- About Us
- Our Work
- Climate Justice Alliance
- Global Well-Being
- CLIMATE JUSTICE TOOLKIT
- GGJ IN DURBAN!
- 1000 Durbans 12/3
- GGJ IN CANCUN!
- 1000 CANCUNS 12/7
- No War
- Political & Popular Education
- WSF Tunisia 2013
- WSF Dakar 2011
- GGJ CONGRESS 2011
- USSF Detroit 2010
- Membership Assembly 2010
- Get Involved
Farmers, growers, soil-tillers, and educators will be rallying at the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe tomorrow for the 1st Annual New Mexico Food and Farms Day, sponsored by the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, the Mid Region Council of Governments, and the Land, Food and Agriculture Working Group. The event will highlight legislative proposals that would benefit New Mexico growers and food entrepreneurs, highlighted by a bill (SB 80) that would bring more fresh, local produce into school lunches.
Senate Bill 80, entitled “New Mexico Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for School Meals”, is a product of the Health Kids – Healthy Economy collaboration spearheaded by Farm to Table that unites food policy groups, local growers, and educators around New Mexico. The bill would bring an additional $1.44 million in funding for the purchase of New Mexico produce for school lunches, expanding an already successful program that supports local farmers as well as promoting lifelong healthy eating habits for New Mexico youth.
The bill is being sponsored by Senator Pete Campos, representing District 8. “In these challenging economic times when a quarter of New Mexico’s children are considered food insecure, it is even more important that we meet their nutritional needs through a healthy school lunch that includes fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Senator Campos. “Investing in our school meal program to purchase New Mexico grown fresh fruits and vegetables is a win – win for children and their health as well as New Mexico’s farming families”
Proponents of SB80 believe that it will have a dramatic impact on the well being of New Mexico’s children, addressing everything from obesity to academic performance. The New Mexico Department of Health produced studies in 2006 and 2012 stating that the Healthy Kids – Healthy Economy program helps stem the rise of childhood health problems, saving the state $324 million in obesity related health care expenses and an additional $1.2 billion for diabetes. The program will also help school food service directors comply with new federal rules requiring more servings of fruits and vegetables in school meals.
“Studies have shown that for every dollar that goes to local agricultural producers, $1.80 is circulated in the local economy,” said Tim Nisly, Chief Operating Officer at the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation in Albuquerque’s South valley. “The jobs created by local food and agricultural economic development should be supported by all levels of government.”
The Healthy Kids – Healthy Economy program also serves to connect schools and communities with the cultural legacy of agriculture in New Mexico. Kids who understand where their food is coming from in school can develop lifelong habits of supporting New Mexico growers, a key component of many food policy and community groups around the state.
“Vegetables don’t come from WalMart or McDonald’s,” says Rodrigro Rodriguez, an organizer with Project Feed the Hood, a food literacy and community gardening initiative working with schools across Albuquerque. “Working with youth in school gardens, we engage them in conversations on where the food they eat really comes from, and how it helps them grow. Through the Healthy Kids – Healthy Economy program, they know exactly where their food comes from- it’s grown in New Mexico soil.”
The number of New Mexico fruit and vegetable producers selling to schools has more than doubled over the past year, expanding to over 50 growers distributing to over 35 school districts. According to the New Mexico School Nutrition Association, if every student in New Mexican schools ate two servings of New Mexico-grown produce per week, about six million dollars would go to New Mexico producers.
The 1st Annual new Mexico Food and Farms Day will be held tomorrow, Friday, January 25th, from 9 AM – 12 PM. Speakers including members of the New Mexico Legislature will be speaking on the importance of promoting local agriculture, and New Mexico-grown salads will be served.
Senator Michael Sanchez referred to water as a “sleeper issue” of this session. It’s waking up as several bills have been introduced regarding water quality, water rights, water leases and water beneficial use. Some may raise a water wonk’s eyebrow.
The meaning and purpose of proposed legislation is not always evident from the title or text, especially before analysts have worked their magic. But bill sponsors provide a clue. When corporate-friendly legislators go green, take notice. Some bills come from a dark place where money meets something it doesn’t like that a bill can fix.
Continuing in the well-worn trench of undervaluing water and overvaluing mineral resources, Senator Phil Griego has introduced another bill, SB193, to mess with membership of the Water Quality Control Board, an agency key to controlling pollution from oil and gas production. In 2011 he tried to abolish it completely. Measures to weaken water quality controls in an era of declining supply seem especially ill-advised.
So does potentially allowing companies to profit from future water shortages. There are those in New Mexico that may be attempting to do just that. Jack Loeffler describes the nature of one scheme in particular – the San Augustin Ranch LLC water rights transfer.
Several bills have been introduced that may be connected to this case. It was just killed in state court in November because the applicant didn’t state what the water would be used for – how it would be put to beneficial use. Maybe they didn’t have a buyer.
Can we fix that for ya?
On the water surface of it, Representative Nate Gentry’s bill, HB181, sounds good. It would enable leasing of water rights for stream flows. But there are curiosities – like the use of “shall” as if the State Engineer will have no choice but approval of applications. And why leased water specifically? Why now?
Connecting the dots requires squinting, but the effort could be related to a proposal involving Audubon New Mexico to use funding from US Fish and Wildlife for water transactions, including leases, for stream flows in a 105 mile stretch of the Rio Grande between Percha Dam and El Paso. (UPDATE: Apparently this particular transaction would be prohibited as a water right above Elephant Butte Dam can’t be transferred below it.)
And this could be connected to Representative Bobby Gonzales’s HB 19, similar to Senator Phil Griego’s SB188, that would allow a leased water right to constitute beneficial use of an owner’s right. Water must be put to a “beneficial use” in order for a water right to exist. The FIR is out on HB19 and it suggests this looks like ‘water speculation’ – a big no-no in Western water law. The bill might allow an applicant to transfer and retain a water right that would otherwise expire by leasing the right for another “beneficial use” – like say, for wild instance, stream flows in the lower Rio Grande. Then the water right owner could sell the water to another user after the lease expires for a much higher price.
It’s imaginative. But so are thirsty giants.
Coco has been blogging about New Mexico since 2005, with a particular interest in government and politicos.
“We’re going to work very hard to increase the minimum wage statewide.”
~Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez speaking during a Democratic party tele-townhall last night.
Earlier this week, Democratic leaders indicated at a press conference that they would introduce a package of bills early next week focused on creating jobs and improving the economy. During Sanchez’s response to Gov. Susana Martinez’s state of the state address last week, he also mentioned the minimum wage increase as well as expansion of the state’s working families tax credit, as key ways to put more dollars in the pockets of low-income New Mexicans.
Currently, New Mexico’s minimum wage is $7.50. The state’s two largest cities have higher minimum wages, both indexed to inflation. Santa Fe’s is currently $10.29, and Albuquerque just voted to increase it’s minimum wage to $8.50, to go into effect this year.
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT- Domestic Workers United ** Posted February, 2012. This is a revised version of a previous announcement ** Job title: Development Director Term: Full-time with at least 1-year commitment Salary: ,000-,000, plus benefits Application deadline: Open until Filled Background: Around the world, domestic workers are building a powerful movement for change, breaking the silence of a previously invisible workforce, and making the fundamental demand that all work be treated with justice and dignity. Domestic workers are winning important victories, including the 2011 passage of the ILO Convention on the Rights of Domestic Workers, state-level Domestic Workers’ Bills of Rights, and shifts in national labor law. While the movement addresses the legacy of slavery and the devaluation of women’s work, it simultaneously builds a new culture that highlights the interconnectedness of many movements, and that places deep value on networks of care and mutual...
Southern Organizers send President Obama a letter urging the adoption of a Southern Strategy for Reconstruction and Economic Development in the region.
Tony Menelik Van Der Meer pays tribute to the reknown community organizer, music producer,and radio journalist who among many important post was at one time Director, Caribbean Division, Radio Havana
NC State NAACP President Rev. William Barber speaks at a press conference in favor or legislation that will repeal a Jim Crow era law that prohibits public employees from bargaining collectively.
The Black Left Unity Network joins other human rights groups in condeming the Obama administration's boycott of the Durban II conference which has as its task a review of the progress that has been made on the declarations and resolutions adopted at the historic World Conference on Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
On Saturday April 4th, on the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, the Black Workers for Justice will hold its 26th Banquet in honor of Dr. King’s support for Labor. Killed while supporting striking Sanitation Workers in Memphis, Dr. King made clear to all the importance of Black Workers and the relationship of the Civil Rights Movement to the Labor Movement.
Across Virginia, poor and working people are hurting. Companies are laying off workers. Homeowners are facing foreclosures. Renters are being evicted. Pensioners are seeing their retirement funds disappear. College and university tuition is rising. Times are tough, and all the “experts” say they’re only going to get worse.
The Black Workers for Justice joins the tens of millions of people around the world who are outraged by the vicious assault by the Israeli Defense Force on the Gaza Strip.
BWFJ Solidarity Statement to SHROC-December 13, 2008
The six day plant occupation by more than 200 UE 1110 members at the Republic Windows and Doors Company in Chicago, IL, in addition to demanding that the company follow the union contract and the laws, was also a workers struggle for human rights against capital.
The Obama campaign and his election as the next US president, has helped to create a level of enthusiasm and hope among working class Blacks, people of color and sectors of the general working class that is beginning to break their apathy, cynicism and lack of confidence in challenging and changing conditions of oppression and exploitation in society.
The U.S. trade union movement finds itself today on a global battlefield filled with landmines and littered with the bodies of various social movements and struggles. Candid, incisive, and accessible, Solidarity Divided is a critical examination of labor's current crisis and a plan for a bold new way forward into the twenty-first century.