Eating with color on your plate not a new concept but one that many of us still have trouble accomplishing.
Beyond personal gardens, local grocery stores and farmers markets, there still seems to be a gap to accomplish the recommended intake of three to five cups daily of affordable, quality produce by many residents in this county. This weekend and Monday, several people and organizations are working together to help put additional produce into the hands of those participating in Commodity Food Distribution program.
At this time of year, there is excess produce, fruits and vegetables. Healthy Lifestyle La Plata, Growing Partners, Cooking Matters, Colorado State University Extension, and Durango Food Bank are trying to facilitate a home and excitement for that produce.
Our thought is that if individuals, community gardens or groups have produce that might be surplus for them, we would like to help facilitate distribution to be used by the Durango Food Bank as part of its Commodity Food Distribution on Monday. By having samplings, recipes and demonstrations we hope to expand the horizons of those who will be picking up food at the Exhibit Hall on Monday.
The Durango Food Bank is the identified provider for the commodity foods to participants in the Nutrition Program for the Elderly as well as those participating in the Emergency Food Assistance Program. The financial stressors experienced nationally and statewide have affected numerous La Plata County residents more than ever before. To qualify for this program one must have proof of living in La Plata County and fit the financial criteria. Specifics can be obtained through the Durango Food Bank.
Every three months, the Durango Food Bank administers the Commodity Food Distribution program locally. Lately, this has been providing a variety of basic food items to over 400 households needing food. The federal and state intent of the program is to funnel foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to children and adults. The purpose is twofold improve nutritional quality of diets for those participating in the multiprong program and help strengthen the agricultural market. We are trying to help expand the concept of local produce to be included in this distribution.
Commodity Food Distribution is no longer about distributing surplus foods purchased by our government because by 1988, the surplus had been depleted. As part of the 1988 Hunger Prevention Act, the secretary of Agriculture was required to purchase additional food to augment the surplus food for distribution through Emergency Food Assistance and other domestic food assistance programs.
The food provided has changed over the last few years, and in addition to grains, oils and cheese, it also includes liquid milk, eggs, fresh meat and some produce in addition to various basic staples.
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Wendy Rice lata County Extension Office.