Sat. May 18th, 2024

Clovis Municipal Schools receives State ‘Golden Chile’ Award for local-food initiatives

Media Release, Clovis Municipal Schools:


Clovis Municipal Schools is one of 66 New Mexico organizations awarded a 2023 Golden Chile Award for efforts to connect children and seniors with locally grown food, according to a Tuesday press release from the New Mexico Department of Health.

The Golden Chile Awards – awarded via four tiers: Seed, Sprout, Blossom, and Golden Chile, are designed to celebrate and commend varying levels of involvement aimed at promoting good nutrition while supporting New Mexico’s farming economy.

Recognized by the tier designating local-food programs are “growing strong” Clovis Municipal Schools is one of 16 organizations to receive the “Sprout Award.” It is the second year the District has received the award.

Student Nutrition and Well-Being Deputy Director Deborah Westbrook, expressed excitement at news her department had been recognized by the award.

Clovis Schools participates in the New Mexico Grown Grant Program, which provides opportunities to include locally grown and produced food for use in meals served by the district’s student nutrition department.

“The New Mexico Grown Grant Program is a wonderful way for CMS to offer locally-grown produce and beef in some of our students’ meals. We have really developed great partnerships with local farmers and ranchers through this program,” Westbrook said.

The New Mexico Grown program awarded its highest amount this year, a total of $3.47 million: $2 million for schools, $300,000 for preschools, and $1.17 million for senior centers.

School districts will receive more than half of the funds to continue providing healthy eating activities and education, and serve locally grown food in cafeteria meals.

The New Mexico Grown Program ensures that farms and gardens supplying fresh produce for school and senior meals follow current food safety practices, and all food is safe and traceable.

“We are thrilled to see so many of our districts recognized in these awards. These honorees serve as role models for all schools and districts in the state on the important connection between our food and how it is grown and the health of our communities,” said Public Education Department Secretary Arsenio Romero.

Representatives from the Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as the Departments of Aging and Long-Term Services, Agriculture, Early Childhood Education & Care, Health, and Public Education, will honor statewide winners in a virtual ceremony Wednesday, September 13, at 2 p.m.

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