November 25, 2020
In this issue you will get an update on the Participatory Budgeting process, the 2,281 pounds of food gathered through the LPEA food drive, a story on Thanksgiving in Pagosa and Food as Medicine!
A Special Thank You to all who engaged in the Participatory Budgeting (PB) Process
The Food System|Food Equity Coalition is grateful to the proposal developers for their ideas and the community members who showed their support through the voting process. The Coalition recognizes the merit of all the ideas that were proposed through the PB process. As part of its commitment to advance an equitable community-based food system, the Coalition is likewise committed to learning alongside these and other community-generated ideas that seek to strengthen our food system. 

The Coalition will use the $20,000 funding that was allocated through the PB process to fund the following six projects:
  • Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership: $3,000
  • Online Pagosa Farmers Market: $3,200
  • Food/Meal Backpacks: $2,000
  • Gift Cards: $4,500
  • After Hours Pantry: $4,880
  • Heritage Cooking Classes: $2,025

The Coalition also plans to support the efforts of the other three projects:
  • Snack Program
  • Pagosa Fresh Ingredient Boxes
  • Biodegradable Food Containers

Through the PB process, the Coalition achieved its goals - engagement of the community in the local food system and progress in Covid-19 Relief efforts while advancing an equitable distribution of food.
Community Connections
Here is a story of Thanksgiving in Pagosa
"Thanksgiving in Pagosa is usually a time where families gather and celebrate one another. This year, Thanksgiving is going to look a little different. People are encouraged to stay at home due to the risk of COVID, which may mean not being able to visit those closest to you this holiday season. While they may not be there physically, we can still imagine what it would be like with them, and next Thanksgiving we can be even more thankful for their presence. These are unprecedented times, and most definitely unideal circumstances, but as a community we must sacrifice a little in order to return to normal. Remember to wear a mask when shopping for Thanksgiving goodies, and call up your family members and let them know how grateful you are! Happy Thanksgiving and stay safe!" - Michelle
Highlighting Our Community:

We Give Thanks
LPEA’s and Local 111’s 13th Annual “Fill the Bucket Food Drive” went extremely well. The weather was in our favor, many volunteers were available, and all who participated were in good spirit. LPEA conducted an internal food drive for a few weeks before the outside food drive called “You Little Filler You”. The project was very successful for its second year. The totals are as follows:
  •  “Fill The Bucket”             2281 Pounds of food gathered
  • “You Little Filler You”     324    Pounds of food donated
  • Monetary Donations=     $716.00

A Dedicated donor story as told by Jeremy Gurule:  Seems while at the Natural Grocers location, Jeremy was asked how long the LPEA Food Drive would be set up and he answered “until 2:00 here as well as City Market.”   The questioner indicated that he had more to donate at home and would,” take them uptown later because it is closer to my house.”   Just before 2 the LPEA teams had to suddenly disassemble their setup because of a nasty wind squall.  The team from uptown was helping Jeremy disassemble when he noticed that same questioner approaching with urgency as he asked, “Am I to Late? You all were leaving City Market and so I followed your trucks down PUT Hill, I am happy you are still here, these are the things I brought from home”.  This is a dedicated donor and a stellar representative of our community.
Spotlight on the Food System:
Eating Nutritious Foods
Dr. Marvasti: Food as Medicine
This week at the Community Conversation, Dr. Marvasti talked about the correlation between food and health. The food that we consume directly contributes to our health, the environment, and our community’s economic and social status. Current information tells us that diet is the number one contributor to disease and health loss, ahead of smoking, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, and a number of other risk factors. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has over 60% processed foods that contain bad solid fats, excess refined grains and sugar without fiber, harmful additives and chemicals, and too many omega-six fatty acids. The SAD lacks good fats, plant foods, and protective micronutrients. America currently leads the world in obesity and chronic disease, with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer- making up most of our disease burden and costs of care. These same chronic diseases also increase our susceptibility to severe illness, hospitalization, and death from a COVID-19 infection. The deterioration of health from these conditions contribute in various ways to a weakened immune system and increased sickness earlier in life, leading to poorer quality of life. Incorporating even one additional serving or more of fruits and vegetables every day can drastically decrease the US's risk of getting sick and medical expenses. An example of a diet that incorporates healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables is the Mediterranean diet. Research suggests that individuals on this diet can prevent heart attacks and strokes, improve their mood, and prevent death from all causes. Dr. Marvasti also touched on national policies and how important it is for us to increase access to affordable foods optimum for health and wellness. For local food systems to be sustainable, policies such as the farm bill-need to be reformed to support local growers and producers. More and more people want affordable local, healthy food, and this can be facilitated through support from national subsidies. He encourages more communities to focus on the local food system and create a community of health with collaborations and partnerships between schools, government, health care systems, doctors, and community members to help tackle the issue of food and health across America. Learn more about Culinary Medicine.
Learning from Research and Practice
In a recently published article, entitled Food insecurity and cardiovascular mortality in the US, authors state that our food intake is directly related to our health. This is of special importance-since higher rates of food insecurity are associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease in elderly individuals. Food insecurity is described as not having consistent access to reliable, healthy sources of food. Cardiovascular mortality has been linked to the amount and type of food one consumes; the healthier an individual eats the less likely one is at risk for contracting a cardiovascular disease. As a society we can work to increase food security in our communities. Individuals should make an effort to alleviate food insecurity in order to maintain their own health and the overall health of their communities. Check out the article to learn more about what the authors found.