2022 Legislative Outcomes
New Mexico’s food and agriculture programs will benefit from the largest investment ever from our 2022 New Mexico Legislative session. New Mexico’s Legislators and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham made a $24 million commitment to the Food, Farms and Hunger Initiative (FFH) growth of our local food and farm systems programs, both within agencies and communities to shepherd. More details will be provided from the Office of the Governor.
The FFH Initiatives supports expansion of programs such as the New Mexico Grown Program funding institutional purchases of local fruits and vegetables for nutrition programs; farmers’ market Double Up Food Bucks, Soil Health and Agriculture Workforce Programs, Farm to Food Banks, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, and emergency food assistance. Additional funding was provided to support expansion of the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
The New Mexico legislature and Office of the Governor recognized the incredible coordination efforts of organizations and agencies working together, growing relationships, programs, and trust over the years. Part of those efforts led to the Food, Farm, and Hunger Initiative and over 250 New Mexicans who came together to work on this large, comprehensive plan to strengthen the connections between food, hunger, and farming in New Mexico.
A shock to many was the Governor’s veto pf SB48, know as the “junior bill,” which would have appropriated funding to many local projects across the state. Priorities of the NMFAPC affected by the veto include funding for Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs, additional funding for the NM Grown for Seniors, the Double Up Food Bucks Program for Torrance, Santa Fe, and Valencia counties, local food pantries, the San Juan food hub, and acequia ditch funding. Several of these programs do have funding in the $8.5 billion budget.
As we focus on local food production and markets for New Mexico, we need to support the efforts of organizations and agencies to steward our natural resources, land and water, that are key to our survival. Critically important investments were made to support acequia, and soil and water conservation initiatives across the state while focusing major resources toward the future of land and water stewardship in New Mexico.
With a new State Engineer, Mike Hammon at the helm, and a 50-year water plan to be developed over the coming months, it will be imperative that we align local food production and local market opportunities and needs with priority water allocations.
As the last two year’s 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 work has only begun. Now it’s time to see these investments put to work providing support for our farmers, ranchers, community organizations, businesses, and agencies that will be implementing the programs. Many of these state resources can be paired up to match federal funding to further benefit initiatives in New Mexico.
Please join us in supporting these important programs and initiatives. Help us continue to advocate at the local, tribal, state and federal levels by getting involved in the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council – https://nmfoodpolicy.org/
Thank you to our many partners, communities, and policymakers for believing in New Mexico’s local food system!