Based in the El Paso-Southern New Mexico border region, the Sustainable Urban-Rural Collaborative (SURCO), is an initiative of immigrant women, agricultural workers and indigenous people to create an equitable food system that satisfies the needs of low-income people in our border region. We promote food sovereignty as a platform to reclaim our right to healthy and affordable food and to create dignified work opportunities for urban and rural people. SURCO is an initiative conceived in the heart of La Mujer Obrera, and is anchored in the organizing work of three sister organizations: La Mujer Obrera, Sin Fronteras Organizing Project and the Adult and Youth United Development Association, renowned grassroots organizations with decades of community organizing and advocacy on the United States-Mexico border.
Our community is one of the poorest in the nation. According to the latest U.S. Census data, low-income Hispanic families face high levels of poverty, unemployment and instability. These families continue to bear the brunt of the impact from the region’s loss of more than 35,000 jobs primarily in the garment industry. Our region is also home to migrant farm-workers serving the fields of Southern New Mexico and West Texas. With salaries at $6,000 per year, their families lack access to food, medical services and fair labor opportunities; often living in small, old trailer homes without drinking water, electricity or transportation.
The devastating impact of this chronic poverty was documented in the “Assessment of Poverty, Food Access and Hunger in the Chamizal Region,” a report produced by La Mujer Obrera in the fall of 2010, which found that 82% of farm-worker households were food insecure, and 49% were food insecure with hunger. The report shed light on the need to design a food system to address food insecurity by increasing access to fresh food and by empowering the most vulnerable members of our community: single parent households, women, youth and farm workers.
For SURCO members, developing a strong, regional and sustainable food shed is the primary step towards achieving the full development of low-income area residents in the Paso del Norte- Southern New Mexico region.
For information about SURCO programming please contact: Alma Maquitico, SURCO Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org