Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: Food Matters
We all have a personal connection to food. We have a history, a love-hate relationship, a favorite food, a least favorite food, stories of cooking successes and mishaps, family favorite meals and recipes.
Food matters to each of us personally. Whether in scarcity or abundance, food matters to the individual and the collective community.
Based on data from The Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, Hunger Free Colorado and U.S. Department of Agriculture, we know there are hungry people in our region. According to their reporting, one in 10 Coloradans and one in six children are food insecure.
It is easy to view hunger or food insecurity as reality outside of our beautiful Yampa Valley, but as part of a screening for social needs, (food, transportation, housing, etc.) in patients at participating health and medical clinics across our region, we are seeing food insecurity as an issue in our region.
Based on this data, The Health Partnership has secured a planning grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to work with community partners such as the Northwest Colorado Food Coalition — led by the Community Agriculture Alliance — to identify gaps in food access and security across our region, with a goal of establishing a plan to address these gaps based on The Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger.
The most recent local efforts to identify gaps in food access and security were done in 2013 by LiveWell Northwest Colorado and Community Ag Alliance. Six years later, we are excited to work with community partners to build off the previous work and leverage our community assets to ensure our community has access to quality nutrition.
Since 2013, much collective work has been underway to address various social needs and barriers. The Health Partnership is currently championing efforts in our region to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs expansion based on eligibility. The Food Coalition has grown to lead sustainability and agricultural efforts. LiftUp has continued to be our local leader in food efforts and local churches continue to offer meals and resources to our community.
The Yampa Valley is rich with people who care about food access. To address the gaps, the Food Matters group will create a strategy to address food insecurity in a thoughtful and collaborative way. Starting this June, we will begin meeting to identify local partners who would like to work together in these efforts.
Reach out to Erin Miller at The Health Partnership if you are interested in participating in Food Matters at email@example.com. As a community, we can address food access and insecurity, so community members’ personal connection to food is one of love and community, and not hunger.
Erin Miller is the regional outreach and enrollment coordinator for the Health Partnership serving Northwest Colorado.
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