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Public Health New Mexico

Two Native Food Systems Programs In New Mexico Awarded Grants

Nambe Pueblo.jpg

Nambe Pueblo and Taos County Economic Development Corporation are two of ten organizations nationally that have received funding for Native food-systems projects. The projects could bolster economic development while combating food insecurity, health and nutrition disparities in tribal communities.

Recent statistics from the New Mexico Department of health show significantly more Native American children experience childhood obesity than any other racial or ethnic group in the state. According to figures from 2008, nationally, around 23% of Native American households faced food shortages.

This week, grants of about $375,000 from First Nations Development Institute in Colorado were awarded to Taos County Economic Development Corporation to coordinate the Native Food Sovereignty Alliance - which will work to analyze, develop and influence food policy at the tribal, state and federal levels. The second award will go to Nambe Pueblo.

"In previous years we gave [Nambe Pueblo] a grant to launch a small scale community farm where goods were used for meals on wheels programs for seniors and also for meals at the senior center," says First Nations Developments Raymond Foxworth. "This year, they're also going to expand their program and build out their community farm and look at the extent to which they can make their community farm into a profitable business."

Foxworth says when communities look at food systems as an asset, they can begin to understand how to use that asset to improve the health and wellbeing of tribal citizens, while creating economically sustainable nations.