Spotlight Non-profit: Teaching a new generation the art of farming

LatinaLista — Rising food prices and rampant childhood obesity are two factors fueling a national surge in local communities exploring the idea of establishing community gardens.

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Yet for one group, the idea digs much deeper. La Semilla Food Center‘s tagline is “building a local foodshed.” The nonprofit serves the Paso del Norte region of southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

The goal of the group is to build a “healthy, self-reliant, and sustainable food system” by training young people in the art of farming, or as the web site likes to refer to it — “local food system development.”

Either way, the nonprofit is intent on teaching young people the connection between food, health and economics. To accomplish that goal, the organization received a generous contribution of 15 acres of farmland north of Anthony, New Mexico.

We have started planning a three-part food systems education program that will run annually at the farm. the intent of the raices de tradicion, youth farm leadership corps, and food enterprise apprenticeship programs is to engage young people in farm education, nutrition and health activities, small-scale approaches to arid land farming, and provide agricultural-based business training.

In addition, the group intends on making fresh produce available to low-income residents, as well as, help create economic opportunities for them, improve economic opportunities for farmers with limited resources and get more children to eat fresh produce by targeting homes, schools and other types of cafeteria settings.

In the end, it’s all about community, health and the environment and teaching young people what most city dwellers have forgotten — “everything is connected.”

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