DIG IN! with Nourish Colorado – May Newsletter

Dear Partner,   Welcome to our May newsletter! According to The Old Farmers’ Almanac, May is named for a Roman Goddess, Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. Maia was considered a nurturer and Earth Goddess. We hope that, wherever you are in Colorado, you are finding ways to nurture yourself, your loved ones, and the plants you have sown in preparation for the harvest to come.    We have been busy sowing lots of proverbial seeds here at Nourish Colorado this month as well. In this edition, you will read about the coming of the Double Up season and how to support our outreach efforts, continued culinary trainings and local procurement webinars, and a seriously active state legislative session and federal policy activities related to food systems.    We also have an open partner survey. If you are a grower, food hub, farmers market, or retailer that we work with and you have not yet completed our partner survey — please take the survey to share your feedback with us! Through our various initiatives, we channel funds each year to local vendors, growers, and our local economies. We would like to better understand where these resources are going – who is benefiting from them, and who may not be. We love working with each and every one of you, and we know there are critical partners we may not yet be working with as well. Thus, we are trying to learn a bit more about our partners. We also want to understand if we can do a better job at working to connect our partners to other partners, programs, and opportunities.    This month we also ask that you join us in becoming a community co-sponsor of the Breathe Act. This week, May 25, 2021, marked one year since the killing of George Floyd. In honor of the lives stolen by police and state-sanctioned violence — Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Natasha McKenna, George Floyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Elijah McClain, Pearlie Golden, Kayla Moore, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, Oscar Grant, and far too many more — we ask that you support this visionary bill. Donations can also be made to the George Floyd Memorial Fund to help inform, unite, and engage our communities in the fight for justice.    — The Nourish CO Team 
Double Up Food Bucks Outreach Double Up Food Bucks season has begun at our participating farmers markets, farm stands, retailers, and community supported agriculture shares (CSAs). We know the best place to hear about the program is through a neighbor, friend, family member, and other personal connections, so we encourage you to use and share out our new Double Up Outreach Toolkit with your networks! We also have some newly designed free Double Up promotional materials available this year that can be ordered on the website and we will deliver them to you. All of these materials, including the Toolkit, are available in Spanish and English. Thanks for your help in promoting Double Up and making this season a success! 
Local Procurement Colorado (LoProCO)  As we move through May, we are very excited because our growing season is starting to ramp up! Soon enough we will begin seeing more locally grown produce becoming available and we look forward to sharing recipes and culinary videos giving you tips on how to use all of this wonderful produce coming our way! Sign up for the June LoProCO call on the 29th from 2-3pm. Our topic is “Sprouting Conversations: Building the Farm to School Movement.” We will dive into all of the different roles involved in this farm to school system and how each role contributes. You’ll be able to identify where you fit in and learn some language for clearly articulating the part you play. Our culinary feature is all about Staying Cool and Being Rad – Cucumbers and Radishes! Register Here. And as a reminder, you can find our previous calls on our YouTube channel. Another upcoming highlight is the Farm to Summer Week Challenge which happens June 11-17th. Sponsors can take the pledge here and be entered to win USDA’s Turnip the Beet Award! Our Department of Education is developing a Farm to Summer Toolkit so keep an eye out for this incredible resource to come your way!  Culinary Trainings Our early childcare and school food professionals continue to provide positive feedback about our virtual culinary trainings that we’ve offered through CDPHE and CDE. Due to this feedback and demand, we have more virtual trainings in the works and are also beginning to plan for in-person trainings later this year!  Coming up first is our Virtual Knife Skills Training with CDE and we have limited spots available! This training is an excellent opportunity for your cooks (K-12) to gain some hands-on practice while receiving 2 hours of professional development credits. We have space for up to 40 participants and it is a 2-part series. Part 1 happens on July 14th and Part 2 happens on July 21st. Both trainings run from 2-3pm and you will need to attend both. Each training also includes a recipe demonstration using all the delicious vegetables you learned how to cut. Participants will receive a gift card to cover the cost of food along with a grocery and equipment list to ensure you are ready to practice your knife skills! Registration closes on July 7th. Sign up here! 
State Policy It is an exciting time for Food Systems at the State Legislature! We are in the final phase of of the 2021 Legislative session and Nourish CO is celebrating the success of our primary initiative this session, and still supporting two pieces of legislation as they continue to move through the process.   Healthy Food Incentives Fund (HFIF) – We are celebrating the success of increasing the annual state allocation from $200,000 to $500,000 in the HFIF! This funding supports incentives for the Double Up Food Bucks and Produce Box programs providing access to nutritious, Colorado grown produce for people who don’t have it. We’d like to thank everyone who helped us in this effort, particularly the support from the Colorado Chapter of the American Heart Association.  SB 21-199: Removing Barriers to Certain Public Opportunities – The bill removes barriers for immigrant and undocumented Coloradans through a) access to occupational and commercial licenses b) opportunities to apply for grants, contracts and loans, c) basic to public support services on the state and local level, and d) prohibit immigration status as an eligibility factor in issuing public benefits across the state. More info about the bill here.  Nourish is particularly committed to this bill because it opens opportunities for our team to expand incentive programming beyond SNAP and WIC to include immigrant and undocumented Coloradans, aligning with our value that food is a basic human right. The bill has passed out of the Senate and is moving onto the House. We urge people to thank Senators Hansen, Moreno, Coleman, and Gonzales with the following tweet: Thanks to #coleg members who passed #SB199: Remove Barriers to Certain Public Opportunities out of the Senate Appropriations! Thank you for reestablishing CO’s commitment to equity! Please tag @HansenForCO, @domoreno, @repjamescoleman, @SenadoraJulie with the hashtag #removebarriers. The next step will be getting it passed through the House. Please consider calling and emailing your representative in support of SB199!   SB87 Agricultural Worker Bill of Rights – Also through the Senate and needing to pass the House is the Agricultural Worker Bill of Rights. This legislation provides basic health and safety protections during emergencies such as the pandemic, extends the right to organize to farmworkers, ensures access to doctors, and more. More information about the bill can be found here. Please consider calling your representative and urging them to support this bill! Also, if you could pass this information along and encourage your networks to send emails – even if they have already in the past – please do it. Feel free to use this template as a starting point. You can also join the text campaign. By texting #AGJUSTICE to 202-883-3703 to stay updated and to receive easy-to-share resources. Follow our State Bill Tracker.  Federal Policy American Rescue Plan, American Families, Plan, LAMP RFPs! Much is afoot in the federal policy space this month for food systems! First off: money! The RFPs for the Local Agriculture Market Program are now out, and these programs (Farmers Market Promotion ProgramLocal Food Promotion ProgramRegional Food Systems Partnerships) have about triple the funds available than they usually do. Go here to read a helpful blog from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Whether or not you are applying or have in the past, we’d love to see more grant reviewers from Colorado on these grant committees! Go here to learn more about the process. Next up: COVID relief! Since a lot has been happening, NSAC also published this handy summary of all things food systems-related since March 2020. As committed in the American Rescue Plan, farm debt relief is also now available for BIPOC growers and you can read the USDA webpage here for more information. The American Families Plan also includes several provisions to increase access to healthy foods! These include an investment of $45 billion across four nutrition-specific provisions that provide direct support to children and families. The plan:   Expands Summer EBT, a food assistance program for low-income school aged children during the summer months, to all eligible children nationwide. Expands access to healthy school meals in high needs schools, with a focus on elementary schools. Establishes a healthy school food incentive pilot. Facilitates re-entry for formerly incarcerated individuals through SNAP eligibility.  Lastly, get ready for Child Nutrition Reauthorization marker bill extravaganza! We are thrilled to see the the Healthy Kids and Healthy Schools campaign include four recently introduced marker bills (all of which we at Nourish support) that will support healthy kids and healthy schools:  Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Act, which would create more food educator positions in public schools  Farm to School Act of 2021, which would triple funding and increase equitable access to the USDA Farm to School Grant Program  Kids Eat Local Act, which would make it easier for schools to source local food for school meals  School Food Modernization Act, which would provide the funding needed for schools to upgrade their kitchen equipment  Now is the time to make some noise around these bills and share how they would improve your school food or your farm operation! Check out the campaign’s overview and toolkit and reach out to your federal representatives (especially Senator Bennet!) today! Follow our Federal Bill Tracker. Love these updates and want more?! Join us on the Food Bill Action Team and check out our policy blog.
CO Farm & Food Systems Response Team Winds Down  As you know, Nourish has been fortunate to have been a part of the CO Farm & Food Systems Response Team since its inception. The CFFSRT Steering Committee has decided it is time for the CFFSRT to go dormant. The impacts from COVID are less urgent than they were a year ago when we started, and this coalition has run its course. We hope that the connections we’ve made over the past year will live on and we look forward to continuing to work with all partners to support BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, Veteran, and Beginning producers.    The CFFSRT held its final statewidecall on Thursday April 22nd. We had a chance to hear about the impact of the Respond and Rebuild Fund and how the CFFSRT centered People and Data in its crisis response over the past year. We also had a chance to jointly create a resource map that we hope partners will continue to use. Here are the call notes and recording and Resource Map.     The CFFSRT has committed to sharing resources to help build a more inclusive and resilient food system. Please see the summary report for the Respond and Rebuild Fund. The notes and call recordings from past calls can be found hereThese will remain available, even once the CFFSRT goes dormant. Slack will stay active: (@ anyone you want to be notified; @channel to notify all members.) Join Slack. There is also a list of the many people and organizations that have participated in this community. Please feel free to use it to reach out to other food system folks. You can also add your name and email to the list for further connections
This month we bid adieu to Chef Fernando. Many of you may already be aware that Chef Fernando Cardona (Chef Fez) has taken another job and is no longer working for Nourish Colorado. Chef Fernando started with LiveWell Colorado back in 2011 as a consultant for the School Food Initiative. During his time as a consultant, he inspired school food service workers around the state (and country!) to prepare scratch-made meals with confidence and pride. Myself and our team of chef consultants have many fond memories of visiting a school, only to have the cooks completely bypass us in favor of showering hugs onto him or wondering where he was! He truly touched thousand of lives during his time with us! Fernando joined the LiveWell (now Nourish) team as a full-time employee at the beginning of 2019 and hit the ground running. During that timeframe, we produced our Culinary Quick Bites, launched our LoProCO Workshops, passed our Local School Food Incentive Bill (HB 1132), and provided culinary skills trainings to K12 and Early Childcare Professionals around the state. He played a critical role in getting our work to where it is today and I would not be where I am without his support and expertise. While it is sad to lose him, we are very excited for him in his new role as he continues to grow and advance in his career! I know this work holds a special place in his heart and if he can still join in for a couple of trainings here and there, he will and we will gladly take him! Please join us in thanking Chef Fernando for his incredible dedication to our food service workers around the state and until next time! ~Chef Jessica 
May Double Up Partner Spotlight: Cloud City Conservation Center in Leadville, Contact: Emily Olsen, Executive Director. With a vision of “Healthy Planet, Healthy People,” Cloud City Conservation Center works to support a food system that supports both people and the planet. The center runs the community’s only produce farm, Cloud City Farm, where produce is distributed through a donation-based farm market. They partner and support other local organizations working to address food security and healthy food access, local gardeners, and are launching a community garden this spring. As a member of the Lake County Food Access Coalition, they are helping to launch a community commercial kitchen in partnership with a local food pantry, St George, along with a mobile pantry. During COVID, Cloud City partnered with St George to expand their pantry from an actual kitchen pantry to a no-cost grocery store, and launched a free home delivery program that has served over 200 households in the community to date. In addition to supporting healthy food access in the community, the farm also runs a free community composting program and partners with the School District and Get Outdoors Leadville! to provide hands-on educational opportunities for local youth around food and the environment. “Here in Colorado when you support food systems work you are most likely also supporting health equity, community organizers, local farmers, a living wage, a more environmentally friendly food system and so much more right here in your own community,” said Emily Olsen, Executive Director. “You can support our work by following us on Facebook and Instagram, signing up to volunteer, making a donation or by doing any of those things for the organizations doing similar work in your own community!” Check out this Double Up Farmer Highlight video we created a couple of years ago in partnership with Cloud City to see the farm for yourself! 
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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