Elkstone Farm is committed to providing nutritious and beautiful food to our community. We do this through our CSA shares and our on-farm lunches and dinners. We also promote wellness by addressing food insecurity through our participation in farm-to-food-pantry programs. The term ‘food insecurity’ means changing behaviors because of the anticipation of not having enough food. Despite the perceived affluence of our mountain community, food insecurity exists in our midst, as families often must ration resources among housing expenses, medical expenses, and food.
Routt County is lucky to have several food pantries. Traditionally, the food offered in food pantries can be near or past expiration and is often heavily processed and shelf stable. It is the goal of farm-to-food-pantry initiatives to upend that model. Our state legislature has put forth legislation called the ‘Food Pantry Assistance Grant’ to provide funds to Colorado food pantries for the purchase of locally grown produce. Elkstone Farm has participated in this program by selling produce to our local food pantry, providing them with fresh vegetables grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals. In return these programs provide needed funds to local producers in a way that donation-driven models do not.
There are limitations associated with the Food Pantry Assistance Grant, including its lack of synchronicity with the growing season, and its need for annual renewal. Looking forward, we can expand upon the success of the Food Pantry Assistance Grant by ensuring that it is in sync with Colorado’s limited growing season, and that its grants span multiple seasons. Longevity in the grant cycle allows for planning and development of infrastructure including dry storage and refrigeration to properly accommodate the flow of produce from farm to pantry.
Elkstone Farm was lucky to be able to participate in the making of a short video about the Food Pantry Assistance Grant. When you watch it you’ll see the farm featured prominently including the pond garden, hoop houses and sub-tropical greenhouse. Our Chef Russell also has a few words to say! We hope you find the opportunity to watch the film by clicking on this link: https://youtu.be/Zt8jwQUInm0