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Bernalillo County’s mission is to be an effective steward of county resources and a partner in building a high quality of life for county residents, communities and businesses.

The Food Forward initiative and the Cultivating Bernalillo County implementation plan will help the county achieve its mission through a locally-based food and agricultural system that advances the county’s economic, environmental and social well-being through education, public/private partnerships and public policy recommendations. Let’s get growing!

Agriculture and Open Space

Part of Bernalillo County Open Space's mission is to protect prime agricultural lands. Bernalillo County manages five agriculture-based properties in the South Valley: Sanchez Farm, Durand, Hubbell North, Gutierrez-Hubbell House, and Pajarito Open Space. Through a formal request for proposals process, Bernalillo County obtains lease agreements with the most qualified applicants to manage these properties. All of these properties have perimeter walking trails as part of the prescription trails program, and include other site amenities such as furnishings and signage. Twenty-five percent of these agriculture-based properties are planted for wildlife habitat, while the remaining land is cultivated for food or grains. A new initiative called Food Forward is being pursued to further support local agriculture and produce year-round food for people on the Open Space agriculture properties.

Food Forward

Food Forward focuses on strengthening the local food movement as an important economic development driver for the agricultural sector. The initiative began in 2013 after a county contingent attended the Institute for Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy in Memphis, Tennessee. Since their return, the county convened three Food Forward meetings in 2014 for local food growers, value-added producers and food distributors in addition to many local, state and federal government stakeholders. As a result of these meetings, personal interviews and an online survey, much was learned about the challenges food producers face such as access to labor, capital and equipment.

While Food Forward meetings and interviews have helped draw public input, Cultivating Bernalillo County is the county’s programmatic vision to turn these challenges into measurable milestones on its four agricultural properties. Key points from the Cultivating Bernalillo County implementation plan include:

  • Affordable access to arable land and reliable water: Currently, the county has a pilot farm lease program that has local farmers growing food and forage on its agricultural properties in the South Valley. In addition, the county’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan (PROS Plan) is in development and will outline strategies for preserving and protecting agricultural land.
  • Increase the amount of year-round food produced on county land: Without hoop houses and drip irrigation, year-round food production is a farming fantasy. The installation of appropriate infrastructure will help local growers cultivate a well-rooted reality.
  • Introduce the Bernco Bernie Veggie Van to food desert communities: Educate citizens about the importance of local agriculture by providing nutrition information and healthy food preparation demonstrations in local communities without good access to locally-produced fresh fruits and vegetables. A retrofitted county van and SNAP partnership will make this good food affordable and accessible!
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  • Enjoy Pickleball for those ages 50 +. Free on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Call (505) 468-7341 for more info.
    Location:
    South Valley Multipurpose Center, 2008 Larrazolo Rd. SW

  • Weekly crafts, outdoor activities, and experiments will be offered to deepen your discovery of the natural world. Each visitor can make a journal and crafts to take home. Activities are all correlated to school science standards making this a great opportunity for homeschoolers to learn, explore and play! Each month has a different topic.
    Location:
    Bachechi Open Space, 9521 Rio Grande Blvd. NW

  • Pickleball offered Monday through Friday at the Los Vecinos Community Center. For more information, call (505) 314-0240.
    Location:
    478 NM-333, Tijeras

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