March 2, 2023
New Mexico producers join food banks to feed hungry New Mexicans
Regional Farm to Food Bank seeks producers of all sizes for program
SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico Association of Food Banks is joining the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association to bring the Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement to New Mexico. Renamed the Regional Farm to Food Bank Program, food banks will recruit New Mexico producers – farmers, ranchers and other food suppliers – to the program by offering them fair prices for their products. Upon purchase, producers will deliver to one of the five food banks in New Mexico or to a member of the food banks’ hunger-relief network. The Food Depot is taking the lead on behalf of New Mexico food banks to develop and implement the program’s purchasing and delivery of food.
“New Mexico food banks are committed to providing nutritious foods to people seeking emergency food assistance,” said Chairperson Sherry Hooper of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks. “This program enables the food banks to obtain fresh produce, meat and culturally relevant foods for low-income families and seniors across the state.”
The Regional Farm to Food Bank Program is the result of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s prioritization of food security investments that bolster New Mexico agriculture. Led by the New Mexico Association of Food Banks, the program uses funds from the United States Department of Agriculture to purchase locally-produced foods to help those in need. The program strengthens local food systems by offering fair market prices to farmers, ranchers and other suppliers, while ensuring that New Mexicans who experience food insecurity can access health and fresh foods.
“We encourage producers across the state to apply to participate in this program,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “This program will not only give producers a market price for their products, it will help food banks to get the products necessary to help the people in need.”
There is no producer that is too small to apply for this program. To participate in the Regional Farm to Food Bank program, producers must be a part of the New Mexico Grown Approved Supplier Program. The Approved Supplier Program allows New Mexico producers to sell to schools, food banks and other institutions by ensuring their products are safe, traceable and use quality assurance practices.
The Approved Supplier Program is managed by the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association on behalf of the state of New Mexico. The Farmers’ Marketing Association works to strengthen local food systems by supporting New Mexico agriculture producers and cultivating strong networks for a healthier New Mexico. The association has served as an access point for producers to sell through New Mexico Grown to state agencies and now to food banks.
In 2022, New Mexico food banks distributed more than 48 million pounds of food, providing 40 million meals to people in need in New Mexico. More than 46% of distributed food from the New Mexico Association of Food Banks was fruits and vegetables, while 13% was protein.
To sign up for the Regional Farm to Food Bank Program or to learn more about the work of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks go to https://www.nmfoodbanks.org/.
About the New Mexico Association of Food Banks
The New Mexico Association of Food Banks (the Association) is a collaboration of five New Mexico food banks, providing food to our neighbors in need. Food is distributed by each member food bank through a statewide network of more than 500 hunger relief locations impacting every county in the state. As the leading food insecurity experts in New Mexico, our members bring together the collective knowledge of decades of experience in providing emergency food to at-risk children, seniors, adults and families across the state.
Our Association members provide innovative approaches in serving unique communities in both rural, urban and tribal locations. Throughout the pandemic, the five food banks of the Association responded to the increased need as many New Mexicans faced unemployment, furloughs or reduction of work hours. In 2020, members provided 50,717,373 meals to our neighbors in need, an average of 4,226,448 meals per month. In 2021, members distributed enough food for 52,547,618 meals, an average of 4,378,968 meals per month.
The New Mexico Association of Food Banks includes the Community Pantry (Gallup, NM), ECHO Food Bank (Farmington, NM), Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico (Clovis, NM), The Food Depot (Santa Fe, NM), and Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM and Las Cruces, NM).