Peter


Doggett, Lloyd


McGovern, James P.


Sablan, Gregorio Kilili Camacho


Delbene, Suzanne


Clark, Katherine


Johnson, Eddie Bernice


Kuster, Ann McLane


Takano, Mark


Frankel, Lois


Schiff, Adam


Kaptur, Marcy


Price, David


Schakowsky, Jan


Spanberger, Abigail




Panetta, Jimmy


Lawson, Al


Dingell, Debbie


Kelly, Mike


Moolenaar, John


Walberg, Tim


Griffith, Morgan


Upton, Fred


Thompson, Glenn "GT"


Granger, Kay


Walorski, Jackie


Omar, Ilhan


Mann, Tracey


Stansbury, Melanie


What About the Senate Hunger Caucus?

Unlike the House, Senate groups receive neither official recognition nor funding from the chamber. But a Senate Hunger Caucus does exist, and co-chairs include high-profile senators: John Boozman (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Roger Marshall (R-KS). "Living in the breadbasket of our nation, it can be difficult to comprehend the prevalence of hunger around the world. Yet hunger is real, and it threatens the future of millions of people every day,"  Sen. Jerry Moran (previously a co-chair of the caucus) said in his website.  

In addition to the co-chairs, the Senate Hunger Caucus is comprised of nine other senators. See listing.

Among recent actions, the caucus led a food drive in Congress in 2019.  In November 2020, Sen. Moran and a handful of his colleagues introduced a resolution to honor the World Food Program for receiving a 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sen.  Ben Ray Lujan does not participate in the Senate Hunger Caucus (at least not yet), but he remains as an honorary member of  the House Hunger Caucus. We'll contact the staffs of Sen. Lujan and Heinrich to get in their insights on the Senate Hunger Caucus.