Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute Kitchen Angels LOMB News



Santa Fe Reporter

Finger-lickin' Cheap

Longing to eat sustainably at a low cost?

By Mia Rose Carbone, Santa Fe Reporter

Recently, a group of chefs, organizers and partners in a local collaboration called Local Organic Meals on a Budget gathered in the kitchen-class-dining room of the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The SFSC space accommodates 55 students, and a large mirror overhangs the countertop so that even those in the back of the class can see the ingredients, desserts, dinner or appetizers demonstrated before them.

This particular evening, the space hosts a reception of sorts for the beginning of LOMB’s third season. On June 19, the $22 classes begin with chef Tracy Pikhart Ritter (pictured), who will demonstate how to create multiple affordable, organic meals from one locally raised chicken.

Local Organic Meals on a Budget is a collaboration between the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute, Home Grown New Mexico, Kitchen Angels and, most recently, the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The “community endeavor”—as Tony D’Agostino, one of the founding members of the program, calls it—is a program that provides the public with tools to shop, cook and eat locally, organically and affordably.

Three years ago, D’Agostino began mapping out a way to provide community awareness about buying and cooking locally grown, healthy food.

“It was something that came out of my frustration with how difficult it is to avoid [genetically modified organisms] and pesticides in food,” D’Agostino says of his idea to create a series of affordable classes focused on healthy, low-cost, home-based cooking.

Most people, D’Agostino says, don’t realize how much of the food they consume contains GMOs and toxins. “When I found out how prevalent [GMOs and pesticides] were, I thought, ‘What does somebody do [about it]?’”

The answer, he says, is to eat locally grown meals, talk to the farmers who grow the food and ask them whether their produce contains GMOs or pesticides.

But the big question—the one that keeps many people from buying pricier but less toxic foods—is, “How do I afford them?” Figuring out the answer to that question led D’Agostino and his original collaborators—former executive director of the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute Sarah Noss and executive director of Kitchen Angels Tony McCarty—to start LOMB.

It’s cheaper to cook at home than to dine out, D’Agostino says. So, rather than pay inflated restaurant prices, spend a little more money on chemical-free, non-GMO ingredients to cook by hand. If the public has the tools to cook quick, inexpensive and healthy meals, “maybe there won’t be a need for Kitchen Angels”—a nonprofit organization that prepares and delivers food to those dealing with challenging health conditions—McCarty adds.

LOMB’s solution: offer classes taught by professional, local, health-focused chefs, with tips for buying organic, locally grown products on the cheap; teach techniques for cooking the food; and offer delicious recipes that serve a family of four for under $20.

This year’s lineup of chefs includes Harry’s Roadhouse owners Harry Shapiro and Peyton Young; Joe’s Dining owner Roland Richter; Vinaigrette owner Erin Wade; and Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado executive chef Andrew Cooper.

LOMB, D’Agostino says, “is a way for us to come together as a community, support local farmers, change our attitude toward pesticides and really know where our food comes from.” But the main impetus behind Local Organic Meals on a Budget is that it’s a fun, creative experience that puts the Earth’s bounty into our hands and bellies for, as D’Agostino puts it, “a whole new lifestyle” that can “turn the tide against GMOs, unhealthy diets” and preventable illness.

Sam Baca, program director of SFFMI, puts it best: “You can pay the farmer now or the doctor later.”

From the Santa Fe Reporter article on June 11, 2013

2013 Season Kick-off
Press Release


Santa Fe, NM — Following two successful seasons, the nonprofit collaboration known as Local Organic Meals on a Budget announces a third season of lively cooking classes, starting June 19, 2013 and running the 3rd Wednesday of each month through December. Previously held at the Kitchen Angels facility, the classes this year will take place at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The new venue will allow the program to accommodate 55 or more people in a more relaxed setting.

As in the past, classes are designed using ingredients available during each growing season. Each class is led by local, experienced chefs, including Harry Shapiro and Peyton Young (Harry’s Roadhouse), Roland and Sheila Richter (Joe's Dining), Erin Wade (Vinaigrette), Andrew Cooper (Terra at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado) among others. Class participants not only learn how to create great dishes using seasonal selections, they learn strategies on how to stretch food from local gardens, CSAs and the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. Each class is also filled with tips, tricks and techniques to enhance the at-home cooking experience.

Kicking off the season on Wednesday June 19th will be Tracy Ritter, Executive Chef and Culinary Director at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. She is considered an expert in nutritional cuisine with an emphasis on Southwestern flavors, and her Southwestern cuisine was featured on the cover of Bon Appetit Magazine's "Guide to the Best Restaurants in America" and in a six page feature in Art Culinaire magazine.

“Our focus continues to be fast, inexpensive and healthy meals that can be cooked at home and are in harmony with the seasons,” according to Tony D’Agostino, one of the founding organizers of the group. “Partnering with the Santa Fe School of Cooking this year adds an additional element of excitement to our schedule of classes.”

Representatives from local organizations Kitchen Angels, the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute and Home Grown New Mexico have pooled their resources and expertise to offer the classes, which teach participants how to create a filling meal for 4 people under $20.

Classes start at 5:30 and run for 90 minutes; each class is $22 and participants will enjoy tastings of the meal being prepared and will be provided with the recipes. Classes are free for WIC and EBT recipients. Participants need to register in advance on the LOMB website (

This year LOMB features a new and expanded website. In addition to the schedule of classes and chef bios, the site now includes tips on gardening, food preservation and a wide variety of recipes using local, season ingredients.

Local Organic Meals on a Budget 2013 Schedule of Classes

6/19 Tracy Ritter – Santa Fe School of Cooking
7/17 Roland & Sheila Richter – Joe's Dining
8/21 Ryan Gambel – The Palace Restaurant
9/18 Erin Wade – Vinaigrette
10/16 Harry Shapiro & Peyton Young – Harry’s Roadhouse
11/20 Andrew Cooper – Terra at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado
12/18 Danny Rhodes & Matthew Sherrill – French Sauces & Raw Food Chefs

# # #

See class descriptions


2012 Articles about LOMB

The Santa Fe New Mexican article

Nonprofit proves organic meals can be budget-friendly


By: Candelora Versace / For The New Mexican
Published online: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Following its successful inaugural run last year, the nonprofit collaboration known as Local Organic Meals on a Budget is ready to launch its second season with a full roster of classes taught by local chefs. While the organization has made some changes, its basic mission remains unchanged: It's possible to feed a family of four a meal made with local, organic foods without breaking the bank.

According to founding organizer Tony D'Agostino, keeping the cost of that meal at less than $20 remains the goal and the challenge, and it's entirely doable with a little planning. "Last year, we asked the chefs to bring their own recipes and create the menus. This year, we are creating themes for each class based more specifically on what's available during the growing season," he said. "The goal is the same: You can create fast, inexpensive and healthy meals in harmony with the seasons."

Scheduled for every second and fourth Wednesday of each month, the classes start Wednesday and will run through Dec. 12. The 90-minute classes cost $18 per person and include a food tasting. Classes are for free for WIC and EBT clients.

The first class, "A Celebration of Peas," will feature Harry Shapiro and Peyton Young, chefs and owners of Harry's Roadhouse, who will show participants how to make entrées with fresh snap peas, English peas, pea shoots and sprouts. On June 27, former Real Food Nation chef Kim Muller (now operating a private catering business called Foodcraft) and former Whistling Moon owner Tracy Ritter will take part in "The 4-2-4 Chef Challenge," in which the two chefs will create four meals with four ingredients.

Other classes include: "Bella Pasta and Fresh Mozzarella," taught by Roland Richter of Joe's Dining on July 11; "The Colorful World of Greens," taught by Erin Wade of Vinaigrette on Oct. 10; and "Yummy Roots and Shoots," taught by Patrick Lambert of Cowgirl BBQ on Nov. 14.

"We had a great year last year," D'Agostino said. "Most classes sold out, and we had great responses."

The classes are limited to 30 participants, and reservations are encouraged. The classes take place at the Kitchen Angels facility in the Coll-Green Angel Depot, 1222 Siler Road.

This year, D'Agostino said Home Grown New Mexico became a sponsor for the classes. The organization joins Kitchen Angels and the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute as sponsors.

"Home Grown New Mexico offers free classes to the public for learning to garden, have backyard chickens, beekeeping, cooking and other community homesteading activities," said Home Grown New Mexico board member Amy Hetager via email.

"Cooking and food preservation are important part of our mission, and we are happy to work with LOMB to provide the cooking classes," Hetager wrote. "We are working with Dena Aquilina from Beneficial Farms CSA for a food preservation class in August to show canning, preserving and drying as options for saving food."

Local Organic Meals on a Budget is entirely run by volunteers, D'Agostino said, and has depended on the passion and willingness of the participants -- the chefs, the army of helpers who assist at classes and the students themselves, who bring enthusiasm and curiosity to the table. "Several chefs brought their own food, some even brought their own dishes, to the classes last year," he said. This year, the group also has received a large donation of food staples from Whole Foods.

For more information, visit To register by phone, call Kitchen Angels at 471-7780.


Lynn Cline article from 2012

Cook Like a Pro

Santa Fe Cuisine Scene

By: Lynn Cline / For
Published online: June 2012

If, like me, you long to know precisely how your favorite chefs cook with local ingredients, then you should enroll in Local Organic Meals on a Budget's cooking classes, held June 13 through the end of December on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. Classes take place in the commercial kitchen of Kitchen Angels, located at 1222 Siler Road.

Learn to make fresh mozzarella, savory soups, and stews, flavorful salsas, jams, chutneys and pesto, along with the fooddcrafts of canning, preserving and freezing. Participating chefs include Ahmed Obo of Jambo Café, Roland Richter of Joe's Diner, Vinaigrette's Erin Wade, Red Mesa Catering's Lois Ellen Frank, Foodcraft's Kim Muller and The Cowgirl's Patrick Lambert.

The first class, Celebration of Peas, takes place Wednesday, June 13, featuring Harry Shapiro and Peyton Young of Harry's Roadhouse working with a seasonal abundance of pea varieties to make original pasta and risotto dishes featuring fresh English peas, snap peas, pea shoots and pea sprouts.

Organizers hope to teach participants how to make healthy, filling meals for four people for under $20. Students will not only earn how to make nutritious dishes, they'll enjoy tasting what they make as well.

“Our focus continues to be fast, inexpensive and healthy meals that can be cooked at home and are in harmony with the seasons,” says Tony D’Agostino, one of the founding organizers of Local Organic Meals on a Budget.

The classes are organized by local groups that have pooled their resources and expertise, including Kitchen Angels, the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute and Home Grown New Mexico.