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Agriculture Collaborative
April Newsletter

Welcome to the Ag. Collaborative's April Newsletter! Thanks so much to all who attended our Monthly Meeting, this time hosted at The Mixing Bowl Community Kitchen. To find out about some exciting opportunities and events, and to see what all the buzz is about with the Mixing Bowl, read on! If you happen to have your own exciting stories or events you would like to share, send them in to localfoodnm@mrcog-nm.gov and we would love to include your event in our local food calendar, or try and feature your story in our next Newsletter.

Big Plans for the Mixing Bowl Kitchen



All the right ingredients for starting a food business can be found at the Mixing Bowl Kitchen. Located within the SVEDC at 318 Isleta Blvd SW Albuquerque. The 3200 sq ft commercial kitchen has been the birthplace of numerous food businesses since 2005.

The Mixing Bowl  helps budding food entrepreneurs as well as other community kitchens across the state of New Mexico. Information on how to navigate the regulatory process, educational resources for business planning, and peer to peer network support are all a part of what they do.

Ernie Rivera, Kitchen Manager, has a vision for the future of New Mexico's community kitchens. Cooperation is the name of the game, and he is bringing local food experts around the table to form an advisory board for his organization. The goal of the board is to effectively understand what is in high demand within the local food market, and then connect that demand with a local producer (value-added or not). "Its probably not going to be your Grandma's salsa recipe" Ernie says as he explains what kinds of food could really take off in the state, "but a local granola isn't really being done, and that would fly off the shelves".

The Mixing Bowl sees the undeniable trend and shift towards local food. "As we look for ways to be more self-sustainable, the food system is a huge part of economic growth, it is the foundation!" Ernie has worked in the food business in New Mexico his entire life, he sees first hand that the spirit to become an entrepreneur is strong here. He also sees many food businesses start up, then close within the year. The Mixing Bowl wants to give start-ups the resources, knowledge, and networks that it takes to get them to the next stage.

Down the road, the role of the Mixing Bowl will be:

  • A hub of connections, innovative ideas, and of inspiration. They already have the ball rolling on this with their bi-weekly video conference calls and consistent food fiestas and workshops (see below).
  • They want to be a cheerleader and guide for innovators to come out and test their ideas in the market.
  • Finally, they are one of the organizations striving to create new paradigms for success, they are actively creating the infrastructure and networks for tomorrow's local food systems.


If you like the stuff going on around the Mixing Bowl, here's a taste of their upcoming events!

The April 17th Statewide Kitchen Workshop
Attendees will include active Community Kitchens from Espanola, Taos, Gallup and Silver City will be attending. Other community kitchens that are in the pre-startup phase include; Las Vegas, El Morro, Anton Chico, Ribera, Raton, Edgewood and Lordsburg. The day long conference will provide opportunities for community kitchens to learn how to provide all the right ingredients and inspire the startup of rural food business across the state using the Mixing Bowl model. Additionally NMSU Arrowhead Center has put together a great agenda for the afternoon of session. Pre Start up kitchens will be learning about the business planning side of starting and operating a community kitchen.

Bi-Weekly Video Conference Calls between kitchen statewide are happening. The calls are designed to share successes and challenges between community kitchens statewide.

Chile Fiesta 2015 The Mixing Bowl supports a  thriving food business community, providing growth opportunities and a path to success for entrepreneurs in 2014 the Mixing Bowl in partnership with the SVEDC, South Valley Mainstreet with the support of Bernallilo county held the first ever Chile Fiesta. This years event will be held on August 29 at Gateway Park on Bridge and Isleta. The Chile Fiesta promises to become international in size in the future. Community support was very strong the first year

7th Annual  U.N.M. Sustainability Expo



Come celebrate Earth Day at the University of New Mexico’s 7th Annual Sustainability Expo. The event will be held on Cornell Mall — just east of the Student Union Building — on Tuesday, April 21st from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Everyone is invited to join in the Earth Day-inspired festivities.

The Expo offers an opportunity to interact with sustainability-minded organizations at a variety of engaging displays and activities. There will be a growers’ market, food trucks, live entertainment, an arts & crafts fair, bicycle auction, and much more! Learn about sustainable initiatives on campus and in the community, grab lunch, connect with potential employers, meet local farmers, and enjoy the fun, energetic atmosphere.

Learn More

 

Job Announcement:
Rio Grande Community Farm



Title: Community Garden Coordinator 
Organization: Rio Grande Community Farm
Deadline for Application: April 20, 2015


The Rio Grande Community Farm (RGCF) is a non-profit urban farm dedicated to organic farming and community gardening, education, wildlife habitat, and farming traditions.

Under the direction of the Farm Manager, the Community Garden Coordinator plans, and manages the activities of the Community Garden at RGCF.  This person will be responsible for coordination of all Community Garden activities.  Classes, workshops, irrigation, and supervision and direction of Community Garden Members. This position actively seeks community involvement in the garden space and will be responsible for outreach.
View Full Job Description
If the new job opening down at the Rio Grande Community Farm is not for you, then maybe some of the Farm's Workshops would be of interest!
Photo courtesy of Sharlynn Lee

Seeding the Youth: UNM Student Seeking Volunteer Speakers!



UNM Student Sharlynn Lee will be conducting a week-long after school project at Van Buren Middle School during the second week of May and is seeking volunteer speakers to inspire the children about their culture and local food.
 
Seeding the Youth is focused on displaying the important connection between culture and food. In today's society, as consumers, we rely on large corporations that produce foods from a mainstream planting technique that involves pesticides, technology and large amounts of water. Due this change in the farming industry, many people have forgotten the about the array of cultures in which unique planting technique have derived from and their importance. In order to teach students at Van Buren Middle School about the important part culture plays in the survival of food we are looking for speakers who can share their personal experience. Whether you participate in a community farm, run your own farm, have interest in culture and food, cook cultural foods, or an agrarian we would love to hear your story.

(Photo courtesy of Sharlynn Lee)
 
Contact Sharlynn Lee to Volunteer

USDA Grants:
Rural Business Development Grant 




USDA-Rural Development is accepting applications for a new program, Rural Business Development Program. This program consolidates the Rural Business Enterprise Grant and the Rural Business Opportunity Grant. 
 
Eligible Applicants are: 
  • Public bodies/governmental entities including states, counties, cities, authorities, districts, and education institutions;
  • Non-profit organizations;
  • Federally recognized tribal groups
Grant projects will include business opportunity and business enterprise projects that serve rural areas.  Applicants are encouraged to consult with Rural Development staff well in advance of filing an application.
Visit USDA Official Page for More Info.

 

Local Food in the Legislature



  • New Mexico Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals: $364,300 recurring towards school purchases of New Mexico grown fresh fruits and vegetables for school meals serving students statewide.
  • Double Up Food Bucks for Farmers Markets: $400,000 recurring recommended for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP) participants to stretch their food dollars at 32 New Mexico farmers markets that process SNAP transactions.
  • Voice your opinion! Contact Governor Susanna Martinez and urge her to sign these important measures!        

Check Out this Months Local Food Events on our Local Food Calender!!



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