Mission: Influence policy to increase equitable access to healthy, local and affordable food and support a sustainable community food system.
Vision: Jefferson County is a food secure community with healthy food access for all residents, a vibrant and equitable farming infrastructure, a healthy ecosystem and a thriving local food economy.
The Jefferson County Food Policy Council held its first meeting in the fall of 2015, with concerns about the limited use of the SNAP (food stamps) and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) programs, and rising child obesity numbers in Jefferson County. The Council is facilitated by Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), and membership includes farmers, non-profit organizations, health care staff, community residents, researchers and local municipalities. (Learn more in Spanish).
If you would like to become involved in the Jeffco Food Policy Council and attend a monthly meeting, e-mail Allyson Goto at [email protected]
Report: Recovery Building and Resilience - Centering Community to Create a Food Secure Jefferson County
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, Jefferson County should not settle for a food system that fails to serve all residents. The County should prioritize a collective shift from an emergency food response to a systems-level approach that centers community to build a more resilient local food system to effectively meet all residents’ needs.
This report from the Jefferson County Food Systems team, “Recovery Rebuilding, and Resilience: Centering Community to Create a Food Secure Jefferson County,” is a first step toward a more resilient food system. The report synthesizes data collected from more than two years of community engagement and research conducted through the Jefferson County Food Policy Council, the Food in Communities project and COVID-19 stakeholder outreach to understand the evolving conditions of food security in Jefferson County. By examining five core variables related to food security, including affordability, proximity, supply and distribution, education and cultural awareness, and funding, we illustrate the key systemic challenges to addressing food security across communities in Jefferson County.
Rooted in this data, this report then presents a community-centered food systems approach to long term recovery and resilience. Recommendations to address gaps and challenges related to the five core variables are provided via four different levers: policy, program, funding and capacity building. Through this approach, the County can both address the residents’ urgent needs during the pandemic and move towards a resilient food system.
Jefferson County Food Policy Council Commitment to Equity and Justice*
In taking time to reflect on the history of the food system and our work as the Jefferson County Food Policy Council, we recognize that our work and our council has not often been inclusive or representative of the voices of those most impacted by the policies, systems, and environment that the council aims to improve. This is, in part, because the council operates through a structure that has created barriers which have excluded communities of color and has fostered an environment where BIPOC people have not always felt welcomed, valued, or included. We apologize to members of our community who have had these experiences with the council. Acknowledging past mistakes and present shortcomings is our first step in creating a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable group.
This statement is just the first step in the work we need to accomplish, and we know that racial equity is both an action and an outcome. To view the full statement and the commitments we have made to bettering the council please click here , Spanish version here.
*Note: As you view this statement (and the actions/work we are committing to herein) please note it is meant to be a living document and know that this will change and evolve as the council membership evolves and we learn and grow in our personal understandings of racial equity in the food system. Please feel free to email [email protected] with any feedback you might have on this statement.
Jeffco Food Policy Council Racial Equity Policy Toolkit
The Food Policy Council has designed a Racial Equity Policy Toolkit as a way to better ensure that policies and programs supported by the Council are intended to dismantle and reform systems of oppression and systemic racism. By using this toolkit, implementing feedback and encouraging discussion, the Council intends to operationalize equity and create a more just system of governance. This toolkit is intended to be a living resource and will be ready for publication to this page by the end of 2021. If you are interested in learning more or viewing a draft of the toolkit, email Allyson Goto at [email protected]
Resources & Articles Related to Food Security and Racial Equity
We acknowledge that language and concepts referenced in the Jefferson County Food Policy Council Commitment to Equity and Justice statement may be the first time you may have engaged with them, and even if you are familiar with these concepts, we hope you will take some time to read more deeply about racial inequities in this country and in our food system. We have linked references to certain concepts mentioned in the statement as well as some tools around the words used in the statement here.
Food Access Visualization
Food insecurity is a complex issue. That's why Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping can help visualize the issue of food insecurity across Jefferson County and the Denver Metro region. Through our series of interactive maps, you can visualize areas that lack adequate access to healthy, affordable food or have a high concentration of fast food options. You can also see the locations of important local resources, such as Community Supported Agriculture programs and food pantries, and their proximity to high needs areas.
SNAP at Jeffco Farmers Markets
Double Up Food Bucks Colorado allows SNAP shoppers to bring home more fresh fruits and vegetables. When customers spend $1 on any SNAP-eligible item (meat, bread, eggs, milk, etc.), they receive $1 for Colorado grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. It is a $1:$1 match so if you spend $5, you get $5. If you spend $10, you get $10, up to $20 every time you visit one of our participating locations.
Urban farming is an important strategy for addressing food insecurity and healthy nutrition by providing Jeffco residents with a reliable source of healthy and affordable foods. In addition to the impact on food insecurity, urban farming adds value to the local economy, provides opportunities for community involvement and helps create a sustainable urban ecological system. There are currently over 50 urban farms in Jefferson County.
How We're Moving Forward
- Assessing local food systems, policies, programs and networks using a variety of processes and methodologies to identify gaps and areas for potential change
- Developing a multi-year plan to address policies and programs to increase access to nutritious food. This plan could address a myriad of policy or program intervention
- Providing capacity building, technical assistance and a professional forum to share updates, best practices and lessons learned
Where We Are Now
- 79.7 percent of children aged 1-14 years in Jeffco ate vegetables at least one time per day, and 89.3 percent ate fruits at least one time per day (2014-2016 Colorado Child Health Survey).
- 26 percent of Colorado families often/sometimes relied on low-cost food to feed their children (2016 Colorado Child Health Survey).
- $31,590 is the maximum gross annual income for a family of four to be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2017 (Source: Colorado Department of Human Services).
JCPH secured a three-year grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Chronic Pulmonary Disease (CCPD) grant program to develop food resources in communities. The grant is led by the Denver Department of Health and the Environment and also includes Tri-County Health Department.