The programs and activities of Mountain Roots promote the holistic role that food plays in creating a healthy society on both a community and individual level, including: building community; developing capacity; enhancing individual, community and environmental health; supporting cultural integration and educational growth; fostering social justice; raising awareness and illustrating the community benefits of the growing, harvesting, preparation and serving of food. In pursuing these activities, Mountain Roots will impact on the public’s understanding of the value of sustainable agriculture, community food systems, and their part in sustaining community.
Mountain Roots is a community-driven grass roots food systems initiative that started in 2010 under fiscal sponsorship of our community foundation. Our first 2,100 sq.ft. Urban Garden produced 600+ pounds of food that was donated to local food pantries, schools, and offered as work-trade for volunteers. We launched our Farm-to-School effort for the 2010-11 school year with local food lunches at one K-12 school, the building of two youth gardens, and a pilot summer camp program.
We were awarded 501(c)3 status in April 2012. We have grown rapidly in response to enthusiastic support from our community, built strong partnerships, and are considered the leading local food /sustainable agriculture initiative in Gunnison County. We now manage six community gardens throughout Gunnison County, run a district-wide Farm to School program serving 2,000 Pre-K through college youth. From our 2014 Community Food Assessment, we designed several programs that are targeted access strategies for low-income and food insecure residents, including Backyard Harvest, Cooking Matters, and SNAP+. In 2016, we launched a Multi-Farmer CSA, which provides markets for new and emerging farmers in the valley and brings fresh local food into 80 households each year.