Home News Local News State honors local schools for supporting ‘NM Grown’

State honors local schools for supporting ‘NM Grown’

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Chaves County schools were honored at a statewide New Mexico Grown recognition program for connecting students to locally grown food, efforts that strengthen New Mexico’s farming economy and increase access to healthy food. The state recognized Roswell Independent School District and Dexter Consolidated Schools at a virtual celebration.

The NM Grown awards program honors 19 school districts, senior centers and preschools in a four-tiered recognition program — Seed, Sprout, Blossom And Golden Chile — designed to acknowledge levels of involvement in New Mexico’s local food movement.

“We are so proud of our local schools and all they do to support students’ well-being,” said Paula Camp and Becky Joyce, coordinators of Healthy Kids Chaves County, an obesity-prevention program that supports schools in prioritizing local food and increasing opportunities to eat healthy food and be physically active.

RISD and Albuquerque Public Schools both received the Blossom award, the highest that any school district achieved in the first year of an expanded awards program that recognizes those who link local farmers to institutions.

Roswell’s award reflects their commitment to buy NM Grown food for school meals, serve produce from the schools’ edible gardens, engage staff, school and community leaders in NM Grown programming, and provide gardening activities and nutrition education to students.

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“We are honored to receive this award,” said Kim Meeks, food services director for RISD. “NM Grown is a great program. It gives the students a chance to eat fresh produce because of our partnership with Graves Farms and Nichols Farms. We could not do all that we do with this program without Healthy Kids’ help. The kitchen staff do a wonderful job preparing all of the fresh produce. The principals and teachers help the students plant and take care of the gardens. It takes all of us to make this program a success.”

Dexter Consolidated Schools received a Sprout award for such activities as promoting and offering NM Grown items in meals, taste tests and other activities, integrating Hispanic cultural practices and traditions in NM Grown programming, engaging community leaders and participating in NM Grown professional development.

“Dexter Schools is proud to be part of NM Grown,” said Shelley Montgomery, Dexter’s food services director. “NM Grown is more than a program; it builds relationships with all the stakeholders including the farmers, Graves Farm and Gardens, teachers and principals, Paula Camp and Becky Joyce from Healthy Kids Chaves Co., Public Education Department, and my staff that prepare the produce.

“Without these folks, there would be no NM Grown. With the help of NM Grown, we are able to provide our students with great tasting and healthy locally grown produce. Not to mention that the students love the activities such as the fruit tasting and the other activities we do.”

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