Farm to School site visit held at Bernalillo Middle School Oct. 24

Bernalillo – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) hosted a Farm to School site visit at Bernalillo Middle School Thursday morning in celebration of National Farm to School Month.

The site visit demonstrated NMDA and NMPED’s continuous collaborative efforts to:

  • Expand Farm to School programs across New Mexico school districts in order to increase demand for local foods through the New Mexico Grown Local Produce Grant.
  • Invest in future farmers and ranchers through the Agriculture Education Grant.

Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte attended the site visit, observing the Farm to School process first-hand during a tour of the school’s garden and cafeteria. Members of the Bernalillo Middle School Agriculture Education Program and Bernalillo Public Schools Student Nutrition Program provided insight on their continuous work with Sandoval County farmers in bringing locally-sourced foods to school cafeterias.

“We know that students who eat healthy and balanced meals perform better academically,” Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “We are excited about collaborating with the Department of Agriculture to expand Farm to School programs across the state. This is an opportunity to set our students up for success by teaching them about agriculture, nutrition, and being responsible stewards of New Mexico’s natural resources.”

The site visit also included the official kick-off for the Taste the Tradition, Don’t Waste It food waste initiative developed in conjunction with the inter-agency partnership between NMDA and NMPED. The initiative aims to promote the reduction of food waste in New Mexico school cafeterias.

“Food waste is an issue that impacts the environment and level of food security in U.S. households every day,” said Witte. “That is why NMDA is proud to partner with the Public Education Department in developing a campaign to raise awareness of this issue in public school cafeterias across our state.”

For more information about Farm to School, visit https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/student-success-wellness/nutrition/farm-to-school/.

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students and adults standing near garden
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and New Mexico Public Education Department hosted a Farm to School site visit at Bernalillo Middle School Oct. 24 in celebration of National Farm to School Month. The visit included a tour of the school’s garden. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Public Education Department)
Two men standing near poster
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and New Mexico Public Education Department hosted a Farm to School site visit at Bernalillo Middle School Oct. 24 in celebration of National Farm to School Month. Bernalillo Public Schools Food Service Director Dean Gallegos and Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte stand near the “Taste the Tradition, Don’t Waste It” food waste initiative poster. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Public Education Department)
Man serving vegetables onto his plate in cafeteria
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture and New Mexico Public Education Department hosted a Farm to School site visit at Bernalillo Middle School Oct. 24 in celebration of National Farm to School Month. Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte served himself lunch in the cafeteria. (Photo courtesy New Mexico Public Education Department)