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New Mexico summit takes regional approach to local food

Annual conference goes online; cook-off is in person
One of the events in last year’s Northwest New Mexico Food Summit included a food cook-off.

FARMINGTON – The third annual Northwest New Mexico Local Food Summit promises to dish out local food news again this year, but in a virtual space.

To ensure the safety of community members, the group will hold a conference online from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 10.

The cook-off will continue in-person at the Farmington Growers Market from 10 a.m. to noon July 11. That event will also be livestreamed on the Buy Fresh Buy Local Facebook page.

The conference will focus on community health, adding local food to food service programs, and supporting and engaging local farmers and students who are interested in getting involved in the local food community.

Speakers represent a regional approach to expanding local food access, including members of Montezuma County’s School to Farm Project, a doctor from Indian Health Services, president of the Northwest New Mexico Arts Council, New Mexico State University faculty and New Mexico Public Education Department’s Farm to School coordinator.

The summit comes at a time when more people are searching out local food providers and buying directly from farmers. Elders Greenhouse and Gardens in Aztec hopes to open a roadside stand this summer.

Durango has seen a rise in popularity of Community Supported Agriculture systems, which offer memberships that include a box of locally grown seasonal produce.

The event is organized by the local chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local Northwest New Mexico, previously known as the Local Food Task Force. The group of community members and organizations was created in 2018 when it was realized there was a gap in regional coordination and communication focused on local food.

Since then, the group has worked to build up local food systems and increase independent farms. It developed the community action plan to promote local farmers and encourage residents and businesses to buy locally and directly.

Its website also has a searchable database of ranches, greenhouses, mushroom suppliers, lavender farms and wineries.

Participants can register for the local food summit online with a $10 optional donation or for free with a pledge to volunteer for a local agricultural nonprofit in August.

lweber@durangoherald.com

An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect credit for the photo. The photo was taken by The Daily Times (Farmington).

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