DIG IN! with Nourish Colorado – Autumn Newsletter: Harvest Season

Welcome to Autumn, partners! 

A favorite time of year for everyone who loves local foods and has a school-aged child! Made even better when your child is not only out of the house and at school, but being fed fresh, high-quality foods in that school. Read on to learn more about how Colorado schools are doing just that. 

In addition to our program and policy work, which we talk more about below, we work to ensure our organizational structure and practices reflect our values and that we are best equipped to move this good work forward. A couple of recent endeavors have focused on different functions of our organizations – one on building a more empathetic and resilient workplace, and another on managing our financial resources. If these efforts are similar to the work you are doing, we’d love to share and connect with you!

This summer, we started working with Blackbird Consulting on a series of three, five-hour training sessions for staff and Board members. If this sounds interesting to you or your organization, you can read more about this in our team member Jesse’s blog on “Trauma and Empathy in the Workplace” and we are happy to talk about our experience anytime! We have also learned so much in the past 18+ months through our efforts to extricate ourselves from our banking and investment relationship with Wells Fargo. If you or your organization has been similarly interested in changing banks and investment partners and want to talk more about our process, please reach out to Devin@NourishColorado.org or Wendy@NourishColorado.org anytime. This process at times has been exciting (writing an RFP for a new bank that includes values as well as ROI) and at many times laborious and lengthy. We are so happy to now be partnering with Native American Bank for our business banking and entire investment portfolio!

–The Nourish Team

Double Up Food Bucks needs your help! 

Help us grow our statewide footprint! We are currently seeking small retailers and grocers to partner with. Is there a lack of Double Up Food Bucks presence in your area? Do you live in or know of a community that would be greatly impacted by having the Double Up program? Do you frequently shop at a retailer that does an awesome job at providing food access to its customers? Are you a retailer interested in participating in the Double Up program? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please fill out our Double Up Participation Interest Form here. Reach out to Lonni@NourishColorado.org today and learn the many benefits of becoming a Double Up Food Bucks partner. Learn more about how the Double Up program works here. Visit here to find the nearest Double Up location to you.  
Our team of Community Food Navigators is growing!

We welcomed our new Jefferson County Navigator, Karimme Quintana in September and our outreach team has been busy! Caitlin and Jorge recently tabled at the inaugural Northwest Aurora Food Justice Festival on September 24 working alongside organizational partners, legislators, and community members to spread the word about Double Up Food Bucks and Nourish, and we have several outreach events on the horizon. We are looking forward to this end of our harvest season when we can rest, reflect, and strategize our outreach efforts for the new year, as well as reach our community members to hear their thoughts on how we can expand, grow, and improve our programming. If you have any outreach opportunities or ideas, please reach out to Caitlin@NourishColorado.org.

Local Procurement Colorado (LoProCO)

Celebrate National Farm to Child Month with us by participating in the Mountain Plains Crunch Off – a competition to see which state can get the most folks crunching into locally grown produce! People can crunch any time during the week of October 17-21. Folks who want to participate are invited to register with their friends, family, and staff! Learn more about the Crunch Off here. Share on social media to engage others to participate. Use this resource to post in English or Spanish. Click here to register for the Crunch Off or here to watch the video.  

For Early Childcare Providers only – Join Nourish Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for an online two-part series culinary course on knife skills. As a continuation of culinary food safety skills learned in the Quick Bite Video series, participants in this one-hour, two-part class series will learn how to use a professional grade Chef’s knife. Participants will create one recipe at each session that can be served as a snack on the day of the training. The virtual class runs from 1:15-2:15 pm with Part 1 on October 19 and Part 2 on October 26. Register here!  Our LoProCO Workshop series continues in Southeast Colorado with 2.0 happening on November 4 in Lamar, CO! We welcome institutional food service directors (K12, early care, older adult meal programs, colleges, etc.), their lead cooks, farmers, ranchers, food hubs, vendors, teachers, student leaders, and community leaders to join us! We are prioritizing attendees from Baca, Bent, Prowers, Las Animas, Otero, Crowley, Kiowa, and Cheyenne counties. However, if you are interested in beginning to understand what it takes to make farm-to-institution the norm, this is the series for you. Even if you were unable to join us for 1.0, you are still welcome! Check out our event page for more information.  

This November, Colorado voters can ensure access to free, nutritious meals made with quality ingredients for all students in public schools by voting YES on Proposition FF. This ballot measure also includes an expanded Local Food Program with increased money for schools to buy Colorado-grown, raised, and processed products. As you’ll see below, we are running a pilot program currently and it would be amazing to bring this program statewide so that all Colorado schools can opt in! Find more information about this ballot measure here! 

Year 2 of The Local Food Program is off and running with 20 school districts around the state participating. These districts all received a percentage of the $500K that the state provides to purchase CO-grown, raised, and processed products. In Year 1 of the program, the participating districts spent just over $1.4 million purchasing CO products and we are excited to see what Year 2 brings us! This program is one of a handful in our nation that utilizes state-based legislation and funding to support our K12 districts by buying local foods! For more information, please contact Jessica@NourishColorado.org.  

Law & Policy Roadmap

Nourish Colorado’s Law & Policy Roadmap addresses some gaps in Colorado food system policies and provides federal and state policy recommendations for identified key questions that are relevant to our Theory of Change, strategic planning initiatives, and community partners’ needs. The roadmap was broken down into seven legal objectives; you can find the entire roadmap and a shorter document for each section here. 

This summer, we hosted a webinar series that addressed each section of the roadmap. The webinar discussions summarized each legal objective’s issue, background information, place within the current programs available and regulatory setting, opportunities and barriers for change, best practice models, and legal recommendations. In each webinar, after presenting the research analysis content, we held small group discussions to assess participant reflections and ideas for actions and strategies moving forward. You can find each recorded webinar, according to the topic in both English and Spanish, here.

Making space for public engagement with the roadmap and listening to feedback from these discussions is leading us to dig deeper into community information gathering and assessment of our next steps for implementing each goal. Each topic falls somewhere into our organizational programmatic and policy strategic plan, which is currently being developed. We are very excited to begin to see some of the legal recommendations take place or be transformed to fit community values and needs. We now hope to share these findings and plans with our partners, while asking the community for input and help in its implementation. 

Colorado advocates turn their attention to the upcoming farm bill! 

Believe it or not, work on the next farm bill – scheduled for passage in 2023 – has already begun. This includes us here at Nourish Colorado and a lot of you! The farm bill is a federal package of legislation that sets policy, rules, and regulations for our food and farm systems and expires and is renewed every five years. Farm bills cover a wide range of programs from crop insurance for farmers, to healthy food access for low-income families, to beginning farmer training and support for sustainable farming practices. Even though “food” is not in its name, it includes several federal nutrition assistance programs.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about and getting more engaged in the farm bill but were not able to participate in the Farm Bill three-part webinar series we were a part of with Blueprint to End Hunger, Hunger Free Colorado, and others, you can find recordings for these here:1. Farm Bill 2023 Discussion Series, Part 1: Farm Bill 101 2. Farm Bill Discussion Series, Part 2: Shared Values & Actions 3. Farm Bill 2023 Discussion Series, Part 3: Planning Site Visits
For those of you ready to engage and advocate around farm bill issues – now is the time! To sign up for farm bill listening sessions with Senator Bennet Oct 3-5, please visit hereEvery day all year round is a good day to reach out to your representative and senators and talk about the good farm and food work you are up to!  The best thing we all can do right now to lay the foundation for a robust farm bill is to show off the critical food and farm work happening across the state. Review an in-progress document of farm bill talking points here from the Blueprint to End Hunger federal policy committee to aid in your site visits! If you would like any assistance reaching out to your federal delegation or in planning site visits, please email Wendy@NourishColorado.org.

Lastly, to engage more directly with us here at Nourish and stay abreast of our specific farm bill platform, please join the Food Bill Action Team which meets twice a month for 30 minutes over lunch by emailing Wendy@NourishColorado.org. Our 2023 farm bill platform will focus on enhancements to the program that funds Double Up Food Bucks including new funding to help states like Colorado scale up their programs, building more equity and accessibility into how local and regional food systems grants are allocated, expanding the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and strengthening the ability of school districts to prefer local food purchases.

Centura Health & Equity Advancement Fund 

Nourish Colorado is a proud recipient of a grant from the Centura Health & Equity Advancement Fund. The Fund was launched in 2021 in support of Centura Health’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion across the vibrant communities in Colorado. This grant will support an expansion of the Community Food Navigator program in southwest Colorado, a region that does not receive the same kind of funding as places like the Denver metro area or Colorado Springs/Pueblo. Establishing a Regional Food Navigator here would allow us to expand outreach and engagement for the Double Up Food Bucks program in the area. The Regional Food Navigator program will include a Regional Navigator who will live in the area and work with three Community Food Navigators who are embedded in the community and committed to nutrition security. 

We are excited to work with the Centura Health & Equity Advancement Fund to expand the Community Food Navigator program and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in southwest Colorado. 

Welcome (back!) to our Legal Analyst, Becca Gredone

Becca Gredone has rejoined Nourish Colorado as our full-time contracted Legal Analyst after completing a legal internship with us this past spring. Among many other things, she will be assisting us by doing legal and policy research to support the Nourish team’s policy priorities as well as participating in NSAC committee meetings and Farm Bill coalition meetings. Connect with Rebecca at Becca@NourishColorado.org!
Resources & Opportunities

Our job board is full of interesting and meaningful partner opportunities open right now, and our events calendar has some exciting food systems events coming up like the Colorado Food Summit on December 8, and a Healthy School Meals for All Facebook Live Spotlight on October 21 at noon with our very own Wendy and Chef Jess!

Please check out current happenings and submit any upcoming events or career opportunities you would like to share with us to Jesse Hulling.  

Let’s Dig In! Together to Transform the Food System

If you want to work with us to bring these programs and policy changes to more people across Colorado, here is more information on how to support our work. If you have not already, please subscribe and follow us on Facebook for regular updates. 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. Thank you for digging in with us again this month, and we hope you continue to read our newsletter each month! For every part you play in transforming the food system, we appreciate you! 
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Denver, CO 80205
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