2023 Food & Farms Day Awards
The annual New Mexico Food & Farms Day Awards celebrate individuals and organizations in New Mexico who are actively fostering innovation, equity, access, and sustainability in our local food and farming economy.
The Awards are intended to ignite a statewide passion around local food that ultimately creates change in thinking, systems, and approaches to food production, use, distribution, and policy. Awardees were honored on NM Food & Farms Day at the Legislature on January 26, 2023. CLICK HERE for the photo gallery.
Visionary New Mexico Award
A special highlight of this year’s Awards is the Visionary New Mexico Award which was given to the Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for extraordinary leadership in creating the Food Initiative, a 24.7 million dollar statewide program supporting food systems, hunger relief, and farming in New Mexico.
The Food Initiative is an expression of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to build a robust food system that feeds New Mexicans and creates food access for those dealing with food insecurity. Creating a new food system is not an easy fix, but the Food Initiative will continue planting the necessary seeds to expand the essential programs and infrastructure to grow, transport, and serve food to the New Mexicans who need it the most.
Last year’s state budget included more than $24 million – the largest investment increase in food and agriculture in the state’s history – to revolutionize New Mexico’s food system. This targeted investment has helped to expand federal nutrition programs and homegrown programs that work. This effort will benefit hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans through an intergenerational approach that will yield significant economic, health, and environmental benefits.
Heart of the Land Award for Outstanding Leadership in Farming and Ranching
Bidii Baby Foods LLC
Zachariah and Mary Ben
Bidii Baby Foods LLC is a family farm and agricultural cooperative located on the Navajo Nation, owned and operated by Zachariah and Mary Ben. They grow a variety of indigenous crops including corn, squash, melons and amaranth on 16-acres, and provide educational workshops promoting healthy lifestyles with a focus on traditional Navajo teachings and healthy family relationship building.
Working in communities to promote healthy lifestyles through farming and traditional Navajo foods they established the first product line of indigenous baby foods, grown and processed organically from heritage indigenous seeds. Their mission is to reconnect indigenous families with their long standing relationship between earth and parenting. They believe there is a direct connection between nurturing the land and nurturing our children. By understanding how to grow traditional crops and preparing them for young children they are actively dismantling systems of oppression and rebuilding indigenous foodways.
Growing the Future Award for New or Young Farmers and Ranchers
Priscilla Marie Garcia
Priscilla Marie Garcia, along with her partner and son, owns and manages the bountiful, one-acre Datura Farm in Buckhorn, NM, 10 miles from the majestic Gila Wilderness. Born and raised in the paso del norte region, she served as a FoodCorps service member in Silver City, immediately falling in love with the community and surrounding forest. In addition to farming, she participates in the land advocacy fellowship for the National Young Farmers Coalition.
At Datura Farm, the land guides and teaches how to work in a sacred reciprocal manner, honoring those who have come before and those who will come long after. They care and nurture the land in a gentle and conscientious way. It has been a precious journey to provide nutrient dense food to Grant County. The family of three cultivates different varieties of chile, squash, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and flowers and herbs, free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This array of beautiful produce has helped to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to the local food markets. Their bounty is distributed at the Silver City Farmers Market, Frontier Food Hub CSA boxes and The Food Coop. Their next mission is to connect with Grant County public schools, daycare and senior centers. Priscilla says, “It has been a joy healing minds and bodies together one day at a time.”
Sowing Change Award for Organizations Engaged in Creating Sustainable Food Systems
First Nations Development Institute
Richard Elm-Hill, Lead Program Officer
First Nations Development Institute strengthens American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. FNDI invests in and creates innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. To increase access to healthy food, First Nations supports tribes and Native communities as they build sustainable food systems that improve health, strengthen food security and increase their control over Native agriculture and food systems.
First Nations promotes education and advocacy around food systems with Native Farm to School, a food sovereignty project under First Nations’ Nourishing Native Foods & Health program. The initiative provides educational opportunities and support to program coordinators, school staff, teachers, community and youth organizers, and knowledge keepers of all ages to ensure young tribal leaders can experience traditional foodways inside culturally inclusive school food systems.
Living Land Award for Outstanding Leadership in Land Stewardship
Tejinder and Juliana Ciano
Santa Fe, NM
In the words of this awardee’s nominator, “Can a farm help reinvigorate a community whose agricultural roots had been all but forgotten? Can a farm create a vibrant space for residents and visitors alike to break bread together, enjoy live music, shop for fresh vegetables and locally-made agricultural products, explore techniques of composting and soil regeneration, and learn both modern and traditional farming techniques? At Reunity Resources Farm, these things have been happening since 2019.”
Reunity Resources is a nonprofit that operates a regenerative two-acre urban farm and soil/compost yard. Food waste is collected from 26 local restaurants, 30 Santa Fe schools, and 500+ households. The compost, soil and vermicompost made on site is sold to the community and has been used to regenerate the farm’s soil, reviving a neglected historic farm. This closed-loop, localized food system promotes equitable food access, and provides agricultural and environmental education to increase access to and participation in sustainable land stewardship. Their programs include immediate food access solutions like fresh produce donations, Double Up Food Bucks, and the 24/7 Santa Fe Community Fridge, as well as educational offerings ranging from field trips and Summer Farm Camp to professional trainings. They are working toward a future where everyone in our community is part of resilient, nourishing food systems.
Good Food for New Mexico Award – Celebrating Farmers’ Markets
Portales and Clovis Farmers’ Markets
Margie Plummer, Market Manager
Margie Plummer has managed the Portales and Clovis Farmers’ Markets since 1999 and 2010, respectively. As Market Manager, she is responsible for organizing the twice weekly markets, managing all paperwork associated with the food access programs and reimbursing vendors for sales from these programs. In addition, she is also a farmer, growing approximately 30 acres of vegetables that she sells at both markets and to the public schools, as well as her own farm stand, The Veggie Shack.
The Clovis market boasts about 12-15 vendors, Portales has five to six, each beginning around the first of July and continuing through October. They accept WIC, Double Up Food Bucks, and SNAP. Under Margie’s leadership, they strive to get as much healthy produce into the hands of customers as possible. Customers love the fresh, locally grown produce, the atmosphere of the market, and visiting with the various vendors about the products they have grown. Many are learning about new-to-them veggies and ways to prepare them. 2022 was a very successful season; the Clovis Market redeemed the third largest dollar amount of WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition vouchers in the state. Much of that success can be credited to Margie, who is well known by all the patrons, is committed to creating a positive and friendly shopping experience, and providing equitable food access. These markets offer a tremendous resource where few other opportunities to purchase locally grown produce exist. –
Golden Chile Awards
The New Mexico Grown Golden Chile Awards, organized by the NM Grown Coalition, provide an opportunity to recognize and celebrate innovative NM Grown programming taking place at preschools, K-12 schools, and senior centers across the state, and the farmers and food producers who supply the food.
The awards are given in tiers, each recognizing the level that NM Grown concepts are implemented into a school or senior center’s food service programs. The goal of the program is to encourage innovation and expansion in providing fresh, healthy, New Mexico grown produce to students and seniors.
The Golden Chile Award Program is organized by the NM Grown Coalition, a network of public institutions, community-based organizations, and individuals working together to strengthen community food systems across New Mexico.
For more information and to apply for next year’s awards, visit www.nmhealth.org/publication/view/general/7534
Golden Chile (program is mature and fruitful)
- A Gold Star Academy & Child Development Center
- Roswell Independent School District
Blossom (program is reaching maturity)
- Bumble Bee Learning Center in Sunland ParkRio Arriba County Senior Program in Chama, Tierra Amarilla, El Rito, Coyote, Dixon, Española, Alcalde, Chimayo, and Truchas
- Twin Rivers Farm in Roswell
Sprout (program is growing strong)
- Clovis Municipal Schools
- Presbyterian Medical Centers – Torrance Senior Services in Torrance County
Seed (program has potential)
- Mid-West NMCAP Socorro Head Start
- Santo Domingo Senior Center in Santo Domingo Pueblo