|Welcome to our inaugural newsletter!All of us at Nourish Colorado, formerly known as LiveWell Colorado, are excited to continue to work with you to build a food system that nourishes all Coloradans. We will use this monthly newsletter to share updates and invite discussion about our statewide initiatives, policy advocacy work, and partnerships. |
While we are certainly eager to share our new name, logo, and focused adventure here with you, we also acknowledge challenges and pain being felt across our country. We are in the middle of a pandemic that has killed almost 400,000 Americans and over 2 million people worldwide, disproportionately impacting Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. The pandemic has also damaged our economy and left many people without jobs, which has in turn dramatically increased food insecurity across the state and nation while clearly demonstrating gaps and inadequacies of our food system.
Against the pandemic backdrop, this country has experienced 4 years of an increasing number of policies that have harmed BIPOC people, women, immigrants, and people experiencing poverty. We recognize the beliefs behind these policies are nothing new in America, but they have had a voice and platform like never before. We have seen attempted dismantling of school nutrition standards, inadequate allocation of SNAP and other benefits, and woefully poor COVID response for small, BIPOC, and direct market farmers. We know that current food policies can bring harm, but we look forward to working with the new administration so that food can be used to promote health, equity, and vitality.
We are determined to transform our food system so that ALL people – regardless of race, geography, or means – have access to nutritious food. Determined to be part of the solution in dismantling the racism so pervasive in our society. Determined to move steadily forward while not forgetting how we got here.
Obviously, we can’t do this alone. We are grateful to have all of you as our partners and we look to you help guide us as to how we can help propel society forward toward one America where nutritious food is a right, not a privilege. We look forward to this journey with you.
|HEALTHY FOOD INCENTIVES: WHAT’S NEW?|
|We are pleased to announce that we have received a USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentives Program (GusNIP) grant. This 3-year grant will fund Double Up Food Bucks Colorado operations from fall 2020 – 2023. This opportunity allows our state to continue supporting the amazing work of markets, retailers, and farmers offering SNAP incentives. Along with the continuation of Double Up, the GusNIP grant will: Fund over $2 million in SNAP incentives over three years Support direct mailers to SNAP participants in partnership with Colorado Department of Human Services statewide Ensure nutrition education continues to be offered at participating locations in partnership with Cooking Matters Colorado Support three regional Community Food Advocates Expand a Save A Lot partnership to allow Double Up access in grocery stores Support value chain coordination efforts to ensure Colorado growers can distribute to new markets and retailers. |
We are excited to continue working with you to ensure all Coloradans have access to fresh fruits and vegetables!
|Double Up Food Bucks Still Available Through Winter!Summer farmers market season may have come to a close, but Double Up Food Bucks continues. From winter farmers markets, to corner stores, to our newest partner, Save A Lot in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Double Up is still available around the state! 2020 was a big year for Double Up, as the need for food assistance increased throughout the state. To see how some of our sites made sure their communities received food, check it out here. Check out our website map for what locations are open through the winter months. Contact Amy Nelms to connect and learn more.|
|Colorado Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP)CNIP, most commonly known as the WIC & Older Adult produce box program, grew significantly in 2020 due to state healthy food incentive funds and additional state COVID relief dollars, as well as the support of Kaiser Permanente and the Emergency Hunger Relief Fund, which allowed us to extend the weekly produce program so it operated June-December 2020. Funds distributed through Nourish Colorado provided Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce shares purchased from local partnering farms to participants in Older Adult Congregate Meal Programs and in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This initiative increases opportunities for food insecure Coloradans to consume more fresh, Colorado-grown produce on a weekly basis. Thanks to the dedication of staff from 23 different county agencies and 47 partner farms, over $550,000 worth of fruit and veggie shares were purchased in 2020 through this initiative. The program provided weekly produce shares to approximately 1,400 WIC households and 300 households with older adults. In 2020, the program focused on partnering with older adult meal programs in rural and mountain communities and with WIC programs in urban, suburban, rural, and frontier communities across the state. For more information about the produce box program in general and plans for 2021, contact Wendy Peters Moschetti.|
|HEALTHY FOOD IN INSTITUTIONS: LATEST UPDATES|
|Local Procurement Colorado (LoProCO) 2020 provided us a chance to reflect upon and refine the LoProCO workshop model to continue ensuring we meet the needs of our varied audiences. We are excited to move into 2021 with an expanded 3-part workshop series that happens over the course of a year, with new modules specifically targeting farmers and producers along with locally focused recipe development. We are also launching monthly calls in January, all designed to continue building education surrounding the landscape of local procurement and how our institutions, like schools, fit in. Join us for our next call tentatively set for Thursday, Feb 25 at 2pm. Contact Chef Jess Wright to connect and learn more.|
|Culinary TrainingsAfter a year of adapting our in-person trainings to a virtual platform, and identifying ways to safely hold our trainings live, we are excited to continue supporting food service programs in Colorado throughout 2021. Our work with our State Agencies, school districts, and local partners remains as productive as ever with virtual trainings happening in the next few months. We continue to receive positive feedback and evaluation results showing that our commitment to developing trainings tailored to our audiences give tangible outcomes. Contact Chef Fez Cardona to connect and learn more.|
|HEALTHY FOOD POLICY: PANDEMIC & BEYOND|
|An election. An ongoing pandemic. An insurrection. A Colorado legislature that gaveled in and then out again in three days. A Presidential inauguration. Policy and politics. 2020 was a lot. 2021 is certainly getting our attention. If you want to keep up to date on farm and food system policy, with a dose of politics thrown in, you’re in the right place. If you’re just looking for brief updates, the newsletter should get you where you want to go. If you want more in depth information, check out our monthly policy blog. The Colorado Legislature gaveled in on Wednesday, January 16, took care of some pressing business, and gaveled back out until Tuesday, February 16. Because – pandemic. When the legislature reconvenes, we will be looking to add $300,000 to the Healthy Food Incentive fund that supports Double Up Food Bucks and the Produce Box Program. Speaking of the pandemic, in December, Congress finally passed a $900 billion COVID relief package while also passing the $1.4 trillion federal budget. And, President Biden has already proposed an additional $1.9 trillion relief package. All eyes are on the US Senate to see how that goes. While these relief measures (and the federal budget) contain some good news for farm and food systems, more can and should be done to ensure everyone has access to nutritious food during this pandemic and beyond. We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to seeing you back here next month! Contact Terri Livermore to connect and learn more.|
|Nourish Colorado is incredibly grateful to have participated in the Colorado Farm and Food System Response Team since its inception almost 10 months ago. Our own work has been influenced and has grown stronger due to the work of the CFFSRT. Nourish continues to provide fiscal management and project support for the CFFSRT, and the Team is currently discussing how its work will continue in the future. The CFFSRT ended the year with Round 3 of the Respond & Rebuild Fund. This round received $5,855,885 in requests and awarded $1,638,000 to 226 producers, 61 intermediaries, and 35 processors. Moving in to 2021, the Team will soon be launching a business development technical assistance pilot, a Training & Capacity Building small grants fund and will continue hosting it’s monthly Thursday statewide calls at 11am! For more information on the Team, read the 6-month report, sign up to receive CFFSRT email updates, join us on Slack, or email Wendy.|
|FOOD SYSTEM CHANGEMAKER HIGHLIGHT|
|January ChangemakerPatience Kabwasa, Food to Power in Colorado Springs |
Community Impact Our mission is to “cultivate a healthy, equitable food system in the greater Colorado Springs community. We work towards this through three pillars of action: food access, food education and food production. Using a “direct redistribution” model, we transport surplus healthy foods from local supermarkets, backyard gardens and cafeterias to 20+ nonprofit and community grocery programs. Food to Power engages an expansive network of volunteers and neighborhood partners to co-create healthy food access programs, with over $6 million of healthy groceries redistributed since 2013. And in and through the COVID-19 pandemic we have distributed over 330,000 pounds of food to our community. With food as the vehicle, our FLY (Food systems Leadership for Youth) paid internship for high school-aged youth focuses on economic justice, health equity, and how we all grow. Youth spend 10-weeks in the summer learning to cultivate, compost, and cook food. Soil Cycle is a social enterprise of Food to Power that aims to reduce waste, regenerate soil fertility, and reconnect the life/death cycle of food through community composting. We offer food scrap collection and drop off services on a pay what you can basis.
|Food Systems Impact We have recently changed our name from Colorado Spring Food Rescue to Food to Power because believe it better represents our full scope of work. We believe that access to fresh food can literally make our bodies more powerful, reduce diet-related illnesses, and increase energy levels. We believe that food production has the power to increase community and familial wealth. We believe that food scraps and food waste when composted have the power to create a healthier environment through building healthier soil, reducing Co2 emissions, and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. We believe that knowledge is power and therefore education programs in cooking, nutrition, gardening/farming, and food systems inequities can be powerful for people of all ages. We are working on creating Colorado Springs’s first neighborhood food center, the Hillside Hub. We envision this will be a space we can integrate all of our pillars of action; a place where neighbors can access, grow, cook, learn about, gain employment through, and advocate for fresh food. Get Involved! In one way or another food affects every aspect of our lives day and night. Because of the intersectionality food plays on other societal issues supporting food systems work is working to dismantle racial injustice, economic injustice, and environmental injustice. You can support by donating to the construction of the Hillside Hub. Please visit our website at www.foodtopowerco.org.|
|Working Together to Transform the Food SystemWe hope you enjoyed our inaugural Nourish Colorado newsletter, and hope you read along with us each month. If you haven’t already, please subscribe. We are working to sustain – and grow – our initiatives across the state and to do the advocacy we know must be done to make these efforts the norm. To help support our work, we most respectfully ask that you contribute whatever you can, whenever you can, to help us in these endeavors. For every part you play in transforming the food system, we appreciate you!|