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For immediate release:

12:00 p.m. – Monday, December 7, 2020

Huerfano – Las Animas Counties Early Childhood Council is on a mission to help combat food insecurity through their Farm to School initiative. The initiative works with six of eight school districts and aims to provide Huerfano and Las Animas county schools with the majority of their produce needs while providing educational opportunities for students.

Over the past six years, the Early Childhood Council has partnered with diverse family serving organizations such as Cooking Matters, to promote healthy kids, families, and communities, through self-sufficiency. Cooking Matters is a local nonprofit organization that hosts free cooking classes for families to learn how to prepare healthy and affordable family meals. The classes have been extremely successful, drawing more than 40 participants at a time. As class participation and interest increased, the Childhood Council decided to enhance the learning experience by building community gardens. Families now learn to grow their own food that they then use while preparing meals in the Cooking Matters classes.

The cooking classes and community gardens soon inspired the Farm to School initiative. This began two years ago with the construction of 21 gardens located near schools throughout Huerfano and Las Animas county.

Across these counties students have not only learned how to grow their own food, but also have the opportunity to participate in hands on learning. Teachers have utilized the gardens to teach students in subjects such as agriculture, science, entrepreneurship, and culinary arts. The school gardens are also used through the summer months as an activity for at risk youth and students with a variety of behavioral health issues. From the cooking classes to the Farm to School initiative, the Early Childhood Council has successfully encouraged families and students to live a healthier lifestyle while providing a fully rounded educational experience.

In the coming months, construction of an outdoor classroom and six semi-permanent single-wall greenhouses for the Walsenburg garden will begin. This will allow for the garden to be used nearly year-round.

The Farm to School initiative has inspired many local organizations to support their mission. San Isabel Electric, CoBank and Basin Electric Power Cooperative have come together to donate $22,500 toward this next phase of the project.

San Isabel Electric is excited to contribute to the Farm to School initiative. Updates through the duration of the project will be available via San Isabel Electric’s Facebook page.

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As a not-for-profit cooperative utility, San Isabel Electric provides affordable, reliable electricity with exceptional service to communities throughout southern Colorado. Serving nearly 20,000 member-owners and 24,000 meters, San Isabel Electric has been keeping the lights on since 1938. We don’t just serve communities. We are part of communities.