Agriplex Green Farms, Inc., owned and operated by NHSDC, Inc. is a hydroponic, aquaponic and traditional greenhouse venture which began in 2012 with the goal of promoting sustainable farming practices throughout the Middle Rio Grande region. Produce grown is sold to local restaurants and to the public at NHSDC's farmer's market. This project has become part of NHSDC's grant funded initiative, the CDFI HFFI (Healthy Food Finance Initiative)  project. NHSDC is promoting agribusiness, health promotion and  small business growth to the community it serves through this project.

healthier living Initiative

CDFI HFFI is NHSDC's newest initiative designed to promote, educate, and market healthy foods to the community. NHSDC aims to promote and finance healthy food related businesses and increase the demand and consumption of more nutritious foods by promoting healthier lifestyles. NHSDC hosts community workshops to educate the public and local businesses about healthier living and about the profitability, ease and benefits of starting a greenhouse and practicing sustainable farming. NHSDC also began a local farmer's market, selling produce from its Agriplex operation and contributes monthly health related articles in the local paper all in effort to raise health awareness and create a demand for healthier foods. NHSDC offers financing for agribusiness start ups available to individuals and various small business in the area serviced by NHSDC, Inc. 




Monthly NHSDC, Inc. CDFI HFFI newspaper article:

healthier living Initiative

by Vanessa Estrada, MS,RD,LD



We are all familiar with the three classifications that categorize our weight, overweight, obese and normal weight but what do they mean?  How are those categories defined?  Healthcare practitioners utilize a person's body mass index or BMI to classify a person's weight.  A person's BMI is a number that is calculated from a person's height and weight, the resulting calculated number determines a person's weight category.  Weights in the overweight and obese category general mean that a person's weight is higher than what is considered healthy for their particular height resulting in a greater risk of chronic disease development, a higher risk of dying from heart disease, and a greater risk for dying earlier in life.  Yet, while BMI does categorize weight and there are numerous risk factors associated with high BMI numbers, it is important to note that it is more of a screening tool than a diagnostic tool.  It is not a direct measurement of body fat but rather an estimate of body fat.  More information and body measurements are required to determine if excess fat is a health problem.  An athlete, for example, with a muscular build may be classified as overweight but not have excess body fat.  BMI also doesn't take into account a person's current health factors that can cause future issues.  A person may be classified as normal weight but be considered at risk for chronic disease development if other health factors such as hypertension or abnormal cholesterol levels are present.


The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that two other predictors be taking into consideration along with BMI to determine potential health risks.  One is a person's waist size because excess abdominal fat is a predictor for the risk of overweight and obesity related diseases such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis among other conditions.  It is recommended that women maintain waist sizes below 35 inches and men below 40 inches.  The second is looking at a person's current risk factors for developing diseases and conditions associated with overweight and obesity such as lack of physical activity, high blood pressure and eating habits.  While BMI can be a useful health indicator, other health and lifestyle factors and body measurements do need to be considered.  BMI classification are as follows:  A person is classified as being of normal weight if his or her BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight with a BMI of 25.0-29.9 and obese with a BMI of 30 or higher.  You can go to the following link to utilize the CDC's online BMI calculator if you would like to know your number:


Knowing your BMI number can be a good tool in helping to either maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.  Keep in mind though that BMI classification is only part of the story.  It is important for everyone to know their body's overall health status.  Getting regular health screenings can help keep you informed of our health risks, and as always, regular exercise and a healthful diet are important in maintaining good health.  Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise plan or diet change.



Defining Overweight and Obesity:

Assessing your Weight and Health Risk:



This article is a part of the Healthier Living Initiative sponsored by NHSDC, to learn more visit our website at  Ms. Estrada is a consultant dietician and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  She is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of the Incarnate Word.