When diseases like diabetes and obesity plague a community, more often than not the issue goes unresolved. Not so in the Paso del Norte region of Texas and New Mexico, thanks to La Semilla Food Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The organization, founded in 2010, aims to tackle health issues by ensuring affordable access to good food, community involvement and knowledge about dry-land farming and sustainable agriculture.

“La Semilla is really about creating a vibrant, sustainable and equitable food system in the Paso del Norte region,” explained co-founder Aaron Sharratt in an interview with Organic Connections. “It’s ensuring that all residents in our region can have access to healthy and affordable food. That’s a huge challenge and something that motivates us daily—figuring out how that looks and what we can do to improve the situation.”

One of the most successful projects La Semilla spearheaded was the implementation of school gardens, which the students maintain. This enthusiasm for locally sourced foods acted as a conduit to a district-wide farm-to-table initiative.

“I think the future is looking pretty bright for us,” Sharratt continues. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised in terms of the response, receptiveness and interest there is in the region and community.”

Read more in Organic Connections.