Sunday, February 28, 2021

An Urban Garden in Albuquerque's International District

The Bernalillo County Community Urban Agriculture Project was initiated in 2019 through the International District Urban Agricultural Plan, a community-led effort to identify and enhance the overall urban agricultural landscape in and around Albuquerque’s International District. The BCC Urban Ag Project furthers the goals of this initial plan by providing a public, online resource and networking tool for supporting existing urban agriculture efforts, or starting your own.

 


Reminder: Register for March Presentation

March Meeting: Food is Free Albuquerque

 Join us online on Monday, March 8, 6:30 p.m., for our next presentation featuring Trista Teeter from Food is Free Albuquerque. 

To join the Zoom presentation, please send a request to nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com
Thank you to those who have registered already. We will send out the link a few days before the event.

"We understand the deep connection humans have with their food and we strive to reconnect human beings with the abundance which surrounds us all.  We see an abundance not only in food but community action and compassion."  -Food is Free Albuquerque

Watch a Video


What's Next for Anti-Hunger Bill?
The House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee approved HB 207, the Food, Hunger & Farm Act, on a Do Pass basis on Saturday, February 20. 

See Coverage in Grant County Beat, Feb. 20, 2021
Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb. 13, 2021, Feb. 20, 2021
Los Alamos Reporter, Feb. 21, 2021
and in KRQE News 13 (including video), Feb. 21, 2021


Background:This ambitious bill would create the Food, Hunger, and Farm Council that would work with multiple state departments, institutions, non-profits, and individuals to develop a statewide strategic plan to assess the effects of hunger, malnutrition, and food and water insecurity in New Mexico. See One-page summary (Via New Mexico First)

With more than half of the 60-day session concluded, we are waiting to see whether the measure makes to the full floor in 2021. The lead sponsors are Reps. Melanie Stansbury, Joanne Ferrary and Karen Bash and Sen. Liz Stefanics.  Stay tuned

Other Hunger-Related Bills Making Progress
(Via the NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council)
  • SB 229 Healthy Food Financing Act (Senate Finance Committee)
  • HB 247 After School & Summer Programs (House Appropriations & Finance Committee)
  • SB 101 Agriculture Workforce, $100,000 (Senate Finance Committee)
  • SB 185 NM Grown for Seniors, $250,000 (Senate Finance Committee)  Watch an interview on KOB4 with Senator Stefanics, Pam Roy of the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council, and Denise King from the NM Aging and Longterm Services Department about this bill.  
  • HB170 NM Grown for Child Care Centers, $100,000  House Appropriations & Finance Committee)
  • HB 243 Expand SNAP Double Up Bucks, $500,000 (House Appropriations & Finance Committee)
  • HB 132 Emergency Food Bank Food Items, $5 million  (House Appropriations & Finance Committee)
  • HB 133 College Hunger Reduction Pilot Program, $100,000 (House Appropriations & Finance Committee)
Useful Links
Senate Finance Committee
NM State Legislature    Find My Legislator   Find a Bill
Citizen's Guide to Legislative Advocacy (New Mexico Voices for Children)
 
Mark Your Calendars

Monday, March 1, Noon-1:30 p.m.
New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council Action Team Meeting and Legislative Update.  RSVP

March 12, 2021  12:00 p.m. Mountain time
Bread for the World's first Southwest regional update of 2021

During the hour-long gathering, you will learn about Bread for the World's 2021 Offering of Letters advocacy campaign and how you and your church can be involved in this campaign to reduce hunger in the U.S. and around the world. You will also have an opportunity to connect with fellow Bread members and advocates in the region.  RSVP

March 15-28
Food Depot Offers Free Streaming of Hungry to Learn


The documentary by award winning producer Soledad O’Brien and  director Geeta Gandbhir is an inspiring and motivating film that investigates the crisis of food insecurity that affects students on every American college campus. Here is a trailer

On Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm, a live event will be hosted by Sherry Hooper, Executive Director of The Food Depot, in conversation with University of New Mexico professor Sarita Cargas, D.Phil., who has just published a study of
Basic Needs Insecurity at UNM, completed during the pandemic in April 2020 (Registration info. available soon). Marygold Walsh-Dilley, a lead co-author of with Prof. Cargas, presented the results of the report to the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on January 5, 2021. Here is the video

Tuesday-Thursday, April 20-April 22, 9:00am-12:30pm
2021 New Mexico Grown Institute: Virtual Gathering for New Mexico’s Farm to Cafeteria Practitioners   

Over three days, from April 20 through April 22, 2021, the institute will convene local and regional experts to strengthen our collective work across New Mexico and the wider Southwest region.
Learn more        
Call for Proposals to present

Join Us!

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 nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com

 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Bipartisan Bill Urges Purchase of NM-Grown Foods for Senior Centers

 From the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council's latest legislative update:

Senate Bill 185 is a bipartisan bill which supports purchasing New Mexico grown produce by the state's senior centers, sponsored by Senator Stefanics and Representative Gail Armstrong. This is a bill that the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council is taking the lead on. Here is the interview that KOB4 did with Senator Stefanics, Pam Roy of the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council, and Denise King from the NM Aging and Longterm Services Department about this bill. 
 
 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Anti-Hunger Bill Approved in Committe

Food, Hunger & Farm Act, HB 207

The House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee approved
HB 207, the Food, Hunger & Farm Act,  on a Do Pass basis on Saturday, February 20. The measure passed by a vote of 6-3. The lead sponsors are Reps. Melanie Stansbury, Joanne Ferrary and Karen Bash and Sen. Liz Stefanics.  Stay tuned for the next steps.

Some of our endorsing partners testified in support of the bill, including the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, the New Mexico Conference of Churches, the Lutheran Advocacy-Ministry New Mexico, the Food Depot, among others.  Watch webcast of committee hearing.

Background:This ambitious bill would create the Food, Hunger, and Farm Council that would work with multiple state departments, institutions, non-profits, and individuals to develop a statewide strategic plan to assess the effects of hunger, malnutrition, and food and water insecurity in New Mexico.
More details

 
Other Hunger-Related Legislative Developments
  • HB 132 Emergency Funding ($5 million) for NM Food Banks. House Healtth and Human Services Committee approved on a Do Pass basis. Referred to House Appropriations and Finance Committee. Lead Sponsors: Reps. Joanne Ferrary, Melanie Stansbury, Karen Bash and Linda Serrato.
  • HB 243 Request for $500,000 in appropriations for Double-up Food Bucks program. House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee approved on a Do Pass basis. Moved to House Appropriations and Finance Committee.  Lead Sponsor: Rep. Gail Armstrong 
  • HB 170 Appropriates $100,000 to the Early Education and Care Department to create a program for child care centers to purchase NM-grown fruits and vegetables. House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee approved on a Do Pass basis. Moved to House Appropriations and Finance Committee. Lead Sponsors Reps. Rebecca Dow and Gail Armstrong.
  • SB 185 NM-Grown Produce in Senior Centers  Senate Conservation Committee approved on a Do Pass basis an appropriation of $250,000 to the Aging and Long-Term Services Department to purchase NM grown fruits and vegetables for senior center meals and programs.  Measure has moved to Senate Finance Committee.  Lead Sponsor: Sen. Liz Stefanics
  • HB 133 Allocates $100,000 for College Hunger Reduction Pilot Program. House Agriculture & Water Resources Committee approved on a Do Pass basis. Moved to House Appropriations and Finance Committee.  Lead sponsors: Reps. Joanne Ferrary, Melanie Stansbury, Karen Bash
Resources:
  • Committee Assignments for 2021 Session  Senate     House
  • NM State Legislature  Home Page    Find My Legislator   Find a Bill
  • Citizen's Guide to Legislative Advocacy (New Mexico Voices for Children)
  • Tips from Kurt Rager, director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM: All the information you need to actively engage is located on the New Mexico Legislature's website. Pay particular attention to the What's Happening and Webcast tabs located at the top of the page.  You can view and track introduced legislation via the Legislation tab.  
  • Washington Post article "Going to Bed Hungry." Case studies about how  pandemic has worsened hunger in several states, including New Mexico
March Meeting: Food is Free Albuquerque
 
Join us online on Monday, March 8, 6:30 p.m., for our next presentation featuring Trista Teeter from Food is Free Albuquerque. 

"We understand the deep connection humans have with their food and we strive to reconnect human beings with the abundance which surrounds us all.  We see an abundance not only in food but community action and compassion."  -Food is Free Albuquerque

Watch a Video


To join the Zoom presentation, please send a request to nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com We will send you the link a few days before the event.

Mark Your Calendars

Monday, February 22, Noon-1:30 p.m.
New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council Action Team Meeting and Legislative Update. RSVP here to receive the Zoom link.

Wednesday, February 24, 6:30 p.m.
Advocating in the State Legislature
The Interfaith Hunger Coalition collaborated with Bread for the World-Southwest Region, Bread New Mexico, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico and the New Mexico Conference of Churches to organize three workshops on state legislative advocacy in New Mexico. Our third and final workshop, focusing on northern New Mexico, is scheduled for Feb. 24.
To join the Zoom presentation, please send a note to breadnm@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 24, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Nurturing Soil for a Healthy Climate:  AFSC Farmer to Farmer Learning Circle
Fidel Gonzalez & Matthew Draper will share strategies to steward soil health for farm production and climate health. Fidel Gonzalez has been farming since 2009, is a graduate of the AFSC training program, and the president of Agri-Cultura Network. Matthew Draper has been farming since 2015 and is the farm manager of North Valley Organics. He will share cover cropping techniques as well as a crop planning system to grow healthy soil and an economically viable farm.  Register here

Thursday, February 25  9:00 a.m. -12:00 Noon
Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM Issue Briefing

The Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico will not hold its traditional Bishop's Luncheon at the La Fonda Hotel this year because of the health emergency. However, the Issue Briefing will proceed as scheduled, with a summary of of LAM-NM's Advocacy Agenda for 2021, scriptural reflections, expert presentations, and an appearance by Bishop Jim Gonia of the Rocky Mountain Synod. Please email Kurt Rager at krager@rmselca.org to register for this online event.  The Zoom link will be emailed to participants. 
 
Saturday, February 27, 4:00-5:00 p.m. 
Food Distribution
Islamic Center of New Mexico 1100 Yale Blvd SE
Sponsored by ICNM Sisters Food Project


Guidelines
  • Do not leave your car.
  • No pickup for family/friends
  • A tag will be assigned
  • Gates will be closed after boxes are distributed
ICNM Sisters Food Project is accepting donations of non-perishable food items and hygiene products on the day before distribution (Friday, Feb. 26), 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Islamic Center. For more information contact sisters.food.hygiene@gmail.com

March 12, 2021  12:00 p.m. Mountain time
Bread for the World's first Southwest regional update of 2021


During the hour-long gathering, you will learn about our 2021 Offering of Letters advocacy campaign and how you and your church can be involved in Bread for the World's work to reduce hunger in the U.S. and around the world. You will also have an opportunity to connect with fellow Bread members and advocates in the region.  RSVP

March 15-28
Food Depot Offers Free Streaming of Hungry to Learn


The documentary by award winning producer Soledad O’Brien and  director Geeta Gandbhir is an inspiring and motivating film that investigates the crisis of food insecurity that affects students on every American college campus. Here is a trailer

On Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm, a live event will be hosted by Sherry Hooper, Executive Director of The Food Depot, in conversation with University of New Mexico professor Sarita Cargas, D.Phil., who has just published a study of
Basic Needs Insecurity at UNM, completed during the pandemic in April 2020 (Registration info. available soon). Marygold Walsh-Dilley, a lead co-author of with Prof. Cargas, presented the results of the report to the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on January 5, 2021. Here is the video

Tuesday-Thursday, April 20-April 22, 9:00am-12:30pm
2021 New Mexico Grown Institute: Virtual Gathering for New Mexico’s Farm to Cafeteria Practitioners   

Over three days, from April 20 through April 22, 2021, the institute will convene local and regional experts to strengthen our collective work across New Mexico and the wider Southwest region.
Learn more        
Call for Proposals to present

Join Us!

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 nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Agriculture & Water Resources Committee to Hear HB207 on Saturday

This visionary bill seeks to end hunger and food insecurity, and promote resilient local food systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has cross-partisan support from a wide range of people, including farmers and ranchers, food banks, researchers and academics, faith leaders, educators, dietitians and health experts, agricultural and food-related businesses, and much more. 

It brings together state agencies and non-governmental organizations together to foster public and private partnerships to find durable solutions for problems in the food system.

Public comment link
Observer link
Send an email in support to the committee to taylor.moya@nmlegis.gov

 

More Background

This ambitious bill would create the Food, Hunger, and Farm Council that would work with multiple state departments, institutions, non-profits, and individuals to develop a statewide strategic plan to assess the effects of hunger, malnutrition, and food and water insecurity in New Mexico. 

It would develop plans to increase access to food; improve food processing, distribution, and storage; improve the quality of and access to state and federal food assistance programs; address malnutrition among children, seniors, and low-income communities; promote traditional agricultural practices; increase the purchase of local agricultural products; enhance job creation from agricultural production and food distribution; provide emergency relief for food and water; provide food relief on an ongoing basis to address long-term systemic hunger and food insecurity; and increase food and income security by maximizing eligibility and enrollment in state and federal programs. 

Creates a non-reverting Food, Hunger & Farm Fund in the state treasury with a General Fund appropriation of $750,000 annually beginning in fiscal year 2022.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Food, Hunger, Farm Act Receives Press, Social Media Coverage

House Bill 207, the  Food, Hunger and Farm Act of 2021, is scheduled for a hearing in the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee on Tuesday, February 16.  Here is the text of the bill.

The Food, Hunger, Water, Agriculture Policy Workgroup has worked for a couple of years to put together this important omnibus legislative initiative to take a comprehensive and long-term approach to addressing hunger in New Mexico. 

A Press Conference  

Organizers brought attention to the initiative by calling  a press conference on Friday, February 12.  This media event was broadcast live on Facebook and on Zoom.  The two lead sponsors, Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Melanie Stansbury, as well as representatives from several organizations involved in the issue, offered comments during the press briefing.

Others included Kerri Irvin (who has experience food insecurity)  Chili Yazzie (Coordinator, Shiprock Traditional Farmers Cooperative),  Anita Adalja (Farmer and Produce and Distribution Manager, Agri Cultura Network), and Ellen Buelow (Executive Committee Member, Interfaith Hunger Coalition).

Press Coverage

Here is what Robert Nott of the Santa Fe New Mexican, wrote in the Legislative Roundup for Saturday, Feb. 13.


Food bill to be heard:
New Mexico ranks near or at the top of most national lists when it comes to hunger issues. Feeding America reports that some 316,000 New Mexicans struggle with hunger every year, and 1 in 4 children faces food insecurity — meaning their families don't have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Several House Democrats banded together to introduce a bill creating a Food, Hunger and Farm Act to address those issues.

House Bill 207 would create a council of tribal, agricultural, educational and governmental leaders, among others, to first look at the state's food assets, agricultural infrastructure, food processing facilities and other entities. That council will develop an emergency relief plan to provide food for an emergency like another pandemic.

"We have to address these problems in a systematic approach," said Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-Albuquerque, one of the bill's sponsors. "We have to fix the entire system, from the roots to food distribution system to the way food is made available in communities to the actual access of food for individuals and families." The House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee is scheduled to hear the bill Tuesday morning.

On Social Media

There are other ways in which the initiative is getting attention.  For example, here is a tweet from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (one of the participants in the workgroup)

Another workgroup participant, New Mexico Voices for Children, offered its own tweet.

The Lutheran Advocacy Ministry New Mexico weighed in too And Carlos Navarro from the Interfaith Hunger Coalition added this tweet from the Press Conference

 Finally, the grassroots organization Retake Our Democracy featured HB 207 prominently.  

This ambitious bill would create the Food, Hunger, and Farm Council that would work with multiple state departments, institutions, non-profits, and individuals to develop a statewide strategic plan to assess the effects of hunger, malnutrition, and food and water insecurity in New Mexico.

See full post.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Addressing Hunger Among Congressional Candidate's Top Priorities

Melanie Stansbury, candidate for the soon-to-be-open seat in the New Mexico First Congressional District, asked a few of us to appear in a video introducing herself to the voters. Addressing hunger and poverty and promoting environmental sustainability in our state are among her top priorities.

My name is Melanie Stansbury and I'm running for Congress because I believe in New Mexico and I believe in our future. New Mexicans are resilient, determined, and full of heart. Born and raised here, I have spent my life working on land, water, and community issues at home and in Washington D.C. And, that is why I am running for Congress.

Indivisible Nob Hill sponsoored a live candidate debate in early February. 

Watch Here

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Policy Priorities Shape Food and Farm Act of 2021

The policy priorities contained in the fact sheet at the bottom of this post helped shape the omnibus Food and Farm Act, cosponsored by Rep. Melanie Stansbury, Rep. Joane Ferrary and Sen. Liz Stefanics. HB207 was introduced on January 28 in the New Mexico State Legislature. The measure was sent to the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee. (Track Progress of HB207)

Advocates gather with Rep. Stansbury, 2020 session
This list of priorities was developed after months of consultations among hundreds of organizations, non-profits, agencies on the many actions needed to help address hunger in New Mexico. Rep. Stansbury filed an earlier version of this initiative as a memorial in the 2020 legislature. While a memorial does not have the weight of law, this was the first time that our priorities came together in single format. 

Rep. Stansbury's memorial was one of many hunger-related initiatives presented in the last three years. There were other initiatives moving us in the direction of a comprehensive and long-term effort to address hunger in New Mexico, including memorials in 2018 and 2019 promoting the creation of a hunger council and legislative hunger caucus, which were projects of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition. The informal legislative hunger caucus came into existence in 2020.

Making the case
Reps. Stansbury and Ferrary (along with Rep. Anthony Allison) made their case about a comprehensive measure to address hunger in our state in an opinion piece published in several newspapers in October 2020. "There is nothing more basic to life than food and water. And, yet, here in New Mexico we have among the highest rates of hunger in the country and communities that are without access to water. It is hard to imagine in the 21st century that food and water insecurity continue to have such a profound impact on our state. That is why we must take decisive action during the upcoming Legislative session to address the food and water needs of our communities," the piece noted.

The impact of the pandemic
The conversations began in the summer of 2019 and continued into the 2020 regular session of the State Legislature. During the rest of 2020 and into 2021, discussions were shaped by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the needs in rural and Native communities and among low-income people in New Mexico. “Families continue to reel from the impact this pandemic created — devastating their income and finances. New Mexico families are struggling to afford all their family needs including food,” Mag Strittmatter, president and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank said in July 2020. 

The impact of the pandemic was felt throughout the state, prompting creative and generous responses from faith communities and local organizations in all corners of the state. The Interfaith Hunger Coalition's World Food Day video offers some examples.

The pandemic also worsened already-high hunger rates among children in New Mexico. A chart from Roadrunner Food Bank showed the projected increase of child hunger between 2018 and 2020. Federal assistance helped mitigate the problem to a certain extent.

Online interaction

The Zoom platform was both a blessing and a curse. Our sense of a community working on a common purpose was enhanced by our interactions in the board room at Roadrunner Food Bank. However, these  face-to-face discussions involved primarily folks from Albuquerque and Santa Fe and occasionally a few participants from Las Cruces. The online meetings have brought many others from around the state directly into the discussions. The voices from folks in Shiprock, Gallup, Las Vegas, Roswell, Silver City and many other communities became heard in the crafting of the initiative.

Even though we have arrived at a point where we were able to piece a legislative initiative (with strong support from Rep. Stansbury), we realize that our work is just beginning. After all, New Mexico remains at the top of the list nationally in terms of food insecurity and child hunger.

Here is a very partial list of organizations, coalitions, non-profits and others who participated in the discussions/deliberations that led to HB207.
 


Friday, January 29, 2021

Broad Anti-Hunger Bill Introduced in State Legislature

Rep. Joanne Ferrary
We are elated that a coalition-based bill to address hunger in New Mexico in a broad and comprehensive manner is finally introduced in the New Mexico State Legislature. We are so thankful to Rep. Joanne Ferrary and Rep. Melanie Stansbury, the lead sponsors of HB207
The measure has been referred to the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee and to the Appropriations Committee.
 
The bill is the result of input by hundreds of organizations (including the Interfaith Hunger Coalition), agencies, non-profits and others over a period of almost two years. Much remains to be done, but this is a great start!
 
Stay tuned for more information and updates.

Rep. Stansbury
AN ACT

RELATING TO FOOD; ENACTING THE FOOD, HUNGER AND FARM ACT;CREATING THE FOOD, HUNGER AND FARM COUNCIL; PROVIDING FOR COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP AND DUTIES; ESTABLISHING DUTIES FOR CERTAIN STATE AGENCIES TO DEVELOP AND REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TARGETED PLANS TO ADDRESS HUNGER AND NUTRITION, EXPAND ACCESS TO FOOD AND PROMOTE FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS FROM THE STATE; PROVIDING FOR DATA SHARING ON HUNGER AND FOOD SYSTEMS;CREATING THE FOOD, HUNGER AND FARM FUND; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.

Call to Action via New Mexico First
Like many of you, New Mexico First shares a deep commitment to local agriculture and its positive impact on community health and economic development. Our organization has been dedicated to the development of HB207 for over a year.

Now that this bill is active on the floor of the State House Chamber, we ask for your support of the bill and encourage you to contact your State Representatives and Senators.

Find out how to contact your legislators, by clicking here.


Highlighted Points.

If passed the Act will:
  • Create a durable framework for addressing hunger, food insecurity, and agricultural sustainability in NM.
  • Create a strategy that guides this work in Year 1 and which is updated annually and feeds into policy and budget recommendations for the agencies and the legislature in the subsequent years.
  • Provide direction and guidance to the agencies to help lead work in the areas of their mandates.
  • Provide authorization and direction to agencies in specific areas to solve persistent structural problems in the food system.
  • Provide $750K to HSD in consultation with NMDA and other Departments to do the work and foster public and private partnerships.