ALAMOSA – The Rio Grande Farm Park (RGFP) is piloting a new Farm to Pantry project, thanks to generous sup - port from the Colorado Health Foundation. This partnership will provide fresh, local produce at no cost to various food pantries in Alamosa. The idea for this project arose during the 2019 Rural Philanthropy Days event hosted by the Community Resource Center.
The then-director of the Rio Grande Farm Park, Julie Mordecai, was inspired by former Farm Manager Jesse Marchildon declaring that food is a right and that every person ought to have easy access to truly healthy food--free of cost. The RGFP Farmers Co-op, a collaborative organization of the farmer incu - bators beginning their businesses at the Park, signed on to help make the vision a reality. It will meet two goals for the Co-op: create greater self-sufficiency for RGFP farmers through access to new markets, while also providing fresh, nutritious food to those whose access is limited.
This also meets a need recognized by the Food Bank, whose clients identified fresh fruits and vegetables as the most valuable items the Food Bank could provide. Funding from the Colorado Health Foundation is providing participating farmers with stipends to grow this extra produce. Over the course of the next two years, $48,000 worth of produce grown by the RGFP Farmer’s Co-op will be donated to organizations serving the SLV.
Partners for this project include 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. While the inspiration for this project came long before COVID-19 took hold, its relevance has been underlined in the wake of the global pandemic. The program’s partners have all seen an uptick in the need to provide food to their clients.
As supply chains have been interrupted, supermarkets and grocery stores have faced challenges in consistently sourcing the products people are accustomed to. The San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition is honored to be taking part in a resurgence of local food networks. By connecting consumers directly to farmers, the Coalition hopes that a higher value is placed on local food, and our food system becomes more resilient. In doing so, the community can support the RGFP Farm to Pantry program for years to come.
If you are interested in receiving fresh produce at no cost through this program, determine which food pantry partner best suits your needs: -For students, staff, and faculty of Adams State University, RGFP produce will be available at ASU’s food pantry, open Monday through Friday from noon to 1 PM. -For children and teens, the Boys and Girls Club of the SLV will be providing RGFP produce through their programming. -For clients of the SLV Immigrant Resource Center, RGFP produce will be available through the RGFP’s new on-site farm stand which will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 3 PM to 7 PM.
Contact the IRC for more details. -For anyone in need, RGFP produce will be distributed through the Alamosa Food Bank, open Monday through Friday from noon to 4 PM. To support RGFP farmers in these efforts, you can purchase produce from RGFP’s new on-site Farm Stand at 6395 COHwy 17. It will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3 pm to 7 pm. Please remember to wear your mask and obey the posted COVID-19 safety guidelines.