Arvada residents will be able to participate in a 20-week local food share this summer, as GoFarm — a nonprofit based in Golden — is expanding its service.
The organization focuses on strengthening the local food system and connecting consumers with their local food sources. GoFarm sources its produce from sustainable, local, small scale farmers, and distributes the weekly produce boxes to community members at one of four pick-up locations — two in Golden and now two in Arvada.
GoFarm’s mission is three-fold — for residents to participate in the local food share buy purchasing produce boxes; to provide farmer assistance; and to provide community access to fresh food.
One way GoFarm is addressing food access is by selling produce half price for eligible low income households through a partnership with the local Head Start program. They also participate in SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks, a state-funded program that doubles the money on SNAP if being used for Colorado-grown produce.
GoFarm is ready to move into Arvada because the City has already completed a Food Plan Assessment that addresses three priorities: to increase access to healthy food to all their residents, to maximize production of healthy food for local consumption, and to help reduce barriers to food assistance programs.
“GoFarm is addressing the city’s priorities by opening distribution locations where residents can pick up produce grown from beginning, Colorado farmers and providing an affordable price point for residents with limited-income,” said Eileen O’Rouke, founder of GoFarm, which started in 2014. “We are so excited to work with the City of Arvada to get to work on their food system priorities.”
Centura Health has also partnered with GoFarm to improve community wellness by allowing GoFarm to host their shipping containers on Centura facilities. The GoFarm shipping container provides a venue to distribute food each week, and engage with the community and inspire people to care about the food they eat.
Together they also created the Produce as Medicine program, where Centura staff screen patients for food insecurity, and if deemed food insecure, patients get a free voucher for a GoFarm food box. Those patients are then exposed to local, healthy, convenient food options, and are encouraged to pay with SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks after they use up their voucher.
A grant from the USDA in 2017 is has allowed GoFarm to move forward with the expansion of their local food share program on Centura Facilities. Through this grant, GoFarm will open a new pick-up location every year at a Centura neighborhood health center until 2019.
This year, GoFarm is opening up an Arvada pick-up location at 64th and Quaker for its full price program. A market-style program will be available at Jefferson County Head Start, 5150 Allison St, Arvada.