Community Food Systems Strategic Planning Process to Commence

Guidestone Colorado, in partnership with Chaffee County Public and Environmental Health, has been awarded a Colorado Health Foundation (CHF) Community Food Systems Strategic Planning grant, to kick off this month. Through a series of facilitated stakeholder meetings, community engagement events, and individual and producer/ market key informant interviews, this community-driven collaboration will identify gaps in the local food system and develop strategies to build capacity to grow and expand healthy, local food production and access to all members of Chaffee County and the surrounding area.

From 2011-2015, local food system and food access assessments were completed in Chaffee County, spearheaded by LiveWell Chaffee County, including a Local Food Demand Report, a Chaffee County Food Security Report, a 2011 CHF-funded Healthy Foods Assessment and a Food Hub Feasibility Study. To build on these efforts, reassess current issues in our rural communities, and develop strategies to further strengthen agricultural production and healthy food accessibility, the goals of this Community Food Systems Planning project are:

Goal 1: Engage low income populations through participation in the community food system planning process and development of project recommendations.

Goal 2: Engage community partners most likely to advance programs and policies developed from the food system planning process by establishing a local food coalition.

Goal 3: Develop a stronger understanding of barriers and opportunities for populations with poor access to healthy foods and low consumption of healthy foods.

Goal 4: Identify opportunities and strategies to support local food growers, food distribution systems, and retail and wholesale markets to help them to better serve this community.

Goal 5: Identify opportunities and strategies for increased agricultural production in Chaffee County.

This study will span Chaffee County and western Fremont County including Salida, Buena Vista, Poncha Springs and Howard, and focus groups and key informant interviews will include farm and ranch producers, support organizations, government representatives, individuals who have experienced food insecurity, food banks, faith-based organizations, school districts and community members. Joseph Teipel, with the Chaffee County Community Foundation, will be the lead facilitator in this strategic planning process.

To participate in a community forum, please mark your calendars: Thursday, March 5th, 5-6pm at the Community Center in Buena Vista and Thursday, March 12th, 5-6pm at the Scout Hut in Salida.

We are looking forward to engaging with the community, assessing the current food system landscape, and determining strategies moving forward to continue to bolster the local food system and ensure access to healthy local foods for all members of our community.

For more information, please contact Andrea Coen, Executive Director, Guidestone Colorado: [email protected] or call (719)239-0955.

Sign In or Register to comment.