Feeding the Hungry, Educating Children and Reducing Waste – CSA The Galloping Grace Way

My name is Max Wade, and I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Galloping Grace Youth Ranch in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.  We operate a Sustainable Urban Agricultural Education Center focused on cultivating healthy children today, so they can harvest a healthy society tomorrow.  It is my passion to introduce and educate children in our community about the wonders of agriculture and the importance of the food produced by this industry.

Over the past 75 years, our society has become drastically disconnected with the origins of our food.  When asked where their food comes from, the majority of our children would say the grocery store.  It is my belief that our children, the future leaders of our world, must understand the importance of what it takes to produce the food needed to feed a hungry nation.  Even more importantly, it is essential that they understand the current issues of food waste in our country.  Right here in the United States, we throw away 40% of all the food produced annually in our country.  This is a devastating realization considering we live in one of the most food insecure states in America.

In our efforts to educate children about the state of our food, we have incorporated a creative approach to feeding our livestock.  We feed our animals a salad-bar diet of healthy produce that otherwise would be headed for the landfill.  The food that we collect from local grocery stores is part of that 40% that is thrown away.  At GGYR, we have made it our goal to use a food source that was considered trash, and utilize it to grow more food for people in need.

Farm pic 2

We have begun to structure our organization to become a food producer for Roadrunner Food Bank.  Through our educational, hands-on activities, children in our community produce healthy, sustainably grown eggs, pork, beef, dairy, and produce – all for the purpose of fighting hunger in our state.  The first example of this is the approximately 300 pounds of pork that we raised on the ranch and have donated to Roadrunner Food Bank.  We are working feverishly to make this the model for all of the food we produce at Galloping Grace Youth Ranch.  In order to do this, we have developed an innovative approach to fund our efforts.

Community Supported Agriculture is a practice by which local farmers and ranchers partner with people in their community to share in the food-growing process.  Typically, members in these programs receive quantities of fresh fruit, meat, or produce on a regular basis in return for their monetary memberships.  We have taken this concept and have adapted it to become what we call  “CSA The Galloping Grace Way.”  In our program, people sign up as members and provide monthly, tax-deductible donations that enable us to grow the food that will be given to Roadrunner Food Bank for the purpose of feeding hungry people in our state.  In contrast to a typical CSA, members do not receive any product; however, they do receive the gratification of contributing to a process that educates children, saves the environment, and ultimately feeds hungry people.  For example, a membership of just $10 a month enables us to produce and donate 30 dozen eggs, recycle 540 pound of food, and educate hundreds of children about food production.

Please consider becoming a member today.  Visit our website at ggyr.org and find out how.

Max Wade is CEO and co-founder of Galloping Grace Youth Ranch.

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