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Healthy Communities LAB 1

Healthy Communities Legislative Action Bulletin 

January 2013                                                                                                Vol. 1, No. 1


New Mexico Proposes Farm to Table Legislation

New Mexico has made multiple efforts over the past decade to get more local fruits and vegetables onto student's cafeteria plates. The New Mexico legislature has supported expanding farm-to-school in the state by appropriating funds and asking the state departments of Agriculture and Education to collaborate on increasing the use of New Mexico agricultural products in preparation of school meals in the public schools. Since 32.7 percent of New Mexico children ages 10 to 17 are either overweight or obese, policymakers and the general public are interested in advancing policy strategies that reduce obesity, increase healthy food choice and support local agricultural producers in the state.

Senator Pete Campos of Las Vegas, N.M., has introduced Senate Bill 80 to provide $1.44 million in state funding to purchase New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables for school meals, helping meet new federal nutrition rules. This money should also create new market opportunities for the myriad small and mid-scale producers that are integral to the state's economy. New Mexico has a much higher than average amount of small producers that could benefit from new markets such as schools. The legislation and general farm-to-school efforts have thus far been discussed at a Water and Natural Resources committee hearing, as well as the Legislative Education Study Committee.
 

UPDATE
House Bill 2, the state budget bill, was signed by Governor Susana Martinez and included $100,000 “to distribute to school districts and charter schools for the purchase of New Mexico grown fresh fruits and vegetables for school meal programs.” The legislature also appropriated $85,000 to develop and promote farmers’ markets in the state.


House Bill 2, the state budget bill, was signed by Governor Susana Martinez and included $100,000 “to distribute to school districts and charter schools for the purchase of New Mexico grown fresh fruits and vegetables for school meal programs.” The legislature also appropriated $85,000 to develop and promote farmers’ markets in the state.

Farm to Table, a nonprofit organization based in New Mexico dedicated to increasing access to local food, has worked with state legislators and the departments of education and agriculture to get more local fruits and vegetables into school cafeterias. Farm to Table, along with a group in southern New Mexico, were among 68 projects in 37 states and the District of Columbia to receive $4.5 million in grants to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers. Grants will serve more than 3,200 schools and 1.75 million students, nearly half of whom live in rural communities. Farm to Table's efforts will focus on providing technical assistance to schools and agricultural producers on how to work together to source more local food for schools, and incorporate nutrition education into curriculums, along with organizing garden and farm-based educational activities.

 

 NCSL Resources


Technical Assistance
NCSL can provide testimony to legislatures on healthy communities policy options; prevention; health promotion; reducing health disparities; access to healthy foods in communities; community design to facilitate physical activity; policies to facilitate bicyling and walking;  and other healthy communities policy topics. Contact Alise Garcia at Health-info@ncsl.org.

NCSL Resources 
LegisBrief: Farm to School Policies

LegisBrief: State Innovations in School Nutrition

Other Resources

Article in Santa Fe New Mexican on interim Water and Natural Resources committee hearing on farm-to-school
Farm to Table briefing sheet on funding request
New Mexico Senate Bill 80
Farm to Table info on farm-to-school

 

  

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