Community Agriculture Alliance: All I want for Christmas | SteamboatToday.com

Community Agriculture Alliance: All I want for Christmas

Nancy Kramer/For Steamboat Pilot & Today

This time of year so much is focused on that special gift one desires. For many, the simple truth is that what they desire is access to good, nutritious food. Food security and justice have always been core values for me and a basic right.

In a wealthy country with a robust agricultural industry, it is amazing people live under the poverty level and don't have access to the nutritious food they need and deserve.

Food security is the condition in which all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs as well as food preferences for an active and healthy life.

Food justice is defined as a community's response to food insecurity and economic pressures that prevent access to healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods.

From the time I moved here in 1974, I have witnessed the communities of the Yampa Valley go above and beyond to assure food justice is a core community value. A year-round practice for many, this season of giving and sharing allows us an opportunity to shine a light on those familiar and not so familiar that truly make food justice a practice.

The always steadfast commitment of Routt County United Way and LiftUp of Routt County are at the top of the list for delivering food justice. Added value to these organization efforts is the dedication of Paul and Bridget Ferguson's produce drives that add fresh produce to our community pantry.

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Saturday, Dec. 22, is the next produce drive at City Market. Add it to your holiday calendar and give the gift of nutritious, fresh food.

A cornucopia of accessible, nutritious food is found at the many community dinners, large and small, served throughout the year. Thank you Realtors, United Way, churches and all the others that pour their heart and soul into preparing and serving these meals in the name of food justice.

Community Agriculture Alliance provides added diversity and access to some of the most nutritious food in our community pantry. Established to connect consumers to producers, the CAA market is the portal to locally grown and produced food. Become a Yampavore at caamarket.org.

In all of my community service roles during my 44 years in the valley, one of the most important and rewarding was as a participant in the initial development phase of the Northwest Colorado Food Coalition. It is a group of like-minded individuals, organizations and agencies that came together to provide leadership, direction and collective resources to address the issue of food security and justice. 

What a gift to have this dedicated group of experts to bring the long-term vision and leadership to assure food justice remains a core community value.

During this holiday season, remember that all many of us want for Christmas is a community that believes in and supports food justice as a basic right.

Nancy Kramer is the program coordinator at Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Program.

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