Did you know that more than 15 million American children do not have access to healthy affordable food? A 2016 study done by the United States Department of Agriculture states that more than 29 million Americans live in “food deserts.” The USDA defines food deserts as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.” Food deserts are a growing concern for many reasons, but one is its link to public health issues. People in food deserts often rely on gas station “quickie” marts filled with highly-processed, sugar-filled and fat-laden foods that contribute to obesity.
Food insecurity may not seem like a problem in Eagle County, but nearly 16% of Eagle County residents live in food-insecure homes. The good news is that the Eagle Valley Community Foundation is working hard to reduce hunger and obesity. The EVCF established The Community Market, formerly the Eagle River Valley Food Bank, in May 2018 to provide healthy food for people who do not have access otherwise. About 40% of The Community Market’s selection is fresh produce because it believes that everyone deserves fresh healthy food – its goal is to stock 60% fresh produce. Customers can come directly to the market located at 760 Lindbergh Drive in Gypsum, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. However, The Community Market understands that commuting is a barrier for some, so they partnered with underserved communities to host more accessible mobile markets. Their mobile markets are available throughout the valley Monday through Thursday at several different locations.
Here are three tips for fighting hunger in the valley.
• Visit the store. Walk in the The Community Market in Gypsum and shop for fresh local produce. They serve healthy food to over 800 individuals a week.
• Follow the market. If transportation is an issue, learn where and when the market comes to a place near you and get healthy food for you and your family. To find out more about specific times and locations visit http://www.eaglevalleycf.org and click on “market schedule.”
• Volunteer or Donate. Whether you give your time or your money to EVCF, you are directly benefiting the well-being of the most vulnerable of Eagle Valley’s residents. Your involvement can take many forms: volunteer, coach or engaged donor. If you have any questions, please contact Kelli Duncan at email@example.com
Stephen Beane is the Actively Green Intern at Walking Mountains Sustainability. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org