Food Security Issues and Programs
The Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) is now in its thirty-first year of supporting food, land, cultures, and the people of Northern New Mexico. In this traditionally agricultural region, activities that support the local farmers, their lands, water, and production, are critical to the resiliency of our community. TCEDC’s innovative agricultural projects build on the area’s rich agricultural traditions, networks of farmers (such as the centuries old acequia/ditch associations), and the dynamic specialty foods sector.
For over 300 years, farming has been a traditional lifestyle for generation upon generation for both the Hispanic and Native American peoples inhabiting the Taos Valley. During the past decades, this self-sufficient base has eroded, due to the transition to a wage economy, dependence on tourism, and the availability of cheaper agricultural products produced elsewhere. Lands that were traditionally farmed by residents of northern New Mexico have fallen out of production. Taos County now faces endemic economic depression and stagnation due to its lack of diversification and the atrophy of its agricultural economic base. TCEDC Garden is where Garden Interns plant, cultivate, harvest, and sell produce from various projects, providing education, life skills, socialization, culture preservation and work-training opportunities to a variety of the more vulnerable of community members.
In 2018, the TCEDC re-implemented the Garden & Kitchen Youth Internship Program (with Partner Sponsor Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Foundation), intensive training for area at-risk youth between the ages of 15-21 from the Taos Pueblo and our ethnically diverse local community to learn “from seed to opening a food business”. The internship was a paid 12-week program, 20 hours per week focusing planting, harvesting, seed saving, value-added food production, and food preservation. Over the course of the 12 weeks the interns successfully completed serval major projects including repairing two greenhouses at TCEDC, maintaining their own individual plot of vegetables and flowers, making a compost pit and implementing vermiculture, and to sell weekly produce at a weekly farm-stand market as an affordable, accessible opportunity for people to buy fresh produce. Students closed the season with an “Autumn Harvest Festival” in October.
For further information please call (575) 758-8731 or email Tiana Suazo, Garden Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.