Tuesday, November 23, 2010
USDA Awards Funds to Close the Gap in Rural Food Distribution in New Mexico
Yesterday, USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner was in El Morro, New Mexico to present a certificate of funding obligation to the Farm to Table non-profit organization of Santa Fe. The funding will be used by Farm to Table to help develop a better strategy to improve the delivery of food to small rural communities in New Mexico. The ceremony was held in El Moro to showcase the problem of food delivery to small rural communities in the state.
The $142,382 Rural Community Development Grant (RCDG) will be used by Farm to Table develop a training curriculum on cooperative development and management of food by cooperatives and stores around the state. The end result will see a better delivery of food to the smallest of communities in New Mexico.
During the presentation Brunner said, “Many people in New Mexico do not realize that the access to food in small communities is a major issue. It’s reported that one third of the counties in this state have low food access and New Mexico is the second most food insecure state in the nation.” Brunner added, “This funding from USDA will help Farm to Table work with local communities to address their food access issues.”
Farm to Table will develop guidelines to address three crucial challenges facing the delivery of food to small rural communities. The main challenges that face these communities include meat processing infrastructure, food safety and food storage/transportation.
The grant money will be used to contract professional services, including legal services to address specific needs and also on-site trainings tailored to the needs of each individual cooperative/mutually-owned business’s board of directors and management.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov.