For Immediate Release: October 23, 2018
New Mexico Partners with the US Department of Agriculture to Celebrate its Commitment to Ensuring all Children Have Access to Nutritious Meals
NMPED Recognizes National School Lunch Week, and New Mexico Farm to School Month & School Nutrition Month.
Albuquerque, N.M. –The New Mexico Public Education Department is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services SW Regional Office to celebrate National School Lunch Week and New Mexico Farm to School Month & School Nutrition Month. Officials joined students and staff at Edmund G. Ross Elementary School in Albuquerque to learn more about their commitment to ensuring students have access to healthy schools meals.
“We know that when our students feel better, they do better – that’s why we are continuing to invest in programs that will allow our students access to nutritious meals,” said Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. “I am extremely proud of the students and staff in schools across New Mexico that are dedicated to purchasing, preparing, and providing those meals for our children.”
New Mexico is investing in programs like New Mexico Farm to School that provide grant funding to districts so they can build partnerships with local farms and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for students. This year, the state is investing nearly half a million dollars into the program and Albuquerque Public Schools was awarded nearly $70,000 for local purchasing in the 2018-2019 school year.
Last week, members of NMPED and the USDA helped serve lunches to students at Edmund G. Ross Elementary School. They served the fiesta rice bowl – a dish of New Mexico-grown produce and food products like red chile and tortillas from Foods of New Mexico, alongside the New Mexico Gator Plum, a variety of plum grown in Velarde, N.M.
“Offering a variety of New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables this fall has been a big hit with students. To date, we’ve offered melons, peaches, tomatoes, pears, and a variety of plums in our lunches. Farm to school is a win-win for our district and we hope to continue expanding our program over time with support from state agency partners and local farmers,” said Sandy Kemp, Executive Director of Albuquerque Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services (FANS).
The National School Lunch Program feeds 338,000 students every day in New Mexico.