Local farms, small gardens see boost in interest, funding to tackle hunger
Bueno Para Todos, a small farm in Villanueva, began 2020 with a hoop house and four planted areas enclosed in wooden frames raised above the ground. A few chokecherry and apricot trees planted years ago had taken root along the sun-soaked valley floor. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, throwing people out of work and wiping grocery store shelves bare.Six months later, the pandemic’s imprint on the small farm in the Pecos river valley of central New Mexico is easy to see. Twelve raised planting beds and three-quarters of an acre of newly planted plum, cherry, nectarine, and apricot trees grow alongside a waffle garden, a Zuni farming technique, of corn, beans, squash, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and herb. A rain catchment and drip irrigation system is coming soon. COVID-19 has turned the world upside down, but one overlooked positive might be a rise in interest in gardening and local farms becoming a source for helping to feed a growing population of New Mexicans whose next meal is not guaranteed.