Regarding NM HB204: Healthy Soil Act
I am seriously concerned about food scarcity for young people in Valencia County. As a long-time member of the community garden we have always promoted family gardening. However, many county families really don’t have the time and resources to grow even a little food in the summer. We have tried to support the East Valencia Urban Garden Project sponsored by VSWCD at Meadow Lake and El Cerro Mission, and those gardens are starting to supply some fresh food for the area residents.
New Mexico HB204, now in the legislature, would give that program a boost. If you followed the crowd-funding project sponsored by Laura Bittner from the County Extension Office, you would know that she only reached about 65% of her $15,500 goal to supply weekend food sacks to Century High School Students. I recently talked to Diana Good, the Valencia County State Health officer, and I was amazed to learn that the school lunch programs in the summer often rely on volunteers to deliver lunches to the “food deserts” in our county.
I have talked to Ron Moya in Adelino who is growing commercial organic vegetables on his small farm. HB204 would certainly help him get financing. And last, I have listened to Newt McCarty of the County Extension Office and Ron talk about building a food hub in our county so that locally grown food could be sold and distributed locally to community centers, schools and other agencies. We would have more locally-grown food available to our disadvantaged citizens.
The food we try to grow in our county will only be as good as the soil. Alfalfa and corn drastically deplete the nutrients in the soil so it is amended with chemicals, and then the crop is given to animals. Our county needs food for people locally grown without pesticides and herbicides. Look at all the bare fields, abandoned plots, and over-grazed acreage along Hwy 47. There are methods now being used to bring back that soil . . . to grow food, but it takes support and training. HB204 could provide that.
Details of HB204 https://www.legiscan.com/NM/bill/HB204/2019
Joyce Johns, Valencia Community Gardens, outreach
Regarding HB204: adapted from Jan. 24, 2019 email Joyce sent to State Representative Kelly Fajardo