Dan Sharp and the D51 Nutrition Services Team began the Live Well School meal initiative in the fall of 2012 transitioning a 40-rschool system serving 12,000 meals a day from processed to primarily scratch made meals. As the department grew in knowledge from Live Well’s (now Nourish Co.) training focus and received the appropriate equipment (tools) from the Colorado Health Foundation, we have transformed the entire program. School District 51 Food & Nutrition Services increased local/statewide sourcing, quality of food, and overall focus to filling childhood hunger gaps in the Mesa County community.
We co-hosted a Farm to School conference back in 2014(?) a key result of the meeting was to expand our local purchasing from local producers. Since 2014, we have increased our local buying (western slope) to ~$50,000 per year, mostly apples from Wag's and Wacky orchards. We spend a total of ~$150,000 a year on statewide fresh fruits and vegetables; Hungenberg carrots in Greeley, potatoes from the San Luis Valley, romaine oocrs in Brighton. At our 2014 conference it was determined to create a western colorado virtual platform for institutional and industry buyers like us......unfortunately many of the task groups were excited, captured the vision and then got mired in burecracy and eventually died out. Lets get this done this time around!! I want our local children to have year round access to local F&V like IQF peaches! We need a IQF processing facility on the western slope!