Helga Garza

Helga Garza
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Early Childhood, Education, Environmental Justice, Food Systems and Nutrition, Obesity Populations Served: At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Children and Families, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities
Executive Director
Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network

Inspired by justice, guided by an ancestral ceremonial agricultural calendar, and engaging community through a holistic intergenerational approach, Helga Garza is committed to an environmental economy. Her work includes developing healthy markets that strengthen the local food system, preserving New Mexico’s historic culture, and tradition in sustainable agriculture. Through community driven markets, Helga has increased access to healthy local food by removing structural barriers, such as price, availability, and policy climate, and has increased nutritional knowledge through curriculum development of a holistic family-based wellness program that is bilingual, culturally relevant, and community-based. Through these efforts, Helga Garza is building the capacity and ability of New Mexico’s urban and rural small farmers to ensure household livelihood. Her goals include 1) Providing farmers the opportunity to grow food for the community, contributing to health and well-being; and 2) Building the local farm sector through sales and other food activities, and contributing to the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of their communities.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Strengthen Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network (ACN) to Address Food Insecurity in Bernalillo County, New Mexico
As a cooperative of farmers, ACN needs to build our case in the engagement of local investment in farming practices of New Mexico’s Rio Grande farming communities. It also needs to strengthen the bridge for (ACN) to address food insecurity and provide a community model, building an environmental economy and sustainable food system. Bernalillo County is New Mexico’s most populous county, with 675,551 residents—32 percent of the state population. The South Valley is a large, pre-urban section of Southwest Albuquerque that extends into unincorporated parts of Bernalillo County. This is an area of ancient agricultural settlement, first by the Native Pueblo culture. ACN’s long-term goal, The Sacred Roots food hub and farm site, will create economic development in the local food system, provide education to students and community members, and increase access to healthy foods to address the social determinants of health.

Helga Garza committed to an environmental economy by developing community driven markets. Helga has increased access to healthy local food, developing a community supported agricultural program and building the local farm sector through sales, contributing to the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of New Mexico’s urban and rural small farmers.

Click here to watch Helga’s Legacy Project video.