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Dreaming New Mexico. An age of local foodsheds and a fair trade state

Michael H. Shuman, 2009

To download : PDF (10 MiB)

Summary :

A central element of the Dreaming New Mexico project is to help build a far more self-reliant local food system including a community-based, restoration economy that:

  • Strengthens the vitality of the environmental and social fabric of the state and region

  • Builds local prosperity, creates good jobs and locally owned businesses

  • Places a central emphasis on providing food security while honoring vital cultural traditions and bio-cultural diversity

Why are local food systems important?

The Governor’s Climate Change Advisory group report issued in December 2006 sought to address carbon emissions from agriculture by setting a goal of 25% locally produced and consumed food by 2020. We will examine a multiplicity of strategies to help understand how to achieve that goal, help evolve the dream, map the moving parts and gaps as well as strengths, and help facilitate the networks that can realize such a food system.

New Mexico is third in the nation in “food insecurity” and fifth in hunger. Over 300,000 New Mexicans experience food insecurity and/or hunger. Only 6 states have a higher poverty rate than New Mexico. Hunger and poverty have a disproportionately negative impact on indigenous and rural communities in New Mexico.

What our research addresses:

Areas of focus for the food systems work include: local food economy, preservation of bio-cultural diversity, ecological agriculture, food access, preservation of farmland, and stewardship of water. The “uniting enemies” or issues around which to organize the work are: food insecurity, global warming, hunger, loss of farmland and farmers, loss of vital cultural traditions and foods, genetic engineering, and exploitive land and water policies - all issues that have enormous impact on local communities,

The food systems aspect of this initiative focuses on the questions:

What would a sustainable, just, and more self-reliant and localized food system look like - one that fosters a sustainable economic base that provides for our grandchildren, honors the land, and supports vital bio-cultural traditions and the diversity of people and place?

How do we create pathways to realize that vision?