The history of Local Organic Meals on a Budget

In February of 2011, Tony D'Agostino contacted Sarah Noss, the executive director (at the time) of the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute and Tony McCarty, the executive director of Kitchen Angels, with an idea. After reading too many stories in the news about pesticides, contaminated food, obesity, diabetes – and most especially, unlabeled GMOs (genetically modified organisms) – he felt there must be something Santa Fe as a community could do to counter these issues.

The idea: get people excited about cooking healthy, delicious meals with local and organic foods – and make it affordable. Buying certified organic, or local food (and knowing from the farmer how it's grown), ensures you're not consuming GMOs or pesticides. It also supports the local economy and the organic farming movement, and is better for your health, the environment and the planet in many ways. The concept was to build cooking classes and quick, easy recipes around those principles to make eating healthy fun.

The response from both organizations was enthusiastic and in the next three months an organizing committee put together the logistics: lining up volunteer chefs, putting together menu guidelines, creating educational materials, setting up a website and promoting the classes to the community.

On Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 Local Organic Meals on a Budget presented its first class at Kitchen Angels' commercial kitchen with a full house of 30 people in attendance. Comments from attendees were overwhelmingly positive: "Excellent instructor!", "Way better than I expected!  And really, really fun!", "Very informative – got many good tips", "Thank you sooo much. This is such a wonderful concept and this class specifically was great." and "Keep up the good work!" were feedback on the first classes.

Soon after, Amy Hetager and Home Grown New Mexico joined the coalition of organizations and the inaugural season continued through December with sold-out classes. After a hiatus from January until May, the cooking classes resumed in June 2012 with another series of very well-received and informative sessions and a growing library of recipes and website resources. Many of the classes were recorded and are being offered on DVD to further expand the mission of LOMB beyond Santa Fe.

In 2013, the Santa Fe School of Cooking joined the community partnership and is hosting the classes in their brand new, state-of-the-art teaching facility with a gorgeous kitchen that accommodates 55 attendees. Our line-up of chefs promises another series of inspiring, creative cooking classes and more opportunities to educate while promoting the benefits of healthy eating for less. Stay tuned – the best is yet to come!



2013 Schedule of classes

  • June 18thTracy Ritter, Executive Chef and Culinary Director, The Santa Fe School of Cooking
  • July 17thRoland & Sheila Richter, Chef & Restaurant Owners, Joe’s Dining
  • August 21stRyan Gable, Chef, The Palace Restaurant
  • Sept. 18thErin Wade, Chef & Restaurant Owner, Vinaigrette
  • Oct. 16thHarry Shapiro & Peyton Young, Chefs, Cookbook Authors & Restaurant Owners, Harry’s Roadhouse
  • Nov. 20thAndrew Cooper, Executive Chef, Terra, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado
  • Dec. 18thDanny Rhodes & Matthew Sherrill, Gluten Free Sauces & Raw Foods


2012 Classes and Presenters

  • A Celebration of Peas – Harry Shapiro & Peyton Young / Owners, Harry's Roadhouse
  • The “4 Meals, 4 Ingredients, 2 Chefs” Challenge – Kim Müller, Foodcraft (formerly of Real Food Nation) and Tracy Ritter (former owner of Whistling Moon Cafe and Prana)
  • Bella Pasta & Fresh Mozzarella – Roland & Sheila Richter / Owner, Joe's Dining
  • Vegetarian Delights – Sharon Crayton, Chef and Cookbook Author
  • Easy Weekday Meals / Quick Weekend Prep – Amy Hetager and Zahira Carr
  • Canning, Preserving & Freezing – Dena Aquilina / Beneficial Farms
  • Healthy New Mexican Food – Lois Ellen Frank / Red Mesa Catering
  • Salsa, Jams, Chutneys, Pesto – Amy Hetager and Mary Pat Butler
  • The Colorful World of Greens – Erin Wade / Owner, Vinaigrette
  • Fruit & Desserts – Keegan Crumpacker / Owner, Crumpacker's Cafe & Bakeshop
  • Yummy Roots & Shoots – Patrick Lambert / Chef, The Cowgirl
  • Soups & Stews to Cure The Blues – Anthony & Lisa Damiano, SŪP Restaurant
  • Holiday Entertaining Essentials – Andrew Cooper, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado


2011: Our inaugural season's presenters

  • Michelle Roetzer, Head Chef, SFCC Culinary Arts Department
  • Tanya Story, Chef, SFCC Culinary Arts Department
  • Armand Saiia, Infinity Farm
  • Sharon Louise Crayton, Chef, Cookbook Author, Former Restaurant Owner
  • Marc Howard, Enthusiastic Home Chef & Goldsmith
  • Canning & Preserving Class Loretta Fresquez, Monte Vista Organic Farm, Amy Hetager, Home Grown New Mexico & Dena Aquilina, Beneficial Farms
  • Harry Shapiro & Peyton Young, Harry's Roadhouse
  • Virginia Martin, Food Educator & Mary Pat Butler, Cooking Enthusiast
  • John Connell, Personal Chef and Caterer
  • Lynn Walters and Jane Stacey, Cooking with Kids Founder, Former Restaurant Owner
  • Lois Ellen Frank, Chef, Author, Native Foods Historian
  • Tracy Ritter, Chef, Former Restaurant Owner
  • Katharine Kagel, Cafe Pasqual's Founder, Chef, Cookbook Author