by Mark Uchanski, Board Member
End #6: The Co-op defines local for Las Cruces and the region
Mountain View Market Co-op Policy Ends
- The community benefits from outreach, support, and education.
- The Co-op provides information and access to healthy food and health products.
- The Co-op models sustainable living.
- The Co-op reflects inclusivity and diversity.
- The Co-op is a viable alternative economic model based on cooperative principles and values.
- The Co-op supports local and regional production and encourages a diverse food system.
When asked to write a newsletter article in a series about our ends, I was excited to choose #6, which addresses our local and regional food system. My hope in contributing to this series of articles is to bring our shared Co-op “ends” to life. In case you are wondering, our ends are a list of six “end results” we would like to see for our store and community. Some are really ambitious, but I am proud to say we are doing tangible things to address all of them! To me, that is what the Co-op is all about.
Let’s start with some food definitions we use at the store:
Local: Grown or produced within a 300 mile radius of Las Cruces.
Regional: Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and parts of New Mexico that are not within the 300 miles radius.
If we buy from the local and regional food producers, and you buy at the store, those same local and regional economies benefit.
There are many diverse production areas in the Mesilla Valley and beyond into the state. Think about it: In New Mexico, we can grown pomegranates, figs, pears, apples, pistachios, pecans, chile peppers, onions, berries, dozens of vegetables, meat and eggs, dairy products, native and traditional foods, and maybe even some citrus. It is great to walk into the store and be able to buy an heirloom apple from a tree that might be 100 years old. That immediately ties you into the history of our region. Did you know that New Mexico was a large national producer of apples in the early 1900s?
In 2014, your member-owned store purchased food from more than 100 local producers including products like meat, eggs, produce and more. Recently, the coop became involved in a USDA Farm to School grant through a partnership with La Semilla Food Center. As result, MVM helped aggregate and distribute more than 2,500 pounds of local produce to four Las Cruces Public Schools in September and October. We are on track to deliver another 1,000 pounds of local beets, carrots, and spinach later this spring in March and April.
Our local food system is truly diverse and continuing to grow with your support of the coop. See you there!
Mountain View Market Board of Directors