Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) improves access to healthy food in underserved Colorado communities by financing grocery stores and other forms of healthy food retail.
GoFarm to Increase Fresh Food Access with New Mobile Market
Pictured: GoFarm’s new mobile market (from left to right) Kate Falkenberg (Local Food Share Program Manager), Anna Schott (Program Director) and her son, Eileen O’Rourke (Founder and CEO), and Evelyn Gutierrez (Bilingual Community Liaison) and “Georgia the dog.”
GoFarm is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the supply of and access to affordable, fresh, healthy, local food in Colorado. Founded in 2014, GoFarm is based in Golden and serves many Jefferson County communities.
A key pillar of its mission is GoFarm’s Community Food Access program. One of its primary activities within this program is hosting pop-up markets that provide fresh, healthy food in underserved areas. To increase the efficiencies of the program’s operations and ultimately serve more communities, GoFarm sought to purchase a vehicle specifically designed as a mobile market. The mobile market will help GoFarm reduce the time it takes to set up and break down markets, and will allow the organization to host more markets at different sites each day it operates. With the new mobile market, GoFarm plans to expand to more sites throughout the Denver Metro area, including Denver County.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of community organizations that reach out to us about collaborating on markets at their sites, and it started to exceed our capacity. We did not have the necessary infrastructure in place to grow and expand like we hoped we could. This mobile market changes that for us, as we now have a way to work with more partner organizations and reach more of our community,” said Jess Soulis, GoFarm’s Community Food Access Program Manager.
The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) supported GoFarm’s mobile market purchase with a $20,000 loan and $20,000 grant. This funding leverages $32,600 in grants received from Community First Foundation, Denver Public Health and Environment, City of Golden, and NextFifty Initiative.
“We are so grateful for the financial support we received from the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund. It has made it possible for us to purchase this mobile market and nearly double the number of markets we can plan for our upcoming growing season,” said Soulis.
The new mobile market will greatly enhance the organization’s initiatives that work with Head Start Preschools and Older Adult Residences. At these partner locations families will be able to buy produce at affordable prices and participate in fun, educational activities. SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks are accepted, and other discounts are offered to families receiving WIC benefits.
“Our markets and programs are all about connecting more people to their local food system and making local food as inclusive and accessible as possible. The mobile market will help us visit more sites in a fun and engaging way. The vehicle features bright and colorful fruits and veggies commonly grown in Colorado, with one side of the truck opening up to create a walk-up storefront,” said Anna Schott, GoFarm’s Programs Director. “We hope that this mobile market excites and inspires people to get involved in their local food system, serving as an innovative connector between local producers and local consumers.”
GoFarm also fulfills its mission through food-sharing agricultural programs (multi-farm CSA) and supporting beginning farmers through their farmer incubator program. To learn more about GoFarm, please visit gofarm.org.
Photos courtesy of GoFarm
Federal Resources Support Food Access in Colorado
The pandemic worsened food access challenges and increased the number of food-insecure households in Colorado. To help provide relief, the American Rescue Plan Act passed on March 11, 2021, includes $220 million for food assistance programs in Colorado. It includes:
A 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits automatically extended through September
A continuation of the Extend Pandemic-EBT program through the summer, which increases SNAP benefits to help cover the cost of meals that school-age children would normally be receiving in school
In addition, $495 million in funding will be allocated to Colorado high-education institutions, half of which must be distributed to students as emergency grants to prevent hunger, homelessness, and other hardships caused by COVID-19