- State Fellow: Leiloni Begaye
- State Partner Supervisor: Vanessa Apodaca and Kendal Chavez
For more information, please contact Leiloni.
Why Serve in New Mexico?
If you’ve never seen the stark beauty of the New Mexican desert at sunset, or caught the aroma of precious rain falling on red earth and green chile roasting for miles around, you are missing out on an extraordinary place.
New Mexico is a unique state with a rich culture and history. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics, including descendants of Spanish colonists and recent immigrants from Latin America. It also has the second-highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska, mainly consisting of Navajo and Pueblo peoples. New Mexico has strong Hispanic and Native-American influences, which can be seen in many distinct ways, including its culinary customs.
But in addition to this rich cultural context and heritage, it also has the distinction of being ranked as the state with the highest rates of child poverty in the nation. Children in New Mexico face many obstacles to health, and those obstacles are especially high for the state’s Native American, Hispanic, and immigrant children.
FoodCorps New Mexico is dedicated to equipping their service members with the skills, knowledge and experiences to address the root causes of food injustice, while also providing hands on training and technical assistance in subjects like desert farming, school gardening, traditional foods, and community organizing.
University of New Mexico, Community Engagement Center (CEC) nurtures leadership for community capacity building in neighborhoods where the social determinants of inequity result in major health disparities. Over 800 university students, community college and high school students have apprenticed with local partners through CEC AmeriCorps programs. Through civic engagement and anti-racism training Corps Members gain an understanding of the root causes of health disparities.
Farm to Table New Mexico focuses on training, technical assistance, policy change, and market-based strategies that improve food access that benefits communities’ and children’s health by— providing linkages between NM farmers, their crops, school food programs and students —training farmers on institutional sales, food safety, and other market issues — training educators and practitioners on agriculture, health, nutrition, and culinary subjects — and, educating the public and policy makers on healthy food system change.