In this week’s issue, we’re looking at people in the food world of Albuquerque who are paying it forward—making it a little easier for hungry people to get healthy, affordable food. Here you’ll meet Wade McCullough, owner of the donation-based restaurant Karma Cafe, and Anzia Bennett, whose Three Sisters Kitchen project will bring people together to cook, eat and learn from each other. To say that these two are well-liked is putting it mildly: People use terms like “inspiring” and “heaven-sent” when talking about them.
The reason we wanted to highlight these community leaders is because, well, sometimes they need us to pay it forward, too. They both operate on business models that, in addition to being about serving people (especially the systematically underprivileged and ignored people) in their community, require the people who can afford it to give a little extra. If you go out to eat with any regularity, then I’ll wager you can probably afford to help somebody else get a meal, too. And if you think that a business that relies on people taking care of each other isn’t viable, then, well, I really hope all that capitalist ideology keeps you warm at night, Scrooge.
In the feature article on Three Sisters Kitchen we highlight ways you can get involved and help Bennett build her organization from the ground up. When I asked McCullough what the most helpful thing people could do for Karma Cafe was, he said, “Just get the word out.” Both of these places have little room in the budget for advertising, so it’s our job to let people know about the work that they’re doing.
Karma Cafe and Three Sisters Kitchen aren’t the only food organizations making a positive impact in their communities, though. And they’re certainly not the only ones who need our help.
Due to permitting delays, Moktezu-mart opened in November rather than the spring of last year—not the best time of year for a local produce market to find its sea legs, financially speaking. Fidel González, the owner of Moktezu-mart and of Los Jardines de Moktezuma Farm, has started a GoFundMe page to purchase some of the remaining kitchen and restaurant equipment he needs for the market/café to support itself through the winter. González has been a champion for local farmers and a crucial force in the Agri-Cultura Network farming cooperative, and by helping him out you’d also be helping out a huge network of growers who sell at his market. Check out gofundme.com/
The season of giving might officially be over, but helping out the folks in your community never goes out of style. If you know of a food or agriculture nonprofit that could use a highlight this year, let me know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.