Reducing hunger in New Mexico one garden at a time!

2023 Year-End Report

As the 2023 growing season comes to an end, we thank all of the donors, property owners, and volunteers who made this season possible. All of the time, effort, and financial support you provided enabled us to harvest over fifty-six thousand pounds of fresh produce for the families in our community suffering from food insecurity.

Our total 2023 harvest was 56,017 pounds of produce, with 71% being fruit and 29% vegetables.

All produce grown and/or gleaned was donated to these food pantries in Sandoval and Bernalillo counties:

  • Casa Rosa Food Pantry St. Felix Pantry
  • Rio Grande Food Project The Storehouse
  • Roadrunner Food Bank
  • St. Felix Pantry
  • The Storehouse

2023 Achievements

  1. We started planting in early spring with broccoli and cabbage. Next came our primary crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and green chile; along with our secondary crops of cantaloupe, eggplant, and bell peppers. Our total vegetable yield this year was over 16,000 pounds.
  1. Volunteers contributed 4,534 hours helping Seed2Need. It was great seeing old friends out at the gardens and making new ones throughout the season. It’s the time and effort from our dedicated community volunteers as well as the contributions from various business organizations that make our mission successful.
  1. Thanks to a generous donation this year, we were able to build a small pole barn at the back of one of the properties. This new space is being used to house the tractor and much of the supplies and equipment that have been stored outside or in other locations, and overcrowding our primary supply shed.
  1. Although our vegetable crops were delayed by the heat, our fruit crops were very successful. The orchards in Corrales really saved our season, generating a bumper crop of fruit at nearly 40,000 pounds. The two Seed2Need orchards were productive, but the bulk of our fruit harvest came from seven other local orchards that contributed 30,036 pounds this year.
  1. Our new Farm Manager did an outstanding job maintaining the gardens, orchards, and equipment this year. We are so happy to have found such a dedicated and skilled person to work with Seed2Need. We’re also very pleased that he’ll be returning again next year.
  1. We have two new leadership team members this year whose support has been invaluable. With the addition of these fine gardeners, we not only expanded the team’s skill set and knowledge, but also the diversity of our team. They also helped fill in some of the availability gaps in our schedule.

2023 Challenges

1. We discovered a native parasitic plant called Desert Broomrape, which attached itself to the roots of our tomato plants preventing water and nutrients from getting to the primary host plant. Unfortunately, to prevent spread, we had to pull all the affected plants and lost ≈700 tomato plants. On a positive note, we grew tomatoes at two separate gardens which prevented a total loss.
2. We experienced higher than ideal temperatures (85-100+ °F) in the area for 110 of the 169 days in our growing season–that’s 65%. Because of the high temperatures (22 days above 100°F), our plants went into survival mode causing a delay in production and much lower yields of tomato and chile. Our broccoli and cabbage starts also didn’t yield well, further depressing our produce totals.

A Cornell University study found that when the temperature exceeds 85°F or falls below 50°F, tomatoes do not set new fruit and they are slow to ripen. This is due to the inhibition in production of lycopene and carotene, the pigments responsible for giving tomatoes their color. In addition, it has been found that reproduction is severely hindered above 95°F. Similarly, NMSU found that chile plant growth and fruit set are maximized when daytime temperatures range between 65 and 85°F, with nighttime temperatures of 60–70°F. Blossoms may not set if temperatures drop below 60°F or rise above 90°F.

2023 tomato yield vs. prior years

3. Due to personnel shortages, the food pantries we serve were only available to pick-up produce on 2 days a week vs. 3. Since cold storage is not an option, we had to rely on volunteers with trucks to help us distribute produce.
4. We faced some gaps in personnel coverage due to health and/or personal constraints this year. Guess that’s just life. So, while we added some very talented leaders in 2023, we’ve determined that we still need to identify 4-5 more and are actively looking for interested people to help round out our coverage.

2024 Summary Recommendations

  • Determine how to exterminate Desert Broomrape and find an alternate crop to plant in the affected area
  • Continue to focus on more heat/drought tolerant varieties of seeds to start
  • Consider starting some vegetables from seedlings (vs. all seed) due to labor intensity of seed starting
  • Recruit additional leadership team members
  • Find a more sustainable solution to the inability of food pantries to pick up produce

Thank you again for helping Seed2Need provide fresh fruit and vegetables to families in our community suffering from food insecurity. Your participation and continued support is greatly appreciated.

Board of Directors and Leadership Team


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here