Taking Control of El Paso Del Norte’s Food Destiny

From foodtank.com, by Sarah Small
Taking Control of El Paso Del Norte’s Food Destiny

La Semilla Food Center is an environmental and community health focused organization located in the Paso del Norte region of southern New Mexico and El Paso Texas. La Semilla works to build a better food system in their community by partnering with youth and families to build awareness about food issues and to help provide improved food access. La Semilla’s programs are expanding across the region to increase community interest and discussion.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Rebecca Munoz, Development Specialist at La Semilla Food Center.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Rebecca Munoz (RM): Our community has the wisdom and ability to determine our food destiny. It is up to us to create a food system based on our values, which favor locally grown food, community involvement, reinforced cultural food traditions, and ensure safe, healthy, and affordable food for everyone. This is who La Semilla is and what we do. We develop food system leaders; educate and work to improve food access; and celebrate our food, community, and heritage.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

RM: We are most proud of the semillas (seeds) that La Semilla has planted throughout our region and that are now beginning to sprout -- from municipalities expanding community garden opportunities and public policy initiatives, to local foundations leading good food discussion and forums, to an explosion of interest in backyard gardens and healthy cooking to area farmers' markets all accepting EBT and now piloting Double Up Food Bucks programs. We are thrilled to see the external expansion of this important work in our region and also incredibly proud of our educational programs and program staff who daily and relentlessly help improve the lives of children, youth, and families in our region!

FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?

RM: There are two primary goals we are focusing on this year and beyond. First, to implement a community education program that vastly expands opportunities for families to learn about gardening, healthy cooking, and our food system. Second, to increase food production at La Semilla Community Farm and test strategies aimed at ensuring families in the many underdeveloped colonia communities in our region will have access to fresh and healthy produce at affordable costs.

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

RM: The most important thing is to plant a seed, whether it is a real or a metaphorical seed (such as, inspiring someone else to plant a seed).

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

RM: We have a number of ways for individuals to become more involved -- through volunteer work days and long-term opportunities; donating resources, services, or money; or simply keeping up to date through social media or listserv emails. Visit our website to find out more and to sign up for our listservs.

Download the 2014 Good Food Org Guide HERE.

Submit your suggestions for the 2015 guide HERE.

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