After becoming very aware that I was in the jaws of death, futility trying to drive my swerving compact Hyundai rental car in a Southwestern snow storm (and realizing that I was physically unable to stop), I rented a 4WD truck and headed north to the town of Espanola, NM in Rio Arriba County. The meeting was held at the health council offices and convened by the department director. The first portion of the meeting was about forming a local food policy council. There were about 25 attendees who were mainly ranchers and farmers, as well as some health workers. The organizers conveyed that hosting this screening event - in late April - would be a great opportunity to let the community know about the council and get input/support. The second portion of the meeting, in which I presented, was met with a seemingly positive response.
A brief community snapshot: According to the health director, Rio Arriba, whose residents are mostly Hispanic and Native America, has a rate of diabetes and obesity roughly 3 times the rate of surrounding counties. There are high levels of poverty, and little nutritional food access. It also has the highest rate of substance-related death in the entire country. Yet, there are a lot of farmers and ranchers eager to sell locally. As one woman said in response to the film clips: "It makes me realize how lucky I am to live here. We have everything we need."
The trick is - bringing that abundance to the people in the community who need it most.