By Kent Paterson
On a simple plywood board, the vision of Las Cruces began to take shape. Gathered on the southern New Mexico city’s downtown mall for a recent fall evening, impromptu artists dropped lentils, black beans and pumpkin and sunflower seeds into a mural-like sun design bearing a message: “Las Cruces Urban Agriculture.”
The community-created artwork was among numerous activities at what was billed as the first annual farm-to-school festivity in New Mexico’s second largest city. Drawing participants of all ages, the event offered seed art, pumpkin painting, food trucks, local brews, tastings of locally grown food, an outdoor movie on urban farming, and animal exhibits for the young ones.
The purpose of the celebration was “to showcase, to educate and to outreach” with the public about the possibilities of bringing the farm to the city and its schools, said Krysten Aguilar, food planning and policy coordinator for the non-profit La Semilla Food Center. “We’re working on this urban agriculture here in Las Cruces, to grow and support transitioning growing food in the city.”