LIFT-UP saw the need for healthier fresh food options beyond the typical non-perishable canned, boxed and bagged foods that oftentimes are laden with extra salt and sugars. Some initial grants, from Colorado Blueprint on Hunger, Hunger Free Colorado and Aspen Community Foundation, allowed for the purchase of fresh meat from Potter Farms as well as produce from local farms.
The Farm to Food Pantry is a win-win for our community economically and in providing healthier food options to those struggling with food scarcity and insecurity. After years of encouraging gleaning during fall harvests, partnerships with farmers’ markets and a grocery rescue program that in 2019 received more than 371,000 pounds of fresh produce and dairy, plus the recent grants outlined above, LIFT-UP has tested the waters. Growing our Farm to Food Pantry program will help our entire community. This is an economic system that will offer more improved food offerings, from more producers, through community food sites like the LIFT-UP food pantries to the underserved.
LIFT-UP can serve more clients with healthier food choices, help farmers & ranchers with known paid food purchasing commitments and keep the resources in the Roaring Fork valley, regionally and along the I-70 corridor.
This expanded Farm to Food Pantry Program will:
Support the local economy with the purchase of produce, dairy and beef from local farmers and ranchers,
Allow farms and ranches to plan ahead for crops and needs,
Offer needed dairy through Colorado-based dairy farms,
Provide healthier food options to the underserved population in the Roaring Fork valley beyond the traditional non-perishable food sources resulting in potentially fewer negative health impacts,
Create a system with a lower impact on our environment with less trucking from outside Colorado resources.
Food security for our valley has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially as we go into the summer and fall, we could ramp up farming by making advance purchase agreements for food, stimulate income and jobs for local works AND support our food pantries with local organic nutritious food. The LIFT-UP Farm to Pantry is ready to put our donation to use.
– Tim J. (Donor)
Eating fresh food keeps people healthier. It not only tastes better but it also contributes to a better quality diet which in the long run can prevent people from getting sick with chronic diseases.
– Christine Dolan RDN (Nutrition Program Manager, Garfield County Public Health)
HOW IT WORKS
Through grants and donations, LIFT-UP will make purchasing commitments to local (Roaring Fork valley) farms and ranchers as well as regionally for additional produce and dairy.
Farmers will have up-front commitments and funding to grow their crops.
Fall harvesting will be delivered to LIFT-UP through local distributors (Farm Runners and Skips) to the LIFT-UP Food Pantries.
LIFT-UP will distribute fresh produce, dairy and meat to their underserved clients in need.
Beyond the typical grocery rescue, this program will also allow for ordering foods in keeping with cultural diversity and seasonality, while also allowing for flexibility in accepting secondary market produce or adjustments should a crop not produce as expected due to natural disasters or other unforeseen situations.
I love the win-win of supporting local food producers and getting more fresh food to the LIFT-UP Food Pantries. Let’s all pitch in to make the Farm to Food Pantry program work for everyone.
– Amy Throm
Why are local foods so important?
UpRoot reroutes surplus produce to food pantries — reducing food loss, supporting farmers and providing much-needed nutrients to families facing food insecurity.
Their Volunteer Gleaning Corps will harvest and collect excess produce from your backyard fruit trees and distribute the bounty to local LIFT-UP food pantries.