In our previous blog, we explained that the food system is all about how food gets from the farm, to your plate, and everything in between! At GoFarm, each of our programs focus on specific aspects of this food chain, primarily:
The Farmer Assistance program focuses on how we grow our food
The Local Food Share program focuses on how we distribute our food
The Community Food Access program focuses on who can access and afford our food.
These three programs are interconnected, and just like the food system itself, they overlap and work together to make our local food system, and our communities stronger.
Let’s start from the source (the source of food that is):
The Farmer Assistance program is all about supporting our local farmers, to helping them supply food to the community. Within the Farmer Assistance program, our major initiative is the GoFarm Incubator. The Incubator program trains and mentors aspiring farmers and breaks down the barriers of entry into a career in farming. We provide beginning farmers with access to land, infrastructure, technical assistance, classroom curriculum, and mentorship to help them build their farm business and supply the community with fresh, local food. In addition to the Incubator program, we offer other areas of support, such as equipment rental, food safety resources, and wholesale sales outlets to many local farmers.
Much of the food grown by our local farmers and Incubator participants feed into GoFarm’s two other programs > the Local Food Share and Community Food Access Program.
The Local Food Share is what many of you take part of when you pick up your shares of food each week. (For those who are unfamiliar, the Local Food Share is where community members sign up and pay in advance for a full season of local food, then simply meet us at our distribution locations to pick up their food “shares” each week of the season.) The driving motivation behind this program is to build up the demand of local, sustainably-grown food, and to get more people eating local and feeling connected to where their food comes from. All the food we distribute is sourced from local farmers, and we strive to be as transparent as possible, so you’ll always know where every item in your share comes from and who grew it.
The demand created through the Local Food Share is what gives us the opportunity to support so many of our local farmers. We source from local farmers every week, paying fair market prices that THEY have set for us (contrary to how grocery stores set prices which often leaves farmers with very minimal profit margin). Meanwhile, the Local Food Share also allows us to source enough to meet the needs of our Community Food Access program, which distributes food at lower prices for those struggling with food security.
Right now, healthy, local food is not accessible or affordable for everyone who needs it. Don’t believe us? Check out this Community Food Assessment for Golden published in 2019 for details.
To combat this, our Community Food Access program aims to reduce and help solve the food disparity in our community, as we believe that reliable access to good food is a basic human right. We host low-cost, pop-up markets in areas where many families struggle with hunger and food insecurity, we offer economic incentives on local food purchases, we offer donations and sell food at-cost to many community partners and food pantries, and we are active in our local food policy councils.
All in all, we can’t support our farmers without the support and buying power of our Local Food Share customers, we can’t provide food to our community without sustainable, local farms to buy from, and we can’t have an equitable community without the ability to offer incentives and increased access points for those who need it most. Our programs work together to build a stronger local food system, with prosperous farms, educated consumers, and equitable distribution models.