|Dear readers, |
Colorado has had it’s first Spring, and we are sure there are a few more tug-of-wars with Winter to come before we fully settle in to warm, sunny days. A few things remain predictable this time of year, however – farmers are planting, the legislative session is in full swing, and we are preparing to kick off new seasons of all our initiatives! While we are not farmers here at Nourish Colorado, so much of our work depends on their hard work, and so there is a seasonal nature to everything we do. Each Spring, we work with hundreds of partners across the state to get trained and ready to launch the new season of Double Up Food Bucks, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and the WIC and Older Adult produce box program. Our chefs have been working with school districts across Southeast Colorado to form new relationships and get ready to integrate more local products in next year’s menus. It is an exciting time for us to welcome back long-term partners and reach out and make new ones – a new market, a new CSA farm, a new school district or county agency. It also coincides with an active time for policy advocacy, and this state legislative session we are thrilled to be working on several requests to increase access to nourishing foods. This year, Nourish Colorado has welcomed a few new team members and has been busy transitioning into a new office! We have joined the fabulous tenants at the Tramway Nonprofit Center in Denver. See below for more information and note our new address. Please read on to hear more about where all of this figurative seed-sowing is leading us! – The Nourish Team
|HEALTHY FOOD INCENTIVES|
Double Up Food Bucks Double Up Food Bucks is off to a fantastic start in 2022 with a record number of Double Up applications received this year! We are excited to welcome 10 new partners below to offer Double Up at their locations this year. Check our locations map later this month for an updated list of all 2022 participating locations and where to produce shop this season. Contact Lonni@NourishColorado.org for more info. Welcome to our new 2022 participating locations! Convenience/Grocery Stores: A1 Food & Gas – Aurora, CO | La Bamba Market – Brush, CO | Decatur Fresh – Denver, CO | Elephant Cloud Market – Crestone CO | Valley Roots Food Hub – Mosca, CO Direct Farms: Mountain Roots Food Project – Gunnison, CO | Valley Roots Food Hub – Mosca, CO Farmers Markets: Mercado Del Norte – Del Norte, CO | Telluride Farmer’s Market – Telluride, CO | City Park Farmer’s Market – Denver, CO | The Backyard Markets (Black Forest & Ridgeline) – Colorado Springs, CO
Looking to make a difference in your community? Our Double Up Food Bucks team is currently looking for 4 community food navigators in Jefferson, El Paso, and Adams County. We are looking for community builders passionate to spread the word about our healthy food incentive programs and Nourish Colorado’s mission. Check out these opportunities and share on with your networks! Contact Caronne@NourishColorado.org for more info. Pueblo County CF NavigatorJefferson County CF NavigatorAdams County CF Navigator Colorado Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) Funding is rolling out for the 2022 WIC and Older Adult produce box program. We expect to have a robust season with several new WIC and Older Adult partnerships this year! Our chef team is busy cooking up some simple, delicious recipes utilizing the local produce box items to distribute to our program participants this year. Contact Emily@NourishColorado.org for more info.
|HEALTHY FOOD IN INSTITUTIONS|
|Local Procurement Colorado (LoProCO) The Local Food Program (HB-1132) is fully off and running! We have 16 participating providers spread across the state representing over 125,000 students, 256 schools, and over 8 million lunches served in one year! Just over $415,000 was distributed to the participating schools, and our providers have also spent an additional $334,000, going to Colorado’s producers just this school year! Schools have noted that having this program has helped them navigate supply chain disruptions, giving them access to products that they could not source through their main vendors. Fresh produce like carrots, potatoes, onions, leafy greens, melons and apples are commonly sourced, and these schools are buying local beef and pork, and items like locally-made tamales, BBQ sauce and even potstickers! A wide mix of training and technical assistance is being developed to help both our schools and agricultural producers build their local procurement capacity. The data we are collecting is a first in our state and we look forward to building a strong case for our Legislators to continue funding and expanding this program. The application for districts to apply for the next round of funding is open until April 15th! Visit CDE’s Farm to School Website for more information. Learn more about LoProCO.|
Culinary Trainings We have also successfully launched the first part of our three-part series down in Southeast CO! The LoProCO 1.0 workshop happened on March 11th at Las Animas High School. We had 12 school districts represented, local farmers and ranchers, agricultural teachers and student leaders, and local partners attending. The launch was an excellent way for people to gather and strengthen relationships, understand and appreciate their role in the farm-to-school/institution puzzle, discuss the assets and opportunities within the region, and enjoy plenty of delicious food featuring local Colorado products. We look forward to spending more time in region over the next year, supporting the amazing ideas that came out of the workshop and continuing to learn from our attendees as we all work to make farm to school/institution the norm. Our 2.0 is slated for November 2022 and please reach out to Chef Jessica Wright if you want to learn more and join us at Jessica@NourishColorado.org!
|HEALTHY FOOD SYSTEMS POLICY|
While we think it’s always a good time to talk about policy change, there seems to be an exceptional amount of activity these days! As always, the best way to keep up with our policy work, work alongside us, and to keep us on track, is by joining the Food Bill Action Team (FBAT) by emailing Wendy@NourishColorado.org. At the federal level, we are already working with national partners to get ready for Farm Bill 2023. We are developing our Farm Bill platform now and appreciate your guidance and input. We know that some core components of our platform will include advocating for greater access and equity in local and regional food systems programs, increasing innovation in SNAP incentive programs, and exploring ways to pilot building SNAP incentives right in to SNAP benefits. If any of these topics are of interest to you, or if you would like to partner with us to host Farm Bill listening sessions to better tailor these ideas for Colorado, please email Wendy. Here in Colorado, we are just over half-way through our state’s legislative session. In addition to a typical session, the state legislature will also be busy allocating federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars to improve the health and economic vitality of Coloradans. Nourish is tracking several bills this year – see our bill tracker and email Wendy to receive a FBAT recording about how the legislative session works both typically and with the ARPA allocation. Nourish is working on proposal that would streamline and integrate Colorado’s EBT system and ensure stores that accept Double Up Food Bucks can do so without the need for paper coupons. We are also working with partners on the Community Food Access Program in the Colorado Department of Agriculture to bring grant funding and assistance to small food retailers and small farmers across the state that provide critical community food access, yet face significant barriers to consistently sourcing, storing, and selling fresh and local foods. We are also working closely with Hunger Free Colorado to support the expansion of the Local Food Program at the CO Department of Education as a key component of the Healthy School Meals for All bill. For more information on HSMA and how to get involved in the movement for universal school meals, please visit their website. We are excited to be leading efforts to ensure that Colorado families in all areas of the state have access to fresh and affordable foods through the prioritization of ARPA funds.
|FOOD SYSTEMS CHANGEMAKERS|
|This month we are highlighting food system changemaker, Haimanot (Haimi) Embaye! Haimi runs Express Mini Market in Denver and is one of our Double Up Food Bucks corner store locations offering the program year-round. Haimi is very passionate about working with the Double Up program and providing food to her community saying, “Food systems are crucial for building a better future for generations to follow. It is a healthy and sustainable system that I encourage everyone to partake in.” Stop by and visit the market at 9660 E Alameda Ave #110, Denver, CO 80247, connect with Haimi at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow on Facebook to support!|
|This year we are excited to welcome three new team members to Nourish Colorado. Connect with Jesse Hulling, Project Specialist, Emily Hunter, Produce Access Specialist, and Becca Gredone, Legal Intern!|
Jesse brings several years of non-profit experience and his passion for organizing, project management, and strategy into his role as a project specialist at Nourish Colorado. In his role, he will be a resource and support to the team in helping accomplish Nourish Colorado’s mission going forward. He is a Californian native, loves to read, spend time with friends, and explore the beautiful state of Colorado.
Emily brings many years’ experience in agriculture, community engagement, and project management to her role as produce access specialist. She will provide coordination including communications and partnership for Nourish’s healthy food incentives programs. She believes building relationships through food has the power to transform our bodies, our souls, and our communities.
Becca is working with Nourish Colorado as a legal intern for credit towards her final semester at Vermont Law School. She is working with the Nourish team and Nourish’s contracted lawyer to create a legal and policy roadmap for Nourish’s upcoming goals and next action steps. Becca plans to pursue sustainable agriculture and food justice policy work in her career once she graduates. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, camping, cooking, doing yoga, rock climbing, and hanging out with her dog, Atlas. She is very grateful and excited to have the opportunity to work with Nourish Colorado and all of the organization’s partners and stakeholders as she develops her networking and policy work skills.
We’ve moved! We are pleased to announce that we have transitioned to our new office space in Tramway Nonprofit Center, located at 3532 Franklin Street Unit F, Denver, CO 80205. Owned by the Urban Land Conservancy, The Tramway Nonprofit Center is home to over 15 nonprofits that service the Denver metro area. It warms our hearts to be in community with our local partners. We already feel right at home and look forward to welcoming our partners to the space soon!
|Events & Opportunities We regularly update the events calendar on our website to host the incredible meetings and events happening in the food systems space. We promote both Nourish Colorado events and partner event opportunities. We also update our job board with Nourish Colorado jobs and partner career or other opportunities. Please submit any upcoming opportunities you’d like to share to Jesse Hulling. We are thrilled to partner with the talented and passionate Masters of the Environment (MENV) students again this year. We will be continuing our Root Down, Rise Up blog series and hosting another webinar conversation together this Spring – stay tuned! 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!|