For those who do not know – “cesoss” literally means brains in Spanish.
The Center for Social Sustainable Systems (CESOSS) is a research and learning center that works directly with communities on local issues related to the preservation of culture/traditions and factors that involve social, political, and economic development. CESOSS is aimed at helping to achieve sustainability by fostering and building local capacity in the community.
One of the most recent efforts of CESOSS is the Farm to School: Keeping it Local initiative, which launched over the summer. One of the main goals of this initiative is to increase the accessibility of fresh, organic, and locally grown foods to families and communities in the East San Jose community and other neighboring communities such as Barelas and the South Valley. The health education component aims at providing families with information that will increase their knowledge on improving their overall health. Along with being able to purchase organic, locally grown produce, families can also visit various tables providing health-related information. There are also games and activities for children, a raffle, and blender bikes for children to make their own nutritious smoothies.
The Farm to School: Keeping it Local initiative breaks the mold in that it is the only school-based farmer’s market in Albuquerque to include a health education component. Kudos to this collaborative effort aimed at improving the overall health of our local communities!
Community members visit the East San Jose Community Farmers Market on their launch day in July
So far this initiative has been running on a 100% volunteer basis! The core group has dedicated their time and efforts to Farm to School because they all strongly believe in the wellbeing and health of children and families. This local collaborative effort includes CESOSS director Virginia Necochea, a former teacher and mother of 4 school-aged children, East San Jose Elementary School’s PE teacher Cynthia Grajeda, local South Valley farmer Fidel Gonzales from Los Jardines de Moktezuma, Dr. Mary Ramos from the UNM School-Based Clinic, and Natalie Donnelly from Food Corps. These volunteers realized that there was a need for health services and healthy food in this community and this was a way to make it available to the community members.
This group of people launched the East San Jose Community Farmers Market in early July of this year and it received a good turn-out from the community. However, it was the turn-out that they had hoped for. In efforts to help even more of the East San Jose and surrounding communities the farmer’s market is going to be re-launched on Wednesday August 27, 2014. The farmer’s market will be held at the East San Jose Elementary School. This initiative has the potential to really make a difference in not only the East San Jose community but also the surrounding communities.
There is a need for more participants and contributors to join this growing farmer’s market. If you would like to take part in this community enriching farmer’s market please contact Virginia Necochea via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please visit the East San Jose Community Farmer’s Market Facebook page and stay posted on how this farmer’s market will continue to be great for the community.