DIG IN! with Nourish Colorado – April Newsletter

Dear Partner,   Welcome to April’s newsletter. The warm sun, early morning birds, occasional snowstorm, and emerging fruit blossoms are a feast for the senses, and a welcome transition from Winter. These days feel healing as well, as we spend more time outside, with others, planting new crops – whether on a back porch, garden plot, or farm. This time to heal, with the help of Mother Nature, is much needed.     On top of pandemic fatigue, we ended March with new traumas as well. A hateful attack on the Asian American community in Atlanta, reflecting ongoing and escalating violence against the AAPI community nationally. And then a mass shooting right here, at my neighborhood grocery store in Boulder. My store, where I do all of our shopping, where my kids go alone to grab snacks, where I know so many of the gracious workers. My personal sense of loss and anger is compounded by a sense of deep injustice about the loss of life of our frontline workers, those who never missed work in a pandemic and the woman who was shopping for someone else as an Instacart shopper. As we shared on our social media, it is beyond time to have a government in place that makes decisions For The People. We can make change When We All Vote to urge the Senate to pass the For The People Act. Read the letter and take action here.     We also have much to look forward to and keep working toward. You will read below that things are gearing up with Double Up Food Bucks, LoProCO and culinary trainings, are hopping at the state legislature, and are moving along in Congress with the new infrastructure bill and Child Nutrition Reauthorization hearings. In the same spirit of moving forward, we have also recently added our Guiding Values and Commitments to our website, placing them front and center on our “About” page. We would love for you to engage with us and help us to see where we are – and are not – living out these values by leaving comments here.    With deep gratitude to you for working with us, teaching us, and leading us along the way,   Wendy & the Nourish Colorado Team 
HEALTHY FOOD INCENTIVES
Double Up Food Bucks Summer Markets! Beginning this month farmers markets, farm stands, and community supported agriculture shares (CSAs) are re-opening for the season! Along with that, all our Double Up Food Bucks stores will be packed with farm-fresh, Colorado-grown produce! Check out our new map of which locations will be offering our Double Up Food Bucks program near you and support these Double Up markets when you shop this season.
HEALTHY FOOD IN INSTITUTIONS
Local Procurement Colorado (LoProCO)  We have a couple great LoProCO calls lined up for you all! On April 27th at 2pm, we have 4 Food Service Directors from Colorado joining us to share their experiences with their farm-to-school journey. Some are just beginning their journey while the others have crafted their path for years! And don’t forget about our Culinary Demo where we are featuring mushrooms and onions – two delicious CO-grown items that are foundations for flavor! Register here. Our May call will happen on the 19th at 2pm. Rainey Wikstrom from The Healthy People Project will be joining us as our topic is all about Building Your Story – Ideas for Promoting Your Farm to School Efforts. Rainey will be joined by a group of Food Service Directors as they share how they crafted their farm-to-school story and promoted it out. For Culinary – It’s May and that means it’s finally the growing season for GREENS!!! Chef Fernando will talk about all the different leafy greens out there, the technique behind making a vinaigrette, and a handful of other ways to eat your leafy greens that isn’t in a salad! Please register hereSpringtime Culinary Trainings Springtime is in full swing; most school districts are back from break and we’re going to finish out the school year with a bang! Our last Meal Quality Training with the CDE (of a 4-part series) will be on April 21st at 2 p.m. and you can register here. We will be discussing ways to utilize excess product and get ready for the Summer Meal Program or the next school year. In other training news, we’ll be teaching the culinary part of the Cooking Matters/CDPHE trainings for Early Childhood Education this month. Check out the event page for more info. Lastly, we want to share some evaluation results from our last Meal Quality training with the CDE. Results show that there was a significant increase in knowledge in all the learning objectives. We share this because not only is it gratifying to see, but it also motivates us to keep doing what we love to do. 
HEALTHY FOOD SYSTEMS POLICY
Legislation is Blooming Everywhere! April snows(!) bring May flowers. And an extended legislative session brings much legislation and budget activity. The state budget is almost finalized (another week or so) and as of now we have secured an additional $300,000 in the Healthy Food Incentive Fund to support Double Up Food Bucks and the Produce Box program! The fund will have a total of $500,000 to use as match to draw down additional federal money for incentive match, as well as enabling us to continue the Produce Box program that provides locally produced, fresh fruits and vegetables to participants in the Women, Infant, Children program and older adult congregate care program. Incentive funds improve nutrition security for consumers, provide income for producers, and have a positive impact on the economy. What’s not to like about this? It’s not finished yet, so don’t pop the champagne corks just yet… In the meantime, the legislature has continued working on farmworker rights, immigration, and HB1105, an energy assistance bill that has a significant nutrition security component. You can find out more about all these bills through our state bill tracker. Federally, we remain focused on COVID response and Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). Nourish Colorado is currently co-hosting a three-part webinar series for people interested in applying for some of the many federal assistance grants that are available now or will be currently forthcoming. Check out the policy blog for more information. You can also visit our federal bill tracker to monitor all the CNR marker bills, as well as other bills we’re following. 
FOOD SYSTEMS CHANGEMAKERS
April Funder Spotlight The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (ABCBS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together in partnership with local, regional, and national organizations, the ABCBS Foundation is committed to mobilizing strategic programs supporting our mission to improve lives and communities. ABCBS Foundation funding is focused on providing innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting our Healthy Generations Program – a multi-generational initiative addressing six key conditions: Heart Health, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, Behavioral Health, and Healthy Active Lifestyles.     Following the outbreak of COVID-19, ABCBS and its Foundation pivoted quickly to address immediate needs of our communities in the wake of wide-sweeping physical, mental, and economic challenges. One of the earliest and most significant issues to address was food insecurity, in which our partnerships with cornerstone organizations such as Nourish Colorado played a key role in making sure we were doing our part to support Coloradans’ access to healthy, nutritious foods.     We also directly acknowledge that COVID-19 magnified many of the deep-seated inequities that exist within our health care system, represented by the social unrest that has rippled across the country. ABCBS has always been connected and invested across underserved communities, and will remain steadfast in our commitment to address the social determinants that dictate individuals’ and families’ ability to achieve their best sense of wellness. By increasing access to critical resources, our desire is to rework the fabric of our system to close the gaps on health disparities for minority populations.   We’re grateful for the presence of Nourish Colorado as an organization that helps us bring this mission to life, and look forward to the impacts and stories to be created through our partnership. 
Webinar Updates April is webinar mania! We are co-hosting several webinars in April that are either coming up soon or already available on our YouTube channel, including a 3-part series to help break down barriers to applying for federal food systems grants, many of which will be released soon with unprecedented amounts of funding. Watch webinar #1: Framing & Developing Federal Food Systems Grants. Watch webinar #2: Stories of Past Federal Food System Grant Applicants. Register for webinar #3: How To Improve the Federal Grant Process on Wednesday, April 28 at 3pm MDT. There are many bills being heard this state legislative session that focus on advancing immigrants’ rights and removing past barriers to civil rights for undocumented residents. We co-hosted a webinar on Immigrants Rights Legislation & Healthy Food Access with Hunger Free Colorado, the Removing Barriers Coalition, and others today. Check out the recording
Opportunities & Resources We keep an updated events calendar on our website to host the incredible meetings and events happening in the food systems space that we are aware of. We promote both Nourish Colorado events and partner event opportunities. We also update our job board with Nourish Colorado jobs as well as partner career opportunities. Please submit any upcoming events and details or open job opportunities you’d like to share to Amber Clemetson. Let’s Dig In! Together to Transform the Food System Thank you for digging in with us again this month, and we hope you continue to read our newsletter 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. Through an individual contribution or a corporate sponsorship, we most respectfully ask that you contribute whatever you can, whenever you can, to support our work and help us in these endeavors. For every part you play in transforming the food system, we appreciate you!
Nourish Colorado   Nourish Colorado 1490 Lafayette St., #403 Denver, CO 80218   Get In Touch Support Our Work  
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