UpRoot measurably reduces surplus agriculture in Colorado, supports the economic stability of farmers and increases the nutritional security of our state’s residents.
UpRoot Colorado (UpRoot) measurably reduces surplus agriculture in Colorado, supports the economic stability of farmers and increases the nutritional security of our state’s residents. Our vision is a Colorado foodshed that is more mindful, humane, self-sustaining and connected, where everyone has access to protective foods and where markets value farmers for what they are: a cornerstone of our society.
*Volunteer Gleaning Corps
Our Volunteer Gleaning Corps harvests surplus fruits and vegetables from local farms—as well as fruit from the trees of backyard and urban gardens—for distribution to food pantries and meal sites on the Northern Front Range and along the Western Slope. Our gleaning corps is composed of individuals, families and corporate groups, staff from like-minded nonprofit organizations, partners who practice experiential-based learning, community-garden groups, and service-based organizations. We partner with existing hunger-relief organizations to efficiently distribute gleaned food to community members in need.
*Mobile Farm Workforce (MFW) Pilot 2018-2019 | Farm & Food Workforce (FFW) Pilot 2020-
The MFW pilot was a collaborative effort between Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), the Good Food Collective (GFC), Veterans to Farmers and UpRoot. Now entering its third year of operations, the pilot has provided smallholder and family farmers and ranchers in Colorado with on-demand and efficient labor.
The pilot project has traveled to farms and ranches across Boulder, Delta, Denver, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, Montezuma and Weld counties during harvest season to support farmers and ranchers with harvesting and agriculture-related duties, reducing potential surplus crops and providing economic value to farmers and ranchers.
The vision for this pilot in 2020 is to leverage furloughed or laid-off workers from Colorado’s restaurant industry to expand the reach of the pilot—now called the Farm & Food Workforce (FFW). We are also in discussions with the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) to include incarcerated individuals in an agricultural workforce and development program in Delta County.
Our goal is to continue to holistically fill labor gaps (potentially exacerbated by the pandemic), reduce on-farm surplus, prove concept and pave the way for a statewide, worker-owned professional agricultural services cooperative providing Colorado’s agricultural sector with labor in addition to a full complement of agricultural services including (but not limited to) skilled and unskilled (i.e., apprenticeships), farm planning, food-safety training and planning, marketing and graphic design, bookkeeping and accounting, grant writing, sheep shearing, consultation in soil health and transitions to regenerative-agricultural practices, and mental-health services.
* Safe and Abundant Nutrition Alliance (SANA)
UpRoot is playing a seminal role in the development of a regional food-systems coalition along the Western Slope—SANA—that will coordinate food access and equity efforts in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties. SANA is composed of government and nonprofit entities working to build a strong, regional food system that supports local farm viability and ensures food access and equity for members of our communities.
*Home Food Garden Project
UpRoot is fiscally sponsoring the Roaring Fork Food Alliance’s Home Food Garden Project. The Home Food Garden Project was formed to increase the supply of locally produced food, today and moving forward, by supporting the creation of successful and productive home gardens, pairing Master Gardeners from Colorado State University (CSU), and other resources, with people throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. The Home Food Garden Project is managed by the Roaring Fork Food Alliance, an organization working from Parachute to Aspen to create a thriving local food system.
*Farm-to-Food Pantry Partnerships
UpRoot has provided consulting and technical-assistance services to food banks and pantries along the Western Slope who have received state funding to purchase produce, meat, and dairy from local farms. UpRoot has guided both farmers and food pantries through the process to foster connections, increase economic opportunity, and help farmers sell more of what they grow.
UpRoot is collaborating with Colorado-based nonprofit organizations to research new legislation that will support Colorado family farms and ranches and create a more connected and healthy food system. These actions are in response to the “sunsetting” of the Colorado Charitable Crop Donation Act (CCCDA) on 12.31.19.
UpRoot received a grant from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to continue its research of on-farm surplus agriculture in Colorado. The second stage of our research into on-farm surplus in Colorado is now complete and includes both qualitative and quantitative data. Our research team consisted of PhD candidates Anna Hermes and Nathan Lee-Ammons at the University of Colorado, supervised by John Brett, PhD.
*Statewide Gleaning Network
We are involved in discussions with several communities along the Western Slope to pour the footings for a statewide gleaning network that empowers community members to take greater ownership of their local foodsheds, taking a page from network-models in both Maine and Vermont.