Regional Coalition Receives $200,000 Colorado Health Foundation Grant   Funding to Support Efforts to Decrease Food Insecurity in the Region

  • Published
  • On October 5, 2020

TELLURIDE, CO – (October 5th, 2020) – During 2020 and the recent pandemic, food insecurity has, unfortunately, become a new reality for many nationwide as well as close to home. In recent months, some San Miguel County residents relied on local food banks for the first time in their lives. With this new reality, funding from the Colorado Health Foundation to help address regional food insecurity comes at the perfect time.  The Telluride Foundation recently received a $200,000 grant on behalf of local organizations working in food insecurity to help break down silos to ensure community members have healthy and fresh foods and the power to improve the local food system. The “Food Security Coalition,” developed as part of this grant, will seek to decrease hunger, increase the quality of food, and position organizations to become more equitable and diverse to best represent the communities in which they serve.

This “Reducing Food Insecurity and Inequity” Initiative will implement several new and existing programs, including 1) working with local libraries to provide resource guides to ensure everybody is aware of their options and is getting the food assistance they need; 2) hiring a bi-cultural/bi-lingual food bank coordinator to assist with increased demand as well as outreach to the Latinx community; 3) hiring a food security coordinator to better connect fresh food to food assistance programs, including connecting local produce at the Fresh Food Hub to food banks and school backpack programs through a whole-sale website  and facilitating a “Grow-a-Row” program to increase production of local produce for food security programs; and 4) continuing Coalition meetings to enable better collaboration and communication. Coalition partners include Tri-County Health Network, Angel Baskets, Norwood Food Bank, West End Family Link, the Fresh Food Hub, Region 10/Seniors Collaborative, Norwood and Naturita libraries, San Miguel/Ouray County WIC Program, All Points Transit, Volunteer of America/Senior Meals, the Apple Core Project, and local schools and clinics. Any one or organization is welcome to participate in Coalition meetings.

Food from neighboring farmers not only tastes better but is healthier and creates a stronger local economy. Locally sourced food is emerging as a great opportunity for the region, as  evidenced by restaurant menus in Telluride, the popularity of farmers markets, the success of local food retail outlets, such as the  Fresh Food Hub in Norwood, and the growth of artisan bakeries in Norwood. The food we buy in grocery stores travels an average 1,300 miles from the farm to our tables. Most farmers and ranchers sell to collection points, such as grain and produce terminals or stockyards. The terminal or stockyard sells to processing companies, which process and package the products we buy in the grocery store. However, connecting local markets and tapping into the existing supply created by local farms and ranches will build a stronger local economy and provide fresher, more nutrient rich foods to our region.

This Initiative builds on the Telluride Foundation’s Local Food Initiative, which was implemented in 2016. This grant will benefit regional food banks in the Foundation’s service area, as well as other specific food security programs in the West End of San Miguel and Montrose counties. This is the third grant that the Telluride Foundation has received from the Colorado Health Foundation regarding local food and food insecurity; CHF helped fund the Local Food Initiative in 2016 and awarded a planning grant in 2019 to review opportunities to improve food insecurity systems and sustainability, which is when existing food security organizations in our neighboring communities came together to form the Food Security Coalition. In addition to these CHF grants, the Local Food Initiative has received generous and ongoing support from the Kenneth Goldman Fund, Alpine Bank, Newman’s Own Foundation, Laura Jane Musser Fund, Department of Local Affairs/San Miguel County, the Telluride Foundation, and individual donors.

The Telluride Foundation hopes to foster a strong local food economy, as well as decrease food insecurity and inequity. For more information on the Colorado Health Foundation grant or the Local Food Initiative or to participate in Food Security Coalition meetings, please email Robin Kondracki at vista@telleridefoundation.org.

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride and regional community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. 2020 marks 20 years of making more possible through the Telluride Foundation’s commitment to enrich the quality of life of the residents, visitors and workforce of the Telluride region. The Telluride Foundation is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that makes grants to nonprofits, owns and operates programs that meet emerging and unmet community needs, and makes investments. The Foundation approaches this work through the lens of its core values of inclusion, self-reliance, and innovation. Its work is funded through the generous support of individual donors as well as grants from state and national foundations. The Foundation hopes the community will join it in celebrating its 20th anniversary as it honors the nonprofits, donors, and community members who have all partnered together to achieve a significant positive impact on the region. For more information, click on www.telluridefoundation.org.