Of New Mexico’s 20,000 farms and ranches, only about 8% make direct sales to local agro-regional buyers of their fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, meats and prepared foods.
New Mexicans currently spend less than one percent of all cash receipts for food on local food. More than 99% of cash spent on food is spent on imported food and food products, and most of the food produced in New Mexico is exported.
New Mexicans spend over $4 billion each year on imported food and farmer/ranchers spend over $1.3 billion on inputs.
New Mexico has 50 farmers markets with over 25,700 customers and about 15 community supported agriculture locations. The Farm-to-school project collects fruits and vegetables from ten farms and supplies eight public school districts (2009). There are Farm-to-chef/restaurant value chains, and La Montanita food coop helps stock “local food” shelves in major retail groceries.
Of the approximately 4,350 food-related new Mexico firms, about 150 provide value-added food products (food manufacturers).
La Montanita coop with 25 years’ experience organizing foodshed value chains handles at least 1,000 local products year-round on a seasonal basis. La Montanita sells $28 million of products in a year to its nearly 16,000 members, about 20% locally produced, which is close to New Mexico’s 2020 goal.
La Montanita operates a co-operative Distribution center (CDC). Farmers and producers, throughout La Montanita’s foodshed, can either sell their products direct to their four coop retail locations or utilize the CDC warehouse to expand their markets and save on gas and transport costs. The CDC offers local producers post-harvest cooler/freezer space and dry storage. CDC picks up food from over 700 regional producers, and delivers to over 30 stores, restaurants and institutions. Its distribution center handles $2.5 million of food annually (64% local). It also “closes the loop” by bringing needed supplies to the farm and drop-off depots during product pick-up.
Of the 166 certified organic operations in New Mexico (2007): 108 are farm crop (including hay); 43 are processors;15 are livestock.
Of the 105,551 acres that are certified organic in New Mexico: 64,634 are pasture or rangeland (35,170 in 2005); 40,917 are crop (including hay) (4,830 in 2005).
Estimated gross sales by New Mexico certified organic producers: 1991 – less than $5,000; 1997 – $5 Million; 2006 – $30Million.
Ten percent or more of all food consumption in New Mexico is by institutions. In total, about one in ten dollars spent on food in the state is an institutional purchase.
School purchases constitute 3.6% of total state food consumption, and all other institutions about 6.7%. The largest institutional purchasers, other than schools, are nursing homes, prisons and daycare facilities. Other institutions include: orphanages, mental institutions, colleges and universities, government cafeterias, corporate cafeterias and hospitals. A few potentially large purchasers are not fully represented in these calculations: airlines, military cafeterias and commissaries, national park restaurants, tribal casino restaurants and non-profits.
$1.2 million in government food purchases helps supply schools with local food.