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.
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.