Providing more and better access to healthy food in Palomas

Joel Carreón, Botanist-Garden Specialist, (left) employs a “hands-on” method to teach the elementary school children how to grow mushrooms.

Spring has sprung here in the Desert Southwest as it has in many places across the Northern Hemisphere. Our thoughts turn to plants and growing healthy food.

From the very beginnings of Border Partners in 2008, we’ve asked local people what they needed most in their community. Their answer is consistently: “more and better access to healthy food.” We’ve been working on that goal ever since 2008 – for almost 16 years now.

So, we want to focus our news on all the work Border Partners does each month–not only in the S pring–to achieve that goal.

March 2004 Food Focus

Just in March, 2024, alone:

Just one of 660 healthy meals we delivered last month!

● The promotoras (health educators) prepared and delivered 660 healthy meals to isolated seniors.

● The gardeners delivered a total of 100 pounds of green vegetables to various places in the community including all five schools for use in the school lunches and for children to take home. Some of these veggies were given out in the main plaza on Saturdays and at our office during the week. They were also used in the senior lunches and the nutrition classes.

● We also gave each of the schools a small cash supplement to purchase other healthy foods (like fruit) for their school lunches.

We’ve completed spring maintenance on our greenhouses. They’re bursting with healthy greens to share.

● Our nutrition teachers taught lessons each week to students at the middle school, the high school and a preschool. Each lesson gave information about healthy eating and included healthy food to sample. One lesson was about the importance of eating healthy fats (think avocado!) and to limit unhealthy fats (think butter!).

● Our gardeners taught our staff and elementary school students how to start growing mushrooms. Since they are a good source of protein, we would like to promote growing them as a healthy food source.

● They also taught middle schoolers about how to make compost to enrich the soil for growing vegetables.

● The gardeners accomplished spring greenhouse maintenance. They removed the plastic cover we use to keep the greenhouses warm in the winter from our three large community greenhouses. All of our smaller greenhouses at schools in Palomas and the three school greenhouses at small communities around Palomas also needed to be uncovered. Until next fall, they will only be covered with shade cloth to keep the plants cooler.