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First Ever Native American Food Hub Created in New Mexico

Posted by Ernie Watson, USDA Rural Development Public Information Coordinator in Food and Nutrition Farming Rural
Feb 21, 2017
  USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner (center) presents a certificate of obligation to the Ten Southern Pueblo Council Governors and representatives during ceremonies to celebrate the successful application of funds creating the first ever Native American Food Hub in the nation. (USDA Photo)
USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner (center) presents a certificate of obligation to the Ten Southern Pueblo Council Governors and representatives during ceremonies to celebrate the successful application of funds creating the first ever Native American Food Hub in the nation. (USDA Photo)

The air was crisp and cold as the wind blew across Sandia Pueblo in mid-December.  But, the atmosphere among the Ten Southern Pueblo Governor’s Council was warm and jovial.

Why? Because, the Governors were celebrating the obligation of a USDA Rural Development funded study that creates the first ever Native American Food Hub in the nation.

For hundreds of years the residents of the Pueblos in New Mexico have farmed the land to provide the food they ate.  Today, the Native farmers continue to grow corn, squash, beans and other produce for their own consumption.  But often they have abundance of food at the end of every growing season. This successful farming can be a problem because the farmers do not have a mechanism to deliver excess produce to market or those in need.  Food hubs offer a model to provide infrastructure support to farmers usually through a central location where food can be processed and distributed.

The Ten Southern Pueblos Council contracted with the Acoma Business Enterprises to serve as the fiscal manager and apply for a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) through USDA. The RBEG financial support is funding a study to determine how best to manage the distribution of food produced by native growers through a food hub concept.  Work has begun to identify farmers and their needs to market and deliver the food to a central distribution point.  Once the data is collected a plan will be implemented in 2014 to make sure the food is provided to the residents of the ten Pueblos and to others needing fresh, healthy produce for their diet.  As well, the Pueblos hope that a successful food hub offers more sustainability to native farmers who wish to make a living through farming.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition Farming Rural

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Comments

Bobbie Jo Henry
Dec 30, 2013

Great news! Please keep readers informed as to status of this project. I believe it could work across Indian Country, if the word gets out. Thanks.

Dale Carson
Jan 03, 2014

Great idea! I write about food for Indian Country and
would be happy to spread the word. Please keep info
coming.

Ben Weaver
Jan 10, 2014

Hi Bobbie/Dale: thanks for your comments. When the project is underway, we will do another story on it and will provide more information via another blog on how it is working and how others can emulate the same type of food hub system.

Thanks, Ernie Watson, Rural Development

Gail Buckley Crane
Apr 02, 2018

Has there been any recent activity around the Native American Food Hub in New Mexico?