In 2005, the Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado were funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Food Projects Program to initiate and lead a community-wide food assessment. The assessment took place in La Plata County, a community located in southwest Colorado that is diverse in both its people and geography. With over 60 years of combined experience, the five Growing Partners organizations each bring unique experience and qualifications to the partnership.
Who are the Growing Partners?
Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado is a partnership between five local nonprofits and service organizations including The Southern Ute Community Action Program, La Boca Center for Sustainability, The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, Turtle Lake Refuge, and The Southwest Marketing Network.
What is a Community Food Assessment?
A community food assessment is a collaborative process that examines a broad-range of food related issues and resources in order to improve local food systems. A food assessment begins to lay community ground work on food system change that promotes food security; a situation in which ALL people have access to food that is safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate, and affordable. In La Plata County, Growing Partners is doing this by pinpointing the most pressing needs relative to food, addressing them with current available resources, and creating ways in which to deal with food issues the community does not currently address.
Community food assessments are conducted to provide a community with a greater understanding of its food needs and resources while addressing a wide range of food-related issues and concerns. Food assessments take a systematic and participatory approach to understanding the entire food system, including information about production, distribution, and consumption.
Benefits of a Community Food Assessment
- Involve, educate and empower communities
- Strengthen existing community food programs and resources
- Improve access to healthy, affordable, safe, and culturally appropriate foods, produced on local farms and ranches
The La Plata County Community Food Assessment covers four main areas:
Food Production: a historical profile; current information and future projections regarding the obstacles and opportunities for regional food production; and food resources including charitable food programs, gleaning projects, farmers’ markets, and community gardens;
School Food Programs: school lunch, school gardens and Farm-to-School;
Food Security: its definition and impact;
Community Food Projects: their definition and ability to address the issues in each of these areas.
Front Cover (144kb)
Table of Contents (132kb)
Executive Summary (38kb)
Chapter 1 (67kb) - Introduction
Chapter 2 (278kb) - A Profile Of La Plata County
Chapter 3 (321kb)- A Regional Profile Of Agriculture
--La Plata County Irrigated Agriculture
--Regional Farms and Farmers' Markets
Chapter 4 (542kb) - A Profile Of Food Resources & Food Projects
--La Plata County Grocery Stores
Chapter 5 (861kb) - A Profile Of The Local School Food System
--A Map of School Gardens in La Plata County
Chapter 6 (90kb) - Health & Nutrition In La Plata County
Chapter 7 (255kb) - Food Security In La Plata County
Chapter 8 (118kb) - Conclusions Of A Yearlong Community Food Assessment
Back Cover (118kb)
La Plata County Assessment Tool Kit
- Farmer/Producer Interview
- Agency Interview
- School Survey on Food Related Programs
- School Food Services Survey
- Restaurant Survey
- Consumer Survey
- Youth Survey
- 4H Youth Interview
- Hispanic Interview
- Grocery Store Survey
- Nutrition Expert Interview
- Farms to School Planning Survey
- Agency Survey for Seniors
- Annual Report
- Food Forum Results