New Crop of Young Farmers Strengthens Silver City Farmers’ Market
According the USDA, "The average age of the principle farm operator has increased... from 50.3 in 1978 to 57.1 in 2007". While this trend of aging farmers does not bode well for the future of agriculture, the Silver City area appears to be bucking this trend.
The Silver City Farmers Market has recently benefitted from an influx of younger farmers who are dedicating themselves to growing food. As highlighted in the last newsletter, Anne LeFerve, 32, and Kyle Skaggs, 25, of Frisco Farms, have providing an abundance of fresh vegetables in their first year of production in Pleasanton. Doug Smith, 30, has successfully managed a large production of vegetables for two years for Townside Farm. Eric Leahy, 42, has been a regular presence at the market with his veggies for at least 10 years. Zack Bruton, 38, along with the help of his wife Patty, has taken the plunge into farming by planting 3 acres of mellons, cukes and other veggies in his first year of production in Cliff. Genevieve Morgan, 28, manager of the newly formed San Vincente Farm, is preparing for the farm's first season next year, just south of Silver City. Nevadith Casillas, 27, and her husband Horacio, have been providing veggies this season from their farm in Gila.
There are a number of "old-timers" who are are a important presence at the Market with their produce, but as with all of us, they aren't getting any younger. One such gentleman is Ruben Castillo, 70. He has been farming most of his life in the Mimbres Valley. When asked what he thought about the younger farmers appearing at the Market, he replied, "It's encouraging. I'm real proud of these young guys”
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities announced that on August 26, the Grant County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a county resolution to form the Grant County Food Policy Council. Grant County is now the third county in New Mexico and one of the few rural counties in the United States to have such an advisory group on food and agriculture. The Food Policy Council will bring together public and private stakeholders to discuss food and agriculture-related issues, form partnerships, recommend policies and coordinate projects to improve the health and well-being of our local communities. Silver City Farmers' Market looks forward to working with the State of New Mexico Food and Agricultural Policy Council and other organizations working diligently to promote good food, public health, social justice, economic development and more!
Salsa Contest a Success
The competition was fierce, with about 14 great entries. The winners were as follows: Red Salsa--1st Place, Armando Teran; 2nd Place, Sylvia Provencio. Green Salsa--1st Place, Mike Anthony; 2nd Place, Felicia Bencomo. The overall "Best in Show" Winner was Mike Anthony.
Silver City Firemen Contemplating Salsa
(photo courtesy of GilaCommunity.net)
to Mike Anthony (photo courtesy of GilaCommunity.net)
Special Thanks to our Volunteers
Once again, thanks to Margeurite Bellringer, Socorro Arellano, Renate, and Valerie Quintana!
News from the Board
The Market has a new website/blog: http://silvercityfarmersmarket.blogspot.com/
Newsletters and current information will be posted here, as well as postings of the minutes from Board meetings.
Looking ahead, the Board has announced that this year's Annual Meeting with be on February 19, 2011 at 10:00 at the Silver City Pubic Library. Among other business at the meeting, the vendors/members will vote to fill in vacancies for the Board of Directors. Members and non-members from the community are asked to consider being running to be on the Board. (Last date for candidate submission is January 22) In the first year as a non-profit organization, the Board has made great strides in setting up the infrastructure of the organization, but for the market to keep viable, we need others to come forward to help carry the vision. Speaking of vision, here is the Market's simplified mission statement:
The Silver City Farmers’ Market is a New Mexico non-profit set up to provide an outlet for local agricultural producers to sell directly to consumers including recipients of public assistance. Through the Market itself and ongoing education, we foster producer-consumer connections with the goal of increasing the overall production and consumption of local food in southwestern New Mexico.
The next board meeting will be on October 8, 4:00 in the Coop Community Meeting Room. All are welcome!
(This is the usual time--the second Friday of each month at 4:00)