Partnerships to savor

The Delicious New Mexico local food e-commerce and distribution enterprise was developed by the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation at the South Valley Economic Development Center, in partnership with Agri-Cultura Network and the Hispanic-American Institute, under grant AM170100XXXXG102 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Delicious New Mexico helps local farmers, ranchers, and food producers conduct online sales and open new markets; provides small to medium volume distribution services; and helps school systems, hospitals, food services, and other anchor institutions expand their local procurement.

Says Kendal Chavez, nutritionist and farm-to-school specialist at the Student Success & Wellness Bureau: “Schools and school districts are under immense pressure to balance USDA nutrition policy, price point, and quality, and integrating farm to school into their meal programs is a complicated process that is currently fueled by passion and love for children, the land, agrarianism, and our economy. A one-stop online hub for all things local in New Mexico is a positive shift towards institutionalizing farm to school in our state; Student Nutrition practitioners in New Mexico welcome any and all innovations that will make purchasing local product for school meals as seamless as possible, and ultimately create a system that truly works for both farmers and institutional buyers.”

When local institutions partner with local farmers and food distributors there are several benefits:

  • The time frame for delivery from farm to end user is drastically reduced
  • Ingredients are fresh and more enjoyable
  • Money stays in the local economy
  • Jobs are created for local residents