Lujan Grisham’s PED proposes burdensome school lunch changes

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) is seeking public feedback on a newly proposed regulation overhauling the state’s school lunch program. This initiative comes amid concerns about the quality and consumption of the meals provided under the existing program, which has been promoted as providing free lunches to students, though funded by taxpayers.

The proposed changes, open for comment until May 29, 2024, include ambitious requirements for school districts categorized under “level 1” and “level 2”. For “level 1” districts, the proposal mandates that half of all meals must be freshly prepared in an onsite kitchen. Additionally, schools are expected to offer at least three items weekly from local farms, ranches, or food businesses. 

A significant shift toward local sourcing includes directives for no less than fifty percent of schools within a school food authority to either grow food on campus or provide educational resources promoting locally sourced nutrition.

The proposal also highlights a focus on sustainability, requiring at least fifty percent of schools in a school food authority to implement composting programs. This aspect of the proposal aims to address waste management but raises concerns about practical challenges, such as space constraints in urban settings and the inherent risks of composting in arid regions like New Mexico.

Critics of the proposal argue that while some components are beneficial, the overall regulation could impose undue burdens on school districts, potentially leading to massive costs and logistical challenges. Questions are being raised about the feasibility of schools growing their own food, the adequacy of safety measures for food preparation, and the management of composting programs.

Feedback on the proposed changes can be sent to the New Mexico PED via email at or through mail to the Policy and Legislative Affairs Division at the specified address in Santa Fe.

This proposal comes at a time when New Mexico schools face broader educational challenges, being ranked 52nd nationally on the NAEP assessments. The debate over these proposed changes highlights the balance policymakers must achieve between innovative nutrition education and the practicalities of implementation in diverse school settings. Find out more about the proposed rule here.


20 thoughts on “Lujan Grisham’s PED proposes burdensome school lunch changes”

  1. I usually oppose the so called green solutions to false environmental issues. But I actually support better food in the schools. Unfortunately for the schools more time should be granted for lunch periods. You can’t eat fast as in a fast food joint if you are eating quality food. Of course, there’s no guarantee that local sourcing or onsite kitchens will provide better food. However, it may be better than the garbage I understand is served in school cafeterias now.

    If the parents are foisting McDonald’s and other fast junk food on the kids, they will not learn what good food and good nutrition might do for them. Of course, the kids love French fries and potato chips and hate broccoli, but there are alternatives that are good.

    And how does NM rate 52nd? I assume that isn’t out of 50 states.

      1. DC & Puerto Rico I suspension are in that data collection set. Point being New Mexico is definitely at the bottom of the list.

    1. Agreed schools lunches are atrocious packaged canned frozen crap. No real foods
      Mc Donald’s is the food standard in NM.

    2. Schools are for “Education” not for feeding kids free meals on my dime. Providing food at schools is not a necessity. If the parents cannot provide food or clothes for their kids, they should not have any. I’m tired of paying for other peoples responsibilities especially when many of them pay no taxes.

    3. They rank New Mexico 52nd in education because they apparently count D.C and Puerto Rico as states too. Their not. D.C in fact shouldn’t be a U.S state at all. The Left and today’s Democratic Party have been trying to make D.C a state for some time. Constitutionally and legally, they cannot do that. Making D.C a state actually violates the Constitution. D.C should never be a state. It was never supposed to be a state. Puerto Rico is a little different. Making Puerto Rico into a state I believe doesn’t violate the Constitution. But making D.C one does. But anyway, I digress. Yeah, they count D.C and Puerto Rico as states in education rankings and stuff like that. Don’t know why they do it, but they do. Either way, New Mexico’s education system absolutely freaking sucks! Geez, I wonder why. Maybe it’s because of the woke policies that are being put in schools in New Mexico right now. But, unfortunately, NM has been ranked badly in education for many years. So this isn’t new.

    1. This is just ignorance on steroids! Small communities don’t have access to locally grown foods, but because they usually serve out of one kitchen usually have better meals. Larger schools may only cook from one or two kitchens and deliver to other sites to save on equipment & staff. One size doesn’t fit all and regulating from Santa Fe is absolutely asinine!!

  2. I support healthy food. I think that this could be a wonderful development. Montessori farm schools have done the same. You want to have the mid- and highschoolers learn to ‘ run’ the farming, under supervision. This could be a great practical life learning tool, if implemented the right way. Elementary students could learn the gardening part, depending on the age group.
    Please learn from Montessori schools! They are the currently the most advanced in education.

    1. Kids in most NM schools should be taught how to read and do math. Most do not even get that. If you want to garden, have your parents buy you a tomato plant.

  3. Frankly if a family/parent cannot provide breakfast and lunch for their child, Child Protective Service should investigate the situation. The burden of providing free meals should not fall on the school districts. This is just treating the symptom and not the root cause.

  4. The US government has been doing nutrition studies through the AG Department since the 1800s. And one of the things they came up with is that whole milk is important for brain development and brain support for children of all ages as well as adults. The brain needs that milk fat. And another thing they found out is that capitalistic agriculture provides better nutrition than home food plots. It is great for kids to learn about farming. And, while they are at it, they should learn to appreciate the actual farmers and how hard it is to farm. This is just another way of raising food prices and taxes.

  5. Ever since the government started caring for the children it has all gone down hill. More child abuse, more delinquents, more young criminals. Parent are not allowed to discipline and government won’t so what do we have. Right now look at the brats at the colleges. Destruction will not be disciplined and the hardworking Americans will have to pay for it.

  6. Thousands of meals to be served, think about the problems with the proposal. There has to be room for processed food or school kitchens will be preparing 24 hours per day.

  7. This will all be solved when we adopt the chinese method. Remove the children from the parents at age 3, put them in dorm schools until they reach 18, they will be perfect subjects by then.

  8. Talking with a school representative this program is not only a waste, but DISGUSTING, poor quality of food and kids are getting sick. When McDonalds is a safer ,better choice that should say something.

  9. Obama mama tried this and it was an abject failure. The kids did not like it and 80% went in the garbage. Make the parents pay or send a bag lunch. OR take the kid away.

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