Imagine having the ability to walk into a neighborhood store on a daily basis and purchase local, regeneratively grown products direct from producers across our region. Then imagine knowing these profits went back to farms, ranches, and small business owners to continue building vibrant agricultural communities and a healthy food system for all community members and our environment.
WHO IS THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOOD COLLABORATIVE?
A group of ranchers and farmers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Kansas, and Utah. This project is currently funded by the Gates Family Foundation through the Cooperative Development Center at Rocky Mt. Farmers Union.
Fair Price for Producers, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), Strengthening Agricultural Communities, Regenerative Agriculture, Sustainable Operations & Climate Change, and Revitalizing Consumer’s Understanding of our Food System.
STEERING COMMITTEE & ADVISORY MEMBERS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS | Lance Wheeler – Rafter W Ranch, Simla, CO, Katie Belle Miller, Heritage Belle Farms, Calhan, CO, and Dusty Downey, Audubon Society Conservation Ranching Lead, Moorcroft, WY, Kade Gianinetti, and Chrissy McFarren, Badger Creek Ranch, Cañon City, CO
ADVISORS | Grady Grissom, Rancho Largo Ranch, Fowler, CO, Sarah Jones, Jones Farms Organics, Hooper, CO, Krista Roberts, and Angie Leach
IDENTIFYING OUR PROBLEMS | THE CURRENT SITUATION
Develop high volume, full-service grocery stores COOPERATIVELY OWNED BY FARMERS AND RANCHERS which provide communities with a convenient, year round supply of available local and regeneratively produced food.
ARTISAN BUTCHER & CUT FACILITY
Bring back full-service butcher counters with marinated meats, charcuterie and speciality cuts. Stock only grass-fed / pastured meat raised within this region. Establish a cut facility near each retail store to provide wholesale meat options to institutions and restaurants through a ‘one-stop shop’
Increase margins on various cuts through the creation of pastrami, roast beef, rotisserie chicken, lamb and cheeseburgers. Develop another avenue for seasonal products and a way to engage communities.
CUT FACILITY &
Collaboratively sourced products would include the following: fresh vegetables & fruit when in season, greenhouse, & cold-stored fruits and vegetables during off-season, milk, eggs, cheese & other dairy products, and local bulk dry goods such as grains, nuts, pastas, flours, and legumes.
In addition, local value-added food products, using Collaborative raw ingredients will be sold. Exceptions will be made during winter and spring months to ensure the market is still stocked.
A cut-facility and butcher counter will be located within each farm/ranch store. This cut facility will receive carcasses supplied exclusively by Collaborative producers. Animals will be slaughtered near the location they were raised, and then brought to our cut facilities for aging.
The butcher counter will include marinated meats, charcuterie options and specialty cuts, as well as allow retail and wholesale customers to special order specific cuts. Business and training support will be offered to butcher members working within Collaborative facilities.
COLLABORATIVE WHOLESALE ‘ONE STOP SHOP’
INCUBATING SMALL FOOD BUSINESSES
Potential wholesale markets include institutions, restaurants, caterers, commissary kitchens, food assistance programs, member-owned grocery cooperatives and pop-up markets.
The Collaborative will provide these wholesale markets with a ‘one stop shop’ for all their local and regeneratively grown products increasing the ease at which buyers can purchase these products and ideally increasing profit margins for producers.
With the development of a stable, high-volume marketplace several entrepreneurs within both rural and urban communities will have the chance to sell their value-added products. In addition, growing demand for local products, such as frozen and canned fruit or juice, will provide the impetus and stability needed for new businesses to develop.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & FOOD ACCESS
There is great opportunity for dialogue between consumers and producers to increase culturally relevant food options, increase access to healthy food and bridge the rural – urban divide. The marketplace will serve as a living educational tool in which authentic farming and ranching stories are shared with a focus on highlighting the current challenges Collaborative producers are facing from climate change policy to drought to urbanization to pressures from an economic system designed for industrial, commodity based agricultural production. These stories can highlight how Collaborative members are reducing their social and environmental footprint while fostering healthy ecosystems and improving plant and animal biodiversity.
Food is integral to all cultures and this marketplace should be tailored to appeal to all cultures surrounding the market. As Winona LaDuke said, “Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots. That is how we consider food. Food has a culture. It has a history. It has a story. It has relationships.”
Our goal is to develop a welcoming store which attracts diverse consumers, and is possible through a tailored discount program as well as Double-up Food Bucks, SNAP, EBT and other food assistance programs.