New Mexico, Santa Fe, Pam Roy discussed on Richard Eeds
Wanna be part of this hour. You wanna talk to our guest about food. Put them headphones on her forty four twelve sixty four to four twelve Pam Roy's here. Pam is the coordinator of the Santa Fe food policy council and also executive director of the nonprofit farm-to-table not a restaurant table. It's a it's a it's a nonprofit farm-to-table, Pimm. Thanks for coming by. Thanks so much for the invitation. Nice to meet you nice to meet you. Yeah. All right before we get to the food policy council stuff. Tell us about the nonprofit farm-to-table actually we were established more than eighteen years ago here in Santa Fe, actually as an outgrowth of work with farmers markets. So my regional work here in south even though is born and raised here was the first executive director of the farmers market here in many many years ago. Right. Fifty Elliott close almost right? He just turned fifty right? Yeah. Well, I can only a little bit later than that. And in we learned through that experience as we all know having one of the most incredible farmer's markets in the country. Right. Exactly the best and a happy to be so much a part of that too. Over the years is there is there is a real need for us. Really connect where food comes from especially our local production. Our local farmers with those of us who love to eat and those who are in need and need access to food. And so that introduction also brought us to working on policy work. There is a perennial program called the women infant children farmers market nutrition program way, back then we went to the legislature requesting some matching funds to get this program to New Mexico for our farmers markets and for women and children. You got the matching funds. Didn't do we did. But it was our first entree to policies so firmed table as a nonprofit was started to do through three things. One was to carry on through this broadening opportunities for firmers and ranchers to find markets, right? New mexico. Connecting to local grocery store. Doors to farmers markets, and then to actually build out what's called farm to school in New Mexico. And now we have a farm school program in New Mexico public education department in partnership with department agriculture took eighteen years of that in the third component is that policy piece, which is sometimes a funny p forever ready to work with, but it's really about people partnerships, and and then how policy is very much embedded in everything that we do. So we started the statewide New Mexico food and agriculture policy council, and then a few years later started the Santa Fe food policy council. It's the city and county appointed group and how many members were thirteen members here in Santa Fe and our statewide one is an open membership. And again, the idea is creating a relationship across food and farming health environment, economic development and those who need. Right. Exactly and the partnerships between agencies that actually provide programs and who are. Basically required to fall of various policies and laws and those of us who are nonprofits who can advocate and an individuals in the community who had worked together collectively around food and agriculture farming initiatives. Right. So it's a big project. And there are there's a lot more to it than initially. I thought we'd been doing this. I don't know for six eight ten months something like that doing a once a month talking about this because it's really important a lot of people in Santa Fe. I mean, you, and I probably know what we're going to have for dinner tonight, or we will have dinner tonight. A lot of people in Santa Fe scratching their heads all day long going. You know, how am I going to feed the kids or what are we gonna do? You know, how are we going to stretch the budget out? But you do a lot more stuff. It's like the haves and the have nots also extends to people who have land, but are aging out of farming it to finding young people who don't have land. But when a farm or people who have a farm, but don't have the combine the tractor to people that have that kind of matching people up to produce. Food. That's right. Which is fantastic. In one of the things we wanna make sure and what I love about this work with the saffy who policy council is we're looking both how the relationship between the city and the county, and of course, our county. And and I know Aaron or two goes was on the show and talked about the county aggregate idea of really. And what's so important? Is that the county and city are so committed to making sure we don't lose what we have when it comes to agriculture to production of food in our in our county and the city, and then what it means to our local economy and would means to health for our community. And so so we're putting in place and through policy and programs ways to. Structure and in protect in agriculture and in this region. So what would be a threat? What would be a reason that we'd lose some of that agriculture? Would it be? Land that is currently under being used things are being grown or sitting foul for the time being but could be brought back into production being used for other for housing or tracks or things like that. That's right. Richard. Exactly. And so so many communities across the country are really faced with this. Oh, you go up to over Phoenix. You go north of Denver Fort Collins. And if you head over to ESTES park, you see all that farm land that has been plowed under and it's just track after track after track to pagosa springs to see the same thing. That's right. If you think about where food comes from so in New Mexico. We agriculture is our fourth largest economic sector. So it's big for us in New Mexico over ten billion dollars in the sense of not just agriculture, but food-processing over four thousand jobs, and but ninety seven to ninety eight percent of everything we produce a New Mexico's exported out of the state and a lotta that actually some of it goes out of the country. So dairy is the first thing that's our number one, and that's number one revenue producer in in agriculture, the world's largest cheese factories over in Clovis new. That's right. Exactly. Right and top secret. You can't go in. Right. And there's reasons for that is so right. And then Secondly is is cons cons have become big big industry in New Mexico's second largest and again almost all of that is exported exported to New Mexico's second largest pecan producing state in the United States. Most of our pecans go to China and Europe. We've got to be way behind California right now. Georgia georgia. Yes. In California when it comes to Picasso. Yeah. And they do a lot more impetus shows so yes. So there's so we have these various things that are actually leave our state now, it's important is still important to our local economy. Right. And yet at the same time we have every opportunity to keep building out agricultural within state and your point the more. We can do to. Managed growth. Within cities counties and NC agriculture's an important aspect of our economy and our local food system, then we're more likely to really train take care of our arable land land that we can put in production. But you know, the the limiting factor there is of course, water. Exactly. Oh my gosh. She would just reading my mind because of course, as we've seen one of the driest years on record here in New Mexico, and yet our farmers manage water, very they're very efficient measuring water and become well, that's a good point. Right. Well, you're right. So the most water efficient crop on the planet. Exactly. That in Alfalfa's being the other large crop, which is really. A lot of the dairy. Right. They are the largest water users of agricultural crops in the state. But when we look at northern New Mexico CFE county and the agricultural we have even north to south is very different. We've got farmers managers who are really focused on mitigating their water. This larger use of water in a sense. And a lot of farmers use. What we call season extension, drip, irrigation high tunnels, which are covering crops. And and really, you know, protecting protecting the water that you're using as well where are they getting that technology are they getting it from our State Department of agriculture USDA or community colleges or New Mexico state? I mean where the where they learning about it. And then where's the funding being made available for them to do that great question in? So yes, exactly all of the above all in certainly a cooperative extension service. We have a great extension service here in Santa Fe county. Anna cross the state, they help farmers really learn, and there's a lot of programs Mexico farmers marketing association has paired up with coop extension moti needed coop to provide food, safety and traceability trainings for farmers. So that they are ready with their crops, and they know how to box and and distribute food safely to things like schools institutionally. So there's some fabulous public sector nonprofit and business partnerships that are working together. And to your point where to some of the funding come there's incredible funding through the farm Bill federal USDA funding. And so some of these initiatives are being covered by federal funding in that sense. Farmers can apply for was called value added producer grants. Great example is really amazing two brothers, silver blasts, and it's called silver leaf firms and corrals. Just down the road from us. They have ten thousand square feet under what would be called like like cold frames or or, but it's heated greenhouse we now size ten thousand square feet. They do aqua panics agriculture or so everything's water. And they're growing the most beautiful lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes selling to schools restaurants, farmers markets, and there's other producers like that. But they actually got a USC value added producer grant to help them actually build out their business and get the kind of training resource, not alone. Right. Right. Correct. Is grant, but they had to put up a cost is a cost share to put up a portion the cost, but there's programs like that as a lot of them, and as part of our work as we policy councils to help our community understand those programs. I mean, that's the neat thing about that. You do the lot more than just, you know, make sure that the food desert. Desert's that you know, people are provided food and all that he could do an awful lot more be back with Pam, ROY. They listen to you want to jump into the conversation. Ask questions comments anything like that? Provide support.