Cindy Long, Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and Regional FNS leadership visited New Mexico last month to recognize several FNS nutrition assistance programs in action and learn how FNS can support their work. Advancing nutrition security is a key priority of the Biden-Harris Administration, so we are excited to be working with local partners to promote the overall importance of child nutrition. New Mexico is one of the first States to offer healthy meals to all children, ensuring more kids have access to the meals they need to thrive at school and beyond.
The first stop of Administrator Long’s visit was at the Isleta Pueblo WIC Clinic in Albuquerque to discuss the importance of WIC programming on tribal land. WIC, a federally funded supplemental food program, provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, healthy foods and referrals to health care and other community services for low-income pregnant and post-partum women, and infants and children up to age five. FNS is committed to building and maintaining relationships with tribal nations and supporting the needs of Indigenous families.
Later, the group visited Bernalillo Public School’s Bernalillo Middle School for a tour and observed a from-scratch lunch being served, using whole, fresh ingredients providing students with the nutrition they need for educational success, health, and wellbeing. The meal included beef sourced from New Mexico ranchers. Starting next school year every child will have access to a healthy no-cost meal at school ensuring the benefits of school meals are shared by all students. This is one of FNS’ top priorities coming out of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. FNS is doing everything possible to support healthy school meals for all, including a proposed rule that would make it easier for more schools to offer breakfast and lunch each school day at no cost to all students.
Finally, the group visited One Generation’s Indigenous Farm Hub in Corrales to learn how they are revitalizing Indigenous farming practices and food systems, as well as supporting USDA’s Farm to School program. The Indigenous Farm Hub engages Indigenous communities in creating a network of farmers and families that strengthens local and sustainable food systems by providing access to healthy foods, builds prosperity for farmers and local communities through land reclamation, and reconnects the bond between language and culture to Indigenous practices of agriculture.
USDA is committed to working in tandem with partners to ensure children and families have the tools they need to lead healthy lives and thrive.