DIG IN! with Nourish Colorado – Winter Newsletter

Welcome to Winter, partners and friends! 

We hope that every one of you will be able to take a break and find some moments of tranquility over the coming weeks. Looking back on 2022, we are filled with joy, awe, and a bit of exhaustion, but so much gratitude to be able to do what we do and to do it with you. Please read on to hear more specific updates and celebrations from across our project and policy work throughout 2022 and what we have planned for the year ahead. 

–The Nourish Team

Double Up Food Bucks
Double Up Food Bucks would like to send a shout out and give big thanks to our partners for a successful 2022. Your participation in Double Up is monumental in our plight for food justice. It’s because of your devotion to this program that we had one of our biggest years to date and anticipate an even bigger 2023. We know and understand that being a Double Up partner is a considerable commitment and we appreciate you and all your work!

Double Up 2023 applications will be open from January 17, 2023 – February 6, 2023. Please visit the Double Up website during the application period or fill out an interest form to access the new application. If you have any questions, please contact Lonni at Lonni@NourishColorado.org 

Community Food Navigators
Dawn Adams, Owner of Green Junction Farmstead, has joined our team of Community Food Navigators. Dawn is a farmer, Nourish Advisory Board member, Nourish Board of Directors member, and will now be promoting Double Up in her community and connecting with retailers on the Western Slope as a navigator. Our Denver Metro Regional Community Navigator, Andrea Loudd, was a featured speaker at the Colorado Food Summit, where she shared about her experiences as a navigator and community activist. Andrea is always such a driving force for food access in her community and we are so grateful for her tireless work to make sure all voices are heard and represented in the food system. Our team of navigators will take some time to rest this season and will return ready to strategize and mobilize together. We have big things on the horizon for our outreach model and can’t wait to share all of it with you. If you have questions or comments related to Double Up navigators and outreach or to order promotional materials, please reach out to Caitlin@NourishColorado.org.

Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)
FMNP is wrapping up the year with huge success. We’re still working on final numbers, but so far we’ve counted around 13,000 vouchers (roughly $68,000 worth) that have been redeemed by WIC families at farmers markets for fresh local produce. Participation in the program has drastically increased since last year, and our team is entering a season of evaluation and reflection around the FMNP experience, pursuing electronic options, and discussing expansion for next year. We are so grateful to our farmers market and state partners for supporting such an essential and successful program. 

Colorado Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP)
Our CNIP program is deep in the evaluation process so that we can better understand how this program impacts the food security of those who received CSA shares from local farmers this season. We’re evaluating the experiences and impacts on participants, farmers, and agencies. We are pushing hard to apply for funding opportunities that will continue to support this essential work in 2023. Many thanks to our wonderful CNIP partners across the state that have worked hard to support this program and bring fresh local produce to their communities! If you have any questions about FMNP or CNIP, contact Rakia@NourishColorado.org.
Local Procurement Colorado (LoProCO)
What an incredible year 2022 has been and it has flown by! We are so thankful for our partners around the state and our school meal operators who continue to do the good work every single day to support and feed their communities. We would not be where we are without you! We have some notable highlights to share as we look towards starting 2023 with a bang. 
Our Healthy Food in Institutions team is the proud recipient of a $1M grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Regional Food System Partnerships Program. This grant will support Nourish, with partners, to develop baseline local procurement data and metrics and create and test a model for collaborative purchasing in Southeast Colorado. Read more about our project here

Part of the grant involves continuing our LoProCO workshops and technical assistance down in Southeast CO. We had an excellent workshop on Nov 4, 2022 in Lamar, CO where our local school meal providers, partners, producers, vendors, and more all got to interact, enjoy a delicious meal, and continue building a foundation for making farm to school the norm. Our next workshop is slated to happen on February 24 and we are using that as a launching point for the above grant as we embark on 2+ more years down in Southeast Colorado. Thanks to this grant, these workshops are now FREE to attend and travel support along with childcare stipends are available. More information to come however we welcome all institutional meal programs down in Southeast CO, local producers, and partners to join us and continue working together to create resilient food systems. More info can be found here.

Our Local Food Program and the 20 participating school districts are doing an incredible job this year. A handful have already fully expended their allotment and many have made new relationships with farms and food hubs in their region. Check out our finished infographics: Local Food Program Year 1 Cohort Grant Expenditures Local Food Program Year 2 New Providers Baseline Data Local Food Program Year 2 Returning Providers Comparison Infographic 

And finally, but certainly not least – we are ecstatic about Colorado’s voters passing Prop FF – Healthy School Meals for All. This includes a “beefed-up” Local Food Program that is slated to begin July 2024 (contingent upon CO Dept of Education being selected for the Federal Medicaid Pilot). Participating providers will receive $0.25 cents a meal based on last year’s meal counts compared to the current program which is at $0.05 cents! There is a lot of detail still being worked on around implementing the entire Healthy School Meals for All program and if you would like more information, our Dept of Education has put together an excellent FAQ document to start. We are also happy to answer questions and/or direct questions to those who are better-suited to answer them should we not know. Thank you again to Colorado’s voters for passing this incredible ballot measure and to everyone around the state who advocated for making the dream a reality! Reach out to Jessica@NourishColorado.org with any questions about our institutions work.

2023 Farm Bill and FBAT
As we come to the end of 2022, there are many policy wins to celebrate from this year…and much to look forward to in 2023! Please click here to read a summary of 2022 policy wins, updates, and election results.Nourish Colorado, in partnership with many others across the state and nation, is beginning to tackle advocacy for the federal 2023 Farm Bill! Keep an eye out for our Farm Bill platform to be released early 2023. Although we support many initiatives and federal partners in this work, our main recommendations fall under: Strengthening the Integrity of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Ensuring Equity in Local and Regional Food Systems, Enhancing the Reach and Impact of the Nutrition Programs for Older Adults, and Strengthening Values-Based Procurement for Public Expenditures on Food. To support our national Farm Bill advocacy efforts and develop relationships with our delegation who are working on getting this law in place, the Nourish Colorado team is making a visit to Washington D.C. this January! 

To get more involved with any of our policy work, please join the Food Bill Action Team (FBAT), led by Nourish Colorado. You can find more information about FBAT here. As a participant of FBAT, you can expect to learn about Nourish Colorado’s and other partners’ policy goals, gain general state and federal policy knowledge, inform Nourish policy priorities by sharing your ideas, and connect with others who are concerned and curious about Colorado’s food system. FBAT has recently been relaunched with Spanish interpretation at all meetings, a refreshed agenda, and aspiration for new members—specifically school food staff, SNAP shoppers, WIC recipients, County agencies (e.g.,public health), farmers, local food coalitions, other advocacy organizations, and any interested resident!  Reach out to Wendy@NourishColorado.org or Becca@NourishColorado.org with any policy questions.

Welcome Rebecca Robbins, Local Food Program Specialist and Yohana Woldu, Double Up Administrator! 

Rebecca Robbins has joined Nourish Colorado as our full-time Local Food Program Specialist. In this position, Rebecca will be supporting the diverse work within the Healthy Food in Institutions program area, and providing training and technical assistance to K-12 school districts participating in the Local Food Program and their local agricultural producers. Connect with Rebecca at Rebecca@NourishColorado.org.

Yohana Woldu has joined our team as our Double Up Food Bucks Administrator contractor. Among her many duties, she will be focused on supporting the Double Up Food Bucks team by logging and tracking payments, and providing support with Double Up trainings and site visits. Connect with Yohana at Yohana@NourishColorado.org.

MENV Students Advancing Farm Equity in the State
Over the past nine months, MENV students Emma Kaznowski, Linny Harden, and Red Clifford worked with Nourish Colorado in collaboration with the Farm Equity Coalition, in laying the foundation for the organization and its partners to help expand farm equity in the state. Read their blog to learn more about their project, outcomes, and how to get involved in this work. 

This month we are proud to partner with HopsnDrops during their Season of Giving! Through the end of December, if you purchase a HopsnDrops gift card of any amount (restaurant locations in Highlands Ranch, CO Springs, and Broomfield), 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Nourish Colorado to support our Double Up program. Electronic gift cards are available and their menu has a tasty variety of food!
Resources & Opportunities
We keep our events calendar updated with food systems events like the wonderful Colorado Food Summit our team enjoyed attending together and our CO Gives event we celebrated last week. Our job board is also full of interesting and meaningful partner opportunities open right now whether you or someone you know is looking for a career, volunteer, or funding opportunity. 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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