DIG IN! with Nourish Colorado – Summer Newsletter

Dear Partners, 

It seems as if “transition” is the name of our game here at Nourish—ever-changing, growing, and moving…literally! In this newsletter, you will meet new staff, learn about some exciting new programs and partnerships (like SNAP-Ed!), read about a flurry of farm bill advocacy activity, discover position openings—and much more.
We have moved out of our offices and Nourish has gone fully remote! Please note our mailing address starting July 31 is Nourish Colorado, Cherry Creek Office Evolution, 501 South Cherry Street, Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80246. We have truly enjoyed our office in the Cole Neighborhood of Denver and being in each others’ company, but we have outgrown our space and have an increasing number of team members from outside of the Metro area. This will be a grand experiment and one that we are not undertaking without support. We’d like to give a huge shout-out to All Copy Products for being an incredibly generous partner and supporting our need for consistent meeting space! We encourage anyone who needs a partner in office technology and printing to check them out—they know how to treat people right!  
Through the changes and the big move back into our home offices, our partners have been a constant source of positivity and joy for us. We hope that summertime for you all means time in the dirt, time away from computers, and time to soak up the sun…and the rain!  

New SNAP-Ed Partner in Colorado

Nourish is excited to announce that we are transitioning to become the Cooking Matters Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) implementing agency in Colorado! Over the next three months, we will build relationships with existing Cooking Matters program partners across the state and learn the intricacies of SNAP-Ed both federally and locally. After September, we will work towards a more long-term transition of integrating SNAP-Ed into our organization. Maintaining the existing network of partners across the state is a priority during this transition and we look forward to building upon these relationships. Rakia Ranney will be transitioning into the role of SNAP-Ed Program Manager and is excited to bring her experience working with federal food assistance programs and Colorado food systems into this role. If you have any questions connect with Rakia@NourishColorado.org.  

eHIP is Coming to Colorado

We are thrilled that the United States Department of Agriculture has chosen Colorado as one of the three states that will be testing a new pilot for produce incentives. The electronic healthy incentives pilot (eHIP) will make access to nutritious foods easier for SNAP shoppers. SNAP shoppers will receive a 100% reimbursement for any qualifying purchase of fruits and vegetables back to their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, up to $20 per transaction with a maximum reimbursement of $60 a month.   The Colorado Department of Human Services will receive $7.9 million in a federal grant to implement this pilot which is expected to launch in April 2024 at different markets and stores across the state (yet to be determined). The new eHIP, although similar to Double Up Food Bucks, will not replace the state’s other SNAP incentive program. The eHIP will build upon and has learned from the successes and challenges of Double Up, both programs will run concurrently in the state.   In 2023, Double Up will operate at all sites as planned. Starting in 2024, some Double Up-participating farmers markets and retailers may start switching over to the eHIP model. Partners will operate one or the other throughout this pilot—either Double Up or eHIP, both of which are SNAP produce incentives. CDHS and Nourish Colorado (which manages the Double Up program) will work closely with partners across the state to ensure clear communication about the two related initiatives throughout the pilot.  If you have any questions about how Double Up Food Bucks and eHIP will interact, please reach out to our Director of Healthy Food Incentives Daysi@NourishColorado.org. Learn more about eHIP in this Colorado press release from the USDA
*Infographic from USDA FNS

Welcome Double Up Partners and Celebrate National Farmers Market Week

Double Up Food Bucks is off to a fantastic 2023 season with over 100 Double Up applications received this year! We are excited to welcome the 14 new partners below to offer Double Up at their locations this year.
Rebel Marketplace | Mancos Valley Farmers Market | Huerta Urbana Farmers Market | Zuma Natural Foods | Blaine’s Farm Store | Green Valley Ranch Farmers Market | Green Junction Farmstead | Broomfield Farmers Market | Trinidad Community Farmers Market | Highwater Farm | The GrowHaus Low-Cost Food Access | Growing Gardens Farm Stand | Louisville Farmers Market | Erie Farmers Market 
Celebrate National Farmers Market Week and the vital role farmers markets play in our food system Aug 6-12 by visiting one of the Double Up participating marketsFarmers Market Nutrition Program markets, or any Colorado farmers market near you. Contact Lonni@NourishColorado.org for more info. 

HEAL School of Political Leadership (SoPL)

The Double Up Food Bucks Team is launching a social media campaign in mid-August to build support for strengthening the integrity of SNAP in the next farm bill and to increase public understanding of nutrition incentives. Are you willing to help make this campaign a success by recording a 10-second video declaring that you are “Pro Produce” or “A Favor de Frutas y Verduras” to share via social media? Please let us know at Partners@NourishColorado.org so we can send you further instructions. This social media campaign comes out of our experience as members of the 2023 HEAL Food Alliance School of Political Leadership. Through SoPL, we learned about campaign strategy, storytelling, base building, power analysis, and advocacy. Five months of learning via Zoom culminated in three days in our nation’s capital in June with the HEAL team and other cohort members, who quickly became like a big family to us. We spent our last day in DC speaking with our legislators about the importance of programs like SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks. You can read Caitlin’s thoughts on our blog, There is More That Unites Us Than Divides Us: Reflections on Messaging through SoPL about the fourth session.

Colorado Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) Produce Box Recipes

Our produce box recipe project focused on creating home recipes for older adults who receive fresh, local produce during the growing season has wrapped thanks to feedback from CNIP participants, growers, and agencies, funding through a Next50 grant, and hard work by our chef team! We sent out copies of the recipe books to partners to include in CSA shares that go directly to CNIP participants and have digital copies of the recipe booklet with the corresponding videos available. We are currently in the process of translating the recipe book and videos, so a Spanish version will be available soon on our website! These recipes are delicious and such a lovely way to use all of the amazing produce we grow in our state. We are slowly adapting some of these recipes for our school food providers to incorporate in as well! We hope you enjoy and if you try some of these tasty recipes yourself, share and tag us @LetsNourishCO so we can see and enter you for an opportunity to win a special giveaway. Contact Gretchen@NourishColorado.org for more info.

Convenings and Local Food Program Updates

Team Institutions is staying busy as we make our way through the year. April, May and June were filled with site visits, workshops, conferences, resource and video development, building our cohort for the Regional Food Systems Partnership Grant, and preparing to launch Year 3 of the Local Food Program.  
In April, we co-led a “Farm to…” Convening in partnership with CSU Food Systems Institute and the CO Food Systems Advisory Council. This convening gathered key stakeholders in the “Farm to…” space from State Agency and USDA representatives, produce vendors and food hubs, school food authorities, statewide and local non-profits, producer and rancher representatives, and University representatives. This convening was designed to foster deeper awareness surrounding varying “Farm to…” programs, understand current and upcoming financial investments through State-funded initiatives, and identify areas where more support, coordination, and resources are needed. We had a packed schedule with about 75 stakeholders in the room and we are now moving towards plans for hosting the second “Farm to…” convening on Dec 7.  

After that successful event, Team Institutions headed to Salida, CO for a Local Procurement Workshop hosted by Guidestone, CO in partnership with Salida School District. A couple other local school districts attended, and the afternoon had a strong showing from local producers, ranchers, and a food hub who are all interested in school food market space. The school kitchen leads learned culinary skills while the food service directors and managers reviewed the process for weaving local foods into their menus. They then all worked together to develop beautiful and delicious recipes that feature local products that could easily be woven into their menus.  

Along with this, we were thrilled to finally receive word from CDE about who is participating in the final year of the Local Food Program. We have 31 participating providers (school districts and charters) this year, 13 of which are brand new to the program! Check out this map which shows all of the providers in the Local Food Program and who has participated in the past. We are excited to close out the final year of the Local Food Program Pilot and ensure these participating providers have a strong foundation in place for the launch of the “Beefed-up” Local Food Program under Healthy School Meals for All in School Year 2024/2025. We continue to develop resources and training videos to support school food authorities, our agricultural producers, and community members with creating Farm to School programs that work for them and have strong roots to be sustained year after year. Stay tuned for our Guidebook that will collate all of these resources for ease of access! 
We would be remiss if we didn’t take a second to acknowledge both Chef Taylor Frederick and Rebecca Robbins, MS, RDN, SNS. Their support and expertise is invaluable when it comes to keeping this statewide work moving along and supporting our school meal providers and agricultural producers. Along with everything on their plates, they also presented at the CO School Nutrition Association Annual Conference in June on opportunities for Expanding Local Procurement! Overall, they provide our school districts and producers with tangible technical assistance and training, foster connections, and show a deep passion and dedication for making Farm to School the norm in our state in a way that is truly created and owned by those doing the day-to-day work of feeding our children and producing our food. Check out our revamped website and keep checking back as we continue to add resources and make small improvements. For any questions about the Local Food Program, Farm to School work in Colorado, the Regional Food Systems Partnership Grant, or topics related to supporting Healthy Food in Institutions, please feel free to reach out to Chef Jessica@NourishColorado.org.

Farm Bill Marker Bill Updates and Gratitude for CO’s Delegation

The 2023 farm bill is being crafted and drafted every day now, so a lot is happening on the federal policy front! We are thrilled to see so much engagement from our Colorado Congressional delegation on food systems advocacy. There are a few important marker bills that have been introduced recently to help create a more equitable farm bill and stronger local food systems and nutrition programs. You can stay up to date with marker bills on our federal bill tracker.  
Farm Bill Marker Bill Updates: The GusNIP Expansion Act has been introduced (H.R. 4856), which would strengthen fruit and vegetable SNAP incentive programs, like Double Up Food Bucks!! This would be huge for states like Colorado which are ready to scale up to statewide incentives and EBT integration. Nourish Colorado has been heavily involved with crafting this GusNIP marker bill through the Statewide Expansion Coalition and the ANNI (Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives) Coalition along with Fair Food Network—so this bill being introduced is a fantastic win for us and Colorado at large!  The Hot Foods Act, which has been introduced by Senator Bennet (S.2258) and co-sponsored by Representative Caraveo (H.R.3519), would remove the ban on purchasing hot and prepared foods with SNAP benefits.  The Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities (LASO) Act has been introduced (H.R 3955), which is a marker bill that would expand the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program and authorize $100 million in annual funding for community-led land access solutions to strengthen land, capital, and market access for small, new, and underserved producers.  The Small Farm Conservation Act has been introduced by Senator Bennet (S.2180) and we expect to see support from Representative Caraveo as well, once the House companion bill is introduced. This bill would help smaller farmers more easily access opportunities available to support conservation on farmland through EQIP.The recently introduced, Enabling Farmers to Benefit from Processing Nutrition Programs Act (S.2504) would streamline applications for farmers seeking to participate as authorized vendors under several nutrition programs including SNAP, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and GusNIP. The Act would also improve access to the necessary benefit processing equipment for farmers and farmers markets.  Finally, Senator Bennet just recently introduced the Senate companion bill (S.2659) for the Farmers Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act (H.R.2378), which supports growth of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)!   Gratitude for Colorado’s Delegation: We want to thank Colorado’s Senator Bennet and Representative Caraveo for demonstrating amazing leadership on the Senate and House Agriculture Committees!! It is an honor to have such dedicated members representing Colorado food systems in Congress, especially on the Agriculture Committees when the farm bill is being written. We also greatly appreciate and thank all of our delegation members for their leadership on agricultural and nutrition fronts—including Representative Pettersen supporting school meals, the Food Deserts Act, and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program; Representative Neguse supporting SNAP benefits, school meals, and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program; Representative DeGette supporting school meals; and Representative Crow supporting SNAP protection.  
You can track our Colorado delegation’s food system actions through this scorecard. Nourish Colorado is joyfully celebrating all that has been done so far and excited to see what is coming up next for the farm bill! Connect with Wendy@NourishColorado.org or Becca@NourishColorado.org for more info.
Our team is growing! Welcome two new team membersIngrid Wicker, Senior Director of Budget and Operations, and Gretchen Groenke, Nutrition Programs Coordinator!

Ingrid Wicker joins us as Senior Director of Budget and Operations. As an immigrant to Denver, Ingrid is a passionate advocate for diversity, humanism, and empowerment. With a deep understanding of the value of inclusivity, Ingrid brings a wealth of Operations, HR and Finance experience to Nourish Colorado. Ingrid combines her passion for technology with her dedication to improving lives. With over 15 years of work in nonprofit organizations, Ingrid has consistently championed individual empowerment and equal opportunities. Ingrid’s commitment to positive change extends beyond her professional life to include love and compassion for all living beings. Ingrid’s expertise and dedication will undoubtedly have a profound impact at Nourish Colorado, advancing inclusivity, technology, and empowerment. Connect with Ingrid@NourishColorado.org

Gretchen Groenke joins the Nourish team as Nutrition Programs Coordinator. Gretchen’s been involved in food systems work her entire life. She grew up on an orchard in Washington State and has been working in agriculture, food access, and community organizing ever since. For the past 15 years, Gretchen has been in Southwest Colorado ever falling in love with the land. She and her family grow food, seeds, and community at 4th World Farm and she is a co-founder of Four Corners Food Coalition. She is deeply dedicated to working with food as a key to collective liberation and well-being and looks forward to connecting with partners and supporting the WIC FMNP and CNIP WIC and Older Adult CSAs. Connect with Gretchen@NourishColorado.org.  
Opportunities & Resources
We are hiring a Director of Development Strategy! This new position will lead strategic fundraising by implementing a development and fundraising program, identifying and executing the most impactful fundraising approach for each area of work, and diversifying funding sources so that the organization is well-equipped to carry out its vision. Learn more, apply, and share! We are also hiring for a Contracts and Billing Specialist to maintain organized contract records, assist with invoicing and billing processes, and contribute to efficient contract management and compliance. We are currently expanding and diversifying our Board, especially in the areas of Accounting, HR, and Legal Expertise. Check out our Board openings for more information.
Check out our job board for additional food systems opportunities our partners have open. Please send any jobs, events/meetings, funding or other opportunities you’d like to share on our website to Jesse@NourishColorado.org.  
We’ve created a resources page that we will keep updated with our program, policy, and all things Nourish insights, webinars, marketing, and training materials. 

Sponsor Spotlight
We’d like to give a special shout-out to one of our generous 2023 Double Up Food Bucks sponsors, Native American Bank, the only nationally chartered bank with majority of ownership held by Native Nations and Alaska Native Corporations, with the primary mission to assist Native American and Alaskan Native individuals, enterprises, and governments to reach their goals by providing affordable and flexible banking and financial services. We are happy to be partnering with their team for our business banking and entire investment portfolio. Thanks to the support of Native American Bank along with many sponsors and individual supporters, we have been able to continue purchasing 2023 produce incentives to help avoid pausing the program at markets, expand the program to areas of our state with high poverty and lack of food resources, and maintain our commitment to Colorado’s growersand local economies.
If you want to work with us to strengthen the purchasing power of SNAP shoppers by increasing their access to fresh fruits and vegetables, which in turn supports our local farmers with new market opportunities, please consider a donation of any amount to this campaign. Learn more about sponsorship opportunities and connect with Wendy@NourishColorado.org for additional inquiries. We appreciate your support!
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