Food Policy and Food Systems

About Us

The Food Policy and Systems Team aims to promote food security in Jefferson County through policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes rooted in justice and racial equity. This includes food system programming development and administration, county-wide coordination of resilience building efforts, and leveraging tools for improved food justice and community engagement for food security. The team is highly engaged with community organizations through conducting one on one meetings and supporting local, regional, and state-wide councils and coalitions, including the Jefferson County Food Policy Council. The team builds community connections along the food supply chain and provides technical assistance and training to partner organizations.

The team is a part of two grant-funded regional collaboratives, Food in Communities (FIC) [external link] and the Health Beverage Partnership (HBP) [external link] which promotes community-level work and builds food systems resiliency and health promotion and equity through PSE changes.

The team also administers two grant programs: 

  • Moving from Emergency Response to Recovery in Jeffco: A Grant Opportunity to Reimagine a Food System that Meets the Needs of All in collaboration with Community First Foundation.

  • Community Investment to Equitably Increase Food Security for Jefferson County via the American Rescue Plan Act to support organizations that serve high risk and high needs populations living in low food access areas and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.


Get Involved

We are here to serve the Jeffco food system, and we’d love your input! To learn more about the Food Policy and Systems Team, connect with us about your work within the Jeffco food system, and/or to get more involved with promoting food security and farming in Jeffco, please contact us.

We welcome you to sign up for our monthly newsletter! The purpose of the JCPH Food Systems Team newsletter is to share local food systems news, partner spotlights, upcoming events, opportunities, and resources. We hope this supports the connection in Jefferson County food system work. Click below to learn more and sign up!

Link to Jeffco Food Policy Council handout (PDF). Opens in new window.

Land Acknowledgement

We honor and acknowledge that the land on which we reside is the traditional territory of the Ute and Cheyenne Peoples. We also recognize the 48 contemporary tribal nations that are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado.

We honor Elders past, present, and future, and those who have stewarded this land throughout generations. We also recognize that government, academic and cultural institutions were founded upon and continue to enact exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples.

May this acknowledgement demonstrate a commitment to working to dismantle ongoing legacies of oppression and inequities and recognize the current and future contributions of Indigenous communities in Jefferson County.

2022-2024 Grant Program

Community Investment to Equitably Increase Food Security for Jefferson County via the American Rescue Plan Act

JCPH is committed to fostering a local food system that ensures equitable access to nutritious, locally produced food that reflects cultural preferences. This will be achieved through supporting Jeffco farmers, investing in food systems infrastructure, improving organizational community engagement, commitment to racial and social equity, and striving for strong collaboration among organizations and communities. Community based food justice organizations must be connected with meaningful resources, including funding, training, technical assistance, and tools for building organizational resilience. This grant opportunity is a one-time funding event to invest $1,700,000 from the ARPA into Jefferson County’s long-term food security and collective impact efforts.

2021-2023 Grant Program 

Moving from Emergency Response to Recovery in Jeffco: A Grant Opportunity to Reimagine a Food System that Meets the Needs of All

In October 2021, Community First Foundation and JCPH awarded $1,701,888 in grant funds to 12 nonprofits to increase food access in Jefferson County. The grants will support infrastructure and capacity building efforts to build a resilient food system and ensure equitable access to locally produced and nutritious food in the county. The grant program was built on the premise that Jefferson County should have a food system that meets the needs of all its residents, including a system that provides nutritious, locally produced food that reflects cultural preferences and one that can rebuild, maintain, and sustain current and future food supply to prevent disruption. The investments are meant to:

  • Support infrastructure for farms, processors, retailers, food distribution channels and food pantries;
  • Support capacity building activities that strengthen organizational performance and impact; and
  • Build a resilient food system that ensures equitable access to locally produced and nutritious food in Jefferson County.

Each of these organizations, and many more, are doing incredible work toward our goal of fostering a more resilient food system in Jefferson County. To learn more about this program and view a list of grantees and grant projects, visit the Community First Foundation [external link].

Fall 2021 Report: Food Network Map

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the percentage of Jefferson County residents who did not have enough food spiked from 10 percent to 40 percent. Jefferson County’s food system partners responded quickly, effectively, and collaboratively. Jefferson County seeks to build a more resilient food system for the long term. It will require that all stakeholders agree to take collective action and hold one another accountable as well as think creatively and innovatively about funding.

A resilient food system is composed of three healthy and interacting subsystems: policy, markets and institutions and production (Babu & Blom, 2014). Using this framework, the Jefferson County Food Systems Network Project outlines an action plan for Jeffco food systems stakeholders and subsystems.

Project objectives: 

  1. Develop a detailed food system map.
  2. Identify gaps.
  3. Create a vision of resilience across the Jefferson County food system.
  4. Develop an action plan of community-based solutions for coordinated and collective action, as well as funding opportunities.

Action steps summary: 

  1. Monitoring Food System Indicators
  2. Recognizing Food System Emergencies and Risks across the Food System
  3. Evidence-based Policymaking and Planning across the Public and Private Sectors
  4. Mobilization of Communities for Action and Community-Centered Leadership across the Food System
  5. Evaluation, Analysis, and Accountability

Jeffco Food Systems Network Report (PDF)

Spring 2021 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 (PDF),” 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.

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 [external link] 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 Farms

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.

Link to Urban Farms in Jefferson County webpage.Funding Partners

JCPH is a part of a regional collaboration, Food In Communities (FIC) [external link], which is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Cancer, Cardiovascular, and Chronic Pulmonary Disease (CCPD) [external link]. The grant is led by the Denver Department of Health and the Environment (DDPHE) [external link] and also includes what was formerly known as the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD). The JCPH food systems team is also funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) [external link] via the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) funding, and via the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). JCPH is also a part of the Healthy Beverage Partnership (HBP), regional partnership with DDPHE, TCHD, and Boulder County Health Department (BCHD).