HOUSE MEMORIAL 6

54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020

INTRODUCED BY

Melanie Ann Stansbury

 

 

 

 

 

A MEMORIAL

REQUESTING THE SECRETARY OF HUMAN SERVICES TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO ASSESS DATA AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO ADDRESS BARRIERS TO FOOD ACCESS.

 

     WHEREAS, the United States department of agriculture research service ranks New Mexico as a state with one of the highest rates of people experiencing hunger; and

     WHEREAS, the department of health reported that three hundred twenty-six thousand New Mexicans experienced food insecurity in 2017; and

     WHEREAS, one of every four children in New Mexico faces hunger due to food insecurity; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico leads the nation in childhood hunger; and

     WHEREAS, rural residents face significant levels of poverty; and

     WHEREAS, the United States department of agriculture reported that individuals living outside of metropolitan areas experienced higher rates of food insecurity; and

     WHEREAS, the United States department of agriculture recognized that low-income communities with constrained resources faced barriers in access to food; and

     WHEREAS, lack of transportation infrastructure for food distribution contributes to food insecurity and hunger; and

     WHEREAS, the United States department of agriculture recognized that distance from stores that sell fresh foods can contribute to these barriers; and

     WHEREAS, individuals facing hunger and food insecurity are less likely to use personal transportation than those who are food secure; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico food banks respond to emergency food needs for people experiencing food insecurity and hunger and are core to all efforts to address hunger and malnutrition; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico food banks collect important data about food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition that could aid in decision making and problem solving; and

     WHEREAS, agriculture is vital to New Mexico's economy and culture; and

     WHEREAS, over ninety percent of food New Mexicans consume comes from out of state, and nearly all food produced in New Mexico leaves the state; and

     WHEREAS, gaps in the agricultural supply chain and distribution infrastructure affect the ability of New Mexicans to obtain sufficient and healthy food; and

     WHEREAS, New Mexico could rely on state farmers and ranchers for needed food, which would further benefit the state's economy, environment and access to nutritious food; and

     WHEREAS, a stronger local food system keeps more dollars in local communities and helps combat food insecurity and hunger;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the secretary of human services be requested to convene a task force to study and assess hunger, malnutrition, food production and distribution; assess existing data; and identify the state's barriers to ensuring that all New Mexicans have access to a nutritious and sufficient diet; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force be composed of representatives from:

          A. the human services department;

          B. the department of health;

          C. the aging and long-term services department;

          D. the New Mexico department of agriculture;

          E. the children, youth and families department;

          F. the university of New Mexico;

          G. New Mexico state university;

          H. the New Mexico state university agricultural experiment station;

          I. the office of the governor;

          J. the Indian affairs department;

          K. the New Mexico association of food banks;

          L. the public education department;

          M. food, hunger and nonprofit organizations; and

          N. the higher education department; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force be requested to examine the best available data and assess:

          A. the incidence of hunger and malnutrition;

          B. causes and ramifications of hunger and malnutrition;

          C. public awareness of the characteristics of a healthy and nutritious diet and the consequences of maintaining an unhealthy diet;

          D. publicly funded meal programs, including those provided in schools, senior centers and facilities and intergenerational summer meal programs;

          E. the ability of residents to access and purchase healthy and nutritious foods;

          F. food production and agriculture in New Mexico;

          G. infrastructure for food produced in New Mexico;

          H. transportation and distribution of food products to processors and markets;

          I. the distance of food retailers from households relative to where the population lives;

          J. the ability of households, emergency food providers and agricultural producers to safely store perishable food; and

          K. public and private nutrition assistance programs; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that through identifying and analyzing the best available data, the task force be requested to identify:

          A. the scope, causes and ramifications of hunger and malnutrition in New Mexico;

          B. policies and programs addressing hunger that could be improved;

          C. policies and programs that address and provide recommendations for intergenerational meal programs;

          D. charitable efforts that may assist in addressing hunger;

          E. ways to strengthen the relationships between New Mexico food production, food retail and publicly funded meal programs;

          F. methods of improving statewide infrastructure to address these interrelated problems; and

          G. methods of improving data- and information-sharing systems across industries and sectors that collect food, hunger, malnutrition and agriculture data to facilitate monitoring, analysis and problem solving to strengthen local food systems and reduce hunger and malnutrition; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force be requested to report its findings and recommendations to the office of the governor and the legislative health and human services committee by November 1, 2020; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the governor, the secretary of human services and the chair of the legislative health and human services committee.

- 6 -