C-W City: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Situated on the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque has the highest elevation of any major US city, topping out over 6,500 feet above sea level in certain areas. It is also the largest city in the state of New Mexico, with more than 550,000 residents, and is one of the country’s most culturally diverse cities. According to 2011 U.S. Census figures, Albuquerque is 47 percent Latino, 42 percent white, 5 percent American Indian, 3 percent African American, and 3 percent Asian.

 

The city’s history is very much connected with scientific innovation, dating back to military flight testing in the 1930s and the Manhattan Project of the 1940s. Since then, Albuquerque’s science and technology sector has evolved into a thriving center for energy (especially solar and other renewables), nanotechnology, aeronautics, and medicine. Public institutions, such as Sandia National Laboratories, Kirkland Air Force Base, and the University of New Mexico, have anchored much of this growth. Today, Albuquerque’s ten largest employers are all hospitals, universities and public institutions, comprising more than 20 percent of the surrounding metropolitan area’s workforce.

 

Equally important to Albuquerque’s development is its strong sense of culture and heritage. As noted above, Albuquerque is nearly half Latino and has deep ties to Native American traditions and art. Shifting tides of settlement patterns and the ebbs and flows of the tech boom and economic growth have greatly impacted the region and its residents. Rising land costs and gentrification are concomitant challenges to the bustling economy. The delicate balance of cultural heritage, diversity, and rapid technological development must be balanced to ensure equitable growth and economic stability for all residents. Community wealth building organizations in Albuquerque work hard to achieve this goal, often with an eye to the particular needs of Native American, Latino and other indigenous communities. 

 

Residents of New Mexico have relied on communal ways of life for several centuries, long before European colonization, and the cooperative and community-based models are an integral part of Native American life. In this context, Albuquerque is an ideal city for community-based wealth building initiatives to take root and successful examples abound.  The Rio Grande Community Development Corporation operates the South Valley Economic Development Center that has incubated over 100 new businesses in low-income communities in the city since opening in 2003. The community development financial institution, New Mexico Community Capital, targets financial services directly to tribal communities. The community-owned consumer cooperatives La Mantanita Co-op runs the regional Co-op Trade Food-Shed Project that creates wholesale markets and provides product distribution, delivery, and refrigerated storage for local farmers and producers. And the Sawmill Community Land Trust manages 34 acres of reclaimed industrial land where they built 93 affordable single-family homes and three affordable rental apartment complexes complete with community gardens, playgrounds and a plaza.

 

An overview of community wealth building efforts follows:

Anchor Institutions

New Mexico Community Foundation

Founded in 1983, this Albuquerque-based Foundation makes grants across the state, though most of the funding is distributed in the Rio Grande Valley.  Partnering with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and donors, the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF) works to build rural economies, promote Native leadership, and ensure equality for women and families. With over $22 million in assets, NMCF made over $4.5 million worth of grants in 2011 and has granted more than $50 million over its 30 year history. One of its premier programs, Good Food for New Mexico Families, focuses on rural Native American and Hispano communities and encourages local food production while supporting the local economy and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership

The Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership works to revitalize Albuquerque’s older, and predominantly minority and low-income, neighborhoods by helping individuals and families build assets through home ownership. They do so by building new, quality, affordable homes that reflect the needs and desires of community residents. They also offer homeownership counseling and financial assistance to first time low income homeowners. One of their current development projects, Plaza Feliz, is a multi-family development on a previously developed infill site with rental and ownership options, a daycare center, and green features that have earned it a LEED Platinum certification.

Rio Grande Community Development Corporation

The Rio Grande Community Development Corporation (RGCDC) is a non-profit organization that pursues community-based economic development that is sensitive to traditional cultural values and historical land uses while cultivating resident voice and reducing poverty through entrepreneurial enterprise. In 1996, RGCDC worked with community residents to develop the Bridge and Isleta Boulevards Revitalization plan. As a result of the plan, RGCDC worked with the University of New Mexico and Bernalillo County to open the South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC) that has, since its establishment 2003, incubated over 100 businesses, created over 350 jobs, returned $8.2 million in payroll back to the local economy, and assisted over 250 potential entrepreneurs a year. One of SVEDC’s premier programs is the Mixing Bowl initiative that provides residents with the tools — from equipment, to financing, to training — to start their own food-related business. 

Valle Encantado

Valle Encantado is a community-based nonprofit organization in the historic Atrisco neighborhood in the South Valley of Albuquerque. Established in 2008 by community residents, Valle Encantado is committed to sustainable economic development done in harmony with the identity of the community. One of its main programs includes a weatherization program which has leveraged federal stimulus funds to update nearly 40 homes in Bernalillo County while connecting unemployed workers with good weatherization jobs. Other initiatives include a partnership with the USDA on a community agriculture and nutrition program to create a self-sustaining community farm whose salad greens will be sold to Albuquerque Public Schools and a community creativity and history program that records oral histories and organizes workshops.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

ACCION

ACCION is a nonprofit organization based in Albuquerque that makes business loans and provides training to emerging entrepreneurs in rural and urban communities of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Founded in 1994, ACCION has financed the start-up and growth of over 2,300 businesses in New Mexico with loans totaling more than $23 million. These small businesses have supported the creation of an estimated 3,700 new jobs. Between 60 and 65 percent of ACCION’s loans are made to low-income borrowers, 57 percent of who are minority entrepreneurs and 50 percent of who are women.  

New Mexico Community Capital

New Mexico Community Capital (NMCC) is a CDFI that specifically targets financial services to tribal communities. Its goal is to provide capital and training for emerging businesses in traditionally underserved markets in New Mexico. The nonprofit organization owns and operates a $14.6 million venture capital fund intended to help New Mexican businesses expand.  Using a “Double Bottom Line” strategy, NMCC invests in companies that they believe can deliver a return on investment but also create social and economic improvements in the communities where they operate. Through their IMPACT-NM program, NMCC provides capacity building support and expertise in finance, marketing and product development.  In the past 7 years, NMCC has invested over $8 million in New Mexico companies and provided more than 600 well-paying jobs for residents of lower income areas.

New Mexico Community Loan Fund

Founded in 1989 by the New Mexico Conference of Churches, the New Mexico Community Loan Fund, better known as simply The Loan Fund, provides loans and assistance to help lift New Mexicans out of poverty. In addition to microloans, small business loans, and nonprofit loans, the loan fund provides training and business consulting to entrepreneurs and organizations throughout the state, focusing on women and minority-owned businesses, entrepreneurs with disabilities, and Native American enterprises. Since its founding in the summer of 2011, the loan fund has made more than 1,100 loans, totaling more than $43 million and has created an estimated 6,100 jobs. 

WESST

WESST (originally the Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team) is a small business development and training organization committed to creating jobs and achieving economic independence by cultivating entrepreneurship in New Mexico. A microlender, WESST provides small business loans to women and others who often experience difficulty obtaining financing. With assets in excess of $10 million, WESST has assisted with creating more than 1,100  jobs, generating $93 million in personal income and assisting with $60 million in wage and salary growth. The vast majority (75 percent) of WESST clients are women, low-income (70 percent), and of an ethnic minority (60 percent). In addition to providing technical assistance and small business resources, WESST also operatives an Individual Development Account program.  

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Sawmill Community Land Trust

The Sawmill Community Land Trust formed in 1996 to purchase and remediate 27 acres on the site of a former particleboard factory in an effort to preserve affordability for working families near downtown Albuquerque. Sawmill now manages 34 acres of reclaimed industrial land where it has constructed 93 affordable single-family ownership homes and three affordable rental apartment complexes complete with community gardens, playgrounds and a plaza. Additional affordable rental housing is planned, as are community-driven economic development projects and a few other projects on other sites. By separating the ownership of the buildings from the ownership of the land, the land trust makes it possible for homeowners and other residents to benefit from secure housing without the risk of rising costs of escalating land value. 

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Cooperative Development Center

A project of the Center of Southwest Culture that works to support healthy indigenous Latino communities, The Cooperative Development Center, or CODECE, builds cooperative businesses in the areas of organic agriculture, affordable housing and cultural tourism. CODECE advances the idea that the cooperative and communal models are an integral part of Native American life and have been an established form of working together for the common good among Nuevo Mexicanos for several centuries.  To date, CODECE has helped create five co-ops and identified six other opportunities to form co-ops. As a next step, a small portion of profits from all co-op income will go to create a Sustainable Economic Development Fund, the parameters of which will be determined by a committee of co-op employees. 

Greenbriar Townhouses Cooperative

Greenbriar Townhouses is one of only two cooperative housing communities in New Mexico. Each resident of the Greenbriar Townhouses is a member of the cooperatives and owns a share in the development.  Resident members are expected to participate on a committee responsible for managing the operation of the community. The community has 16 residential buildings, a small community library, a swimming pool, a playground and a community meeting room and provides members with central heating and air conditioning, water, sewer, garbage collection and recycling services.

La Montanita Co-op

La Montanita Co-op is a community-owned consumer cooperative with over 17,000 members. With three locations in Albuquerque, La Montanita offers fresh produce, bulk foods, local organic meats and cheeses and a variety of fair-trade and natural products. A strong supporter of local farmers, La Montanita offers more than 1,100 products from 400 local producers, and nearly 20 percent of purchases and sales go to local food.  The co-op also runs the regional Co-op Trade Food-Shed Project that creates wholesale markets and provides product distribution, delivery and refrigerated storage for local farmers and producers. In keeping with its commitment to the community, La Montanita provides education about the cooperative economic model and links between food, health and the environment.

Rio Grande Valley Farmers Guild

The Rio Grande Valley Farmers Guild is a cooperative of local family-run farms concentrated in Albuquerque's historically agricultural South Valley. Since its founding in 2008, the cooperative has focused primarily on its Cereal Grains Project that makes local and naturally cultivated whole grains and flours available to local markets, restaurants and directly to families throughout New Mexico.

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Applied Research Associates, Inc.

Headquartered in Albuquerque, Applies Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) is an employee-owned international scientific research and engineering company, focusing on national security, infrastructure, energy and the environment, and health solutions.  With over 1,400 employees, ARA boasts that one of their greatest strengths is to recruit and retain high caliber employees from diverse technical backgrounds.  Through their ESOP, ARA buys stocks on behalf of employees, which allows them to share directly in the success of the business. 

Green Economy

Green for All, Albuquerque

Green for All, Albuquerque is the local chapter of a nationwide program aiming to implement scaled green job programs that provide a pathway out of poverty for low-income individuals and minority communities. To date, Green for All has brought together community partners to lead the Albuquerque Clean-Energy Careers Campaign to create city-wide comprehensive high-road clean-energy programs and policies. A key component of this program would be the use of a property-assessed clean-energy (PACE) financing mechanism that provides up-front capital for energy efficiency projects that is paid back through subsequent savings on participants’ property taxes.

Individual Wealth Building

Prosperity Works

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Prosperity Works currently assists 32 community-based organizations and financial institutions across the state to create asset building opportunities for working families and build strong communities across the state. As of September 2012, Prosperity Works and its partners have enabled families in New Mexico to save more than $7 million through individual development account programs, allowing for 184 new families to transition to safe and secure housing, permitting 368 locally owned businesses to open or expand, and creating 644 new jobs.  

Individual Wealth Preservation

New Mexico Native American Business Enterprise Center

A project of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico, the New Mexico Native American Business Enterprise Center (NMNABEC) is intended to assist in the formation of new and survival of existing businesses in Native American communities. Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, NMNABEC works with individuals, proprietors, corporations and Tribal entities on and off the reservation to provide financial and technical assistance. In addition to identifying available loans, loan guarantees, lines of credit, bonding with banks and insurance agencies, NMNABEC also provides general business counseling, assistance with bookkeeping and marketing work. 

Local Food Systems

Albuquerque Urban Farm and Gardens Cooperative

The mission of the Albuquerque Urban Farms and Gardens Cooperative is to help build gardens and urban farms of any scale throughout the City of Albuquerque. The cooperative is a collection of gardening and urban farm communities that have come together to support each other and to educate the community on self-sustaining gardening. They do so through network parties, seed sharing and farmers markets.

Growing Awareness Urban Farm

Located in the heart of Albuquerque, Growing Awareness Urban Farm is a micro-enterprise of East Central Ministries. Currently the farm includes a nursery that specializes in locally grown vegetables, a workshop that produces clay pots used in irrigation, an apiary, a chicken coop, demonstration and community gardens, a playground with edible landscaping, a composting operation and a small urban farm store.  All profits from sales go directly back into the community through East Central Ministries’ programs to provide work to needy families, mentoring and teaching for young people, their community health clinic, and their neighborhood food and housing programs. 

Project Feed the Hood

Project Feed the Hood is an initiative of the Southwest Organizing Project that aims to improve community health through education to increase food literacy and community gardening initiatives to revive traditional growing methods in low-income communities in Albuquerque. In addition to building and overseeing community gardens throughout the city’s poorer neighborhoods, Project Feed the Hood also works with local schools to provide healthier foods and workshops on growing and nutrition. 

New State & Local Policies

City of Albuquerque Climate Action Plan

In the summer of 2008, the City of Albuquerque assembled a task force comprising 60 residents to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 80 percent by the year 2050. The result is the Climate Action Plan that was subsequently reviewed by peer groups and presented for community comment at 10 town hall meetings held at different locations around the city. The plan suggests policy goals in the areas of carbon offsets, local food and agriculture, carbon neutral buildings, recycling, renewable energy, social change, livable neighborhoods and transportation. 

Delicious New Mexico

The Albuquerque affiliate of the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Delicious New Mexico supports the New Mexico food business community by building networks and promoting innovation and best practices. It does so by facilitating collaboration between growers and suppliers, and restaurants and consumers, all the while creating a strong, sustainable regional food economy. Delicious New Mexico is now a highly visible brand that distinguishes fine food products and encourages people to think and buy local. 

Reclaiming the Commons

Bernalillo County Open Space

Started in 1998 as a result of a grassroots effort by numerous community groups, Open Space formed after a referendum passed providing 0.5 mill levy for two years and again in 2000 with a 0.25 mill levy for six years. These funds were used to acquire and maintain historical sites and cultural treasures that also feature essential aquifers. Open Space provides workshops, guided hikes, educational field trips and volunteer opportunities on the preserved land. 

Rio Grande Community Farm

Owned and operated by the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division, the Rio Grande Community Farm is a 138-acre farm free and open to all. Occupying the original site of Los Poblanos, one of the earliest Spanish Colonial settlements in the Rio Grande Valley, the farm acts as a community garden, wildlife habitat and certified organic cropland.  In addition to preserving the unique history of the city, the farm provides educational experiences, community service projects and recreational opportunities for Albuquerque residents while also working to significantly recharge the city’s depleted aquifer.  To secure the site in 1997, the City passed a two-year quarter cent sales tax to provide funds for its acquisition.

Transit-Oriented Development

ABQ RIDE

Albuquerque’s transportation authority, known locally as ABQ RIDE, has recently introduced Rapid Ride buses to the city. With three new lines, the Rapid Ride system connects neighborhoods of the city that previously were not serviced by public transportation.  In addition to being powered by a diesel electric hybrid engine that has an extremely low level of emissions, Rapid Ride buses also provide passengers with free wireless internet access. ABQ RIDE is also considering a Bus Rapid Transit plan for the city that is now under public review. 

University & Community Partnerships

Community Engagement Center, The University of New Mexico

The Community Engagement Center (CEC) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque acts as an academic partnership and policy center for communities seeking to implement community-based solutions. CEC brings together faculty, students, neighborhoods, public institutions and government agencies to pool resources and create opportunity. Since its founding in 2000, CEC has awarded $1 million in AmeriCorps Educational Scholarships; partnered to generate nearly $20 million in federal, state and national funds for community projects, with 80 percent of those funds going directly to local communities; and served approximately 50,000 children and families throughout New Mexico. 

Transit-Oriented Development

ABQ RIDE

Albuquerque’s transportation authority, known locally as ABQ RIDE, has recently introduced Rapid Ride buses to the city. With three new lines, the Rapid Ride system connects neighborhoods of the city that previously were not serviced by public transportation.  In addition to being powered by a diesel electric hybrid engine that has an extremely low level of emissions, Rapid Ride buses also provide passengers with free wireless internet access. ABQ RIDE is also considering a Bus Rapid Transit plan for the city that is now under public review. 

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

ACCION

ACCION is a nonprofit organization based in Albuquerque that makes business loans and provides training to emerging entrepreneurs in rural and urban communities of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Founded in 1994, ACCION has financed the start-up and growth of over 2,300 businesses in New Mexico with loans totaling more than $23 million. These small businesses have supported the creation of an estimated 3,700 new jobs. Between 60 and 65 percent of ACCION’s loans are made to low-income borrowers, 57 percent of who are minority entrepreneurs and 50 percent of who are women.  

New Mexico Community Capital

New Mexico Community Capital (NMCC) is a CDFI that specifically targets financial services to tribal communities. Its goal is to provide capital and training for emerging businesses in traditionally underserved markets in New Mexico. The nonprofit organization owns and operates a $14.6 million venture capital fund intended to help New Mexican businesses expand.  Using a “Double Bottom Line” strategy, NMCC invests in companies that they believe can deliver a return on investment but also create social and economic improvements in the communities where they operate. Through their IMPACT-NM program, NMCC provides capacity building support and expertise in finance, marketing and product development.  In the past 7 years, NMCC has invested over $8 million in New Mexico companies and provided more than 600 well-paying jobs for residents of lower income areas.

New Mexico Community Loan Fund

Founded in 1989 by the New Mexico Conference of Churches, the New Mexico Community Loan Fund, better known as simply The Loan Fund, provides loans and assistance to help lift New Mexicans out of poverty. In addition to microloans, small business loans, and nonprofit loans, the loan fund provides training and business consulting to entrepreneurs and organizations throughout the state, focusing on women and minority-owned businesses, entrepreneurs with disabilities, and Native American enterprises. Since its founding in the summer of 2011, the loan fund has made more than 1,100 loans, totaling more than $43 million and has created an estimated 6,100 jobs. 

WESST

WESST (originally the Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team) is a small business development and training organization committed to creating jobs and achieving economic independence by cultivating entrepreneurship in New Mexico. A microlender, WESST provides small business loans to women and others who often experience difficulty obtaining financing. With assets in excess of $10 million, WESST has assisted with creating more than 1,100  jobs, generating $93 million in personal income and assisting with $60 million in wage and salary growth. The vast majority (75 percent) of WESST clients are women, low-income (70 percent), and of an ethnic minority (60 percent). In addition to providing technical assistance and small business resources, WESST also operatives an Individual Development Account program.  

Local Food Systems

Albuquerque Urban Farm and Gardens Cooperative

The mission of the Albuquerque Urban Farms and Gardens Cooperative is to help build gardens and urban farms of any scale throughout the City of Albuquerque. The cooperative is a collection of gardening and urban farm communities that have come together to support each other and to educate the community on self-sustaining gardening. They do so through network parties, seed sharing and farmers markets.

Growing Awareness Urban Farm

Located in the heart of Albuquerque, Growing Awareness Urban Farm is a micro-enterprise of East Central Ministries. Currently the farm includes a nursery that specializes in locally grown vegetables, a workshop that produces clay pots used in irrigation, an apiary, a chicken coop, demonstration and community gardens, a playground with edible landscaping, a composting operation and a small urban farm store.  All profits from sales go directly back into the community through East Central Ministries’ programs to provide work to needy families, mentoring and teaching for young people, their community health clinic, and their neighborhood food and housing programs. 

Project Feed the Hood

Project Feed the Hood is an initiative of the Southwest Organizing Project that aims to improve community health through education to increase food literacy and community gardening initiatives to revive traditional growing methods in low-income communities in Albuquerque. In addition to building and overseeing community gardens throughout the city’s poorer neighborhoods, Project Feed the Hood also works with local schools to provide healthier foods and workshops on growing and nutrition. 

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Applied Research Associates, Inc.

Headquartered in Albuquerque, Applies Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) is an employee-owned international scientific research and engineering company, focusing on national security, infrastructure, energy and the environment, and health solutions.  With over 1,400 employees, ARA boasts that one of their greatest strengths is to recruit and retain high caliber employees from diverse technical backgrounds.  Through their ESOP, ARA buys stocks on behalf of employees, which allows them to share directly in the success of the business. 

Reclaiming the Commons

Bernalillo County Open Space

Started in 1998 as a result of a grassroots effort by numerous community groups, Open Space formed after a referendum passed providing 0.5 mill levy for two years and again in 2000 with a 0.25 mill levy for six years. These funds were used to acquire and maintain historical sites and cultural treasures that also feature essential aquifers. Open Space provides workshops, guided hikes, educational field trips and volunteer opportunities on the preserved land. 

Rio Grande Community Farm

Owned and operated by the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division, the Rio Grande Community Farm is a 138-acre farm free and open to all. Occupying the original site of Los Poblanos, one of the earliest Spanish Colonial settlements in the Rio Grande Valley, the farm acts as a community garden, wildlife habitat and certified organic cropland.  In addition to preserving the unique history of the city, the farm provides educational experiences, community service projects and recreational opportunities for Albuquerque residents while also working to significantly recharge the city’s depleted aquifer.  To secure the site in 1997, the City passed a two-year quarter cent sales tax to provide funds for its acquisition.

New State & Local Policies

City of Albuquerque Climate Action Plan

In the summer of 2008, the City of Albuquerque assembled a task force comprising 60 residents to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 80 percent by the year 2050. The result is the Climate Action Plan that was subsequently reviewed by peer groups and presented for community comment at 10 town hall meetings held at different locations around the city. The plan suggests policy goals in the areas of carbon offsets, local food and agriculture, carbon neutral buildings, recycling, renewable energy, social change, livable neighborhoods and transportation. 

Delicious New Mexico

The Albuquerque affiliate of the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Delicious New Mexico supports the New Mexico food business community by building networks and promoting innovation and best practices. It does so by facilitating collaboration between growers and suppliers, and restaurants and consumers, all the while creating a strong, sustainable regional food economy. Delicious New Mexico is now a highly visible brand that distinguishes fine food products and encourages people to think and buy local. 

University & Community Partnerships

Community Engagement Center, The University of New Mexico

The Community Engagement Center (CEC) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque acts as an academic partnership and policy center for communities seeking to implement community-based solutions. CEC brings together faculty, students, neighborhoods, public institutions and government agencies to pool resources and create opportunity. Since its founding in 2000, CEC has awarded $1 million in AmeriCorps Educational Scholarships; partnered to generate nearly $20 million in federal, state and national funds for community projects, with 80 percent of those funds going directly to local communities; and served approximately 50,000 children and families throughout New Mexico. 

Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Cooperative Development Center

A project of the Center of Southwest Culture that works to support healthy indigenous Latino communities, The Cooperative Development Center, or CODECE, builds cooperative businesses in the areas of organic agriculture, affordable housing and cultural tourism. CODECE advances the idea that the cooperative and communal models are an integral part of Native American life and have been an established form of working together for the common good among Nuevo Mexicanos for several centuries.  To date, CODECE has helped create five co-ops and identified six other opportunities to form co-ops. As a next step, a small portion of profits from all co-op income will go to create a Sustainable Economic Development Fund, the parameters of which will be determined by a committee of co-op employees. 

Greenbriar Townhouses Cooperative

Greenbriar Townhouses is one of only two cooperative housing communities in New Mexico. Each resident of the Greenbriar Townhouses is a member of the cooperatives and owns a share in the development.  Resident members are expected to participate on a committee responsible for managing the operation of the community. The community has 16 residential buildings, a small community library, a swimming pool, a playground and a community meeting room and provides members with central heating and air conditioning, water, sewer, garbage collection and recycling services.

La Montanita Co-op

La Montanita Co-op is a community-owned consumer cooperative with over 17,000 members. With three locations in Albuquerque, La Montanita offers fresh produce, bulk foods, local organic meats and cheeses and a variety of fair-trade and natural products. A strong supporter of local farmers, La Montanita offers more than 1,100 products from 400 local producers, and nearly 20 percent of purchases and sales go to local food.  The co-op also runs the regional Co-op Trade Food-Shed Project that creates wholesale markets and provides product distribution, delivery and refrigerated storage for local farmers and producers. In keeping with its commitment to the community, La Montanita provides education about the cooperative economic model and links between food, health and the environment.