LIFT-UP Farm to Food Pantry Program
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 program is a win-win for our community economically and in providing healthier food options to those struggling with food scarcity and insecurity.
“One thing that is certain in the world of nutrition is that fruits, vegetables and whole grains are the best way to combat chronic disease, and doing this affordably is possible by purchasing what is in season and resisting spending money on processed foods.” – Stephanie Nick Cooking Matters Program Coordinator, Garfield County Public Health.
Growing the LIFT-UP Farm to Food Pantry program has helped our entire community. This is an economic system that provides more improved food offerings, from more producers, through community food sites like the LIFT-UP food pantries and mobile food distribution locations to the underserved.
“LIFT-UP’s Farm to Food Pantry program is a model within the state of Colorado, providing fresh, nutritious food to the communities that need it most. By sourcing from local farms and ranches, LIFT-UP helped build a more sustainable food system from Aspen to Parachute. LIFT-UP’s work has helped create and sustain jobs and grow small farm businesses and with increased capacity, LIFT-UP will make a lasting impact on the health of the region’s local food ecosystem.” - Gwen Cameron, Regional Food Systems Coordinator for Hunger Free Colorado
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.
How it works:
- Through grants and donations, LIFT-UP makes purchasing commitments to local (Roaring Fork valley) farms and ranchers as well as regionally for additional produce and dairy.
- Farmers have up-front commitments and funding to grow their crops.
- Fall harvesting will be delivered to LIFT-UP through local distributors to the LIFT-UP Food Pantries and distribution sites.
- 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.