Pilot Year of Farm to Pantry Program was a Success
Written by Addelina Lucero, November 2020
Alamosa, CO.– The Rio Grande Farm Park’s (RGFP) first year of the Farm to Pantry project was highly successful, thanks to generous support from the Colorado Health Foundation and Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger’s COVID-19 Emergency Hunger Relief Fund. Our collaborative project provided fresh, local produce at no cost to four food pantries in Alamosa: the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley, Boys and Girls Club of the San Luis Valley, Adams State Food Pantry, and the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center.
Although the inspiration for this project originated long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of this partnership was very timely as the program’s partners all saw an uptick in the need to provide food to their clients. “The majority of clients served by the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center are not able to purchase fresh produce weekly due to budget constraints; therefore, immigrant families were excited and appreciative to be given this opportunity,” explains Flora Archuleta, Executive Director of the SLV Immigrant Resource Center.
Funding from the Colorado Health Foundation and Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger’s COVID-19 Emergency Hunger Relief Fund provided participating farmers with stipends to grow this extra produce to deliver to our four local partners.
Aaron Miltenberger, president of the Boys and Girls Club of the SLV, highlights the value of this direct connection to local farmers: “It is invaluable to have a resource that can produce local food and provide our members with the opportunity to eat that food that they would otherwise never experience. Most importantly, this partnership allows our young people to see the work of growers and producers and understand the honorable and sacred roots it has in their family’s history and background.”
Thank you to the Colorado Health Foundation for making this partnership possible and to all of our pantry partners for working with us to develop the program. Thank you also to Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger for filling in the funding gap due to increased COVID-related demand. And a huge thank you to the RGFP Farmers for growing fresh, local produce in abundance to supply to our community.
The San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition is currently seeking funding to continue this project into the winter by sourcing local and regional products from the Valley Roots Food Hub. RGFP will continue these Farm to Pantry partnerships next summer for the second and final year of our current grant funding, with hopes to grow this project beyond 2021.
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