Foundation quietly sources local, fresh food for all
By Ellen Metrick, Staff Writer, Telluride Newspapers
Feb. 15, 2023
The Fresh Food Hub, a 501c3 organization also known as the Fresh Foundation, closed its locally-supplied grocery in downtown Norwood in the fall of 2021, but the organization is alive and well, focusing on distributing food to folks in other ways, and busy building its programs, said Leila Seraphin, founder and co-chair of the Hub.
“Closing our retail location has been eye-opening for our organization, to see what we dearly miss and what the future could look like,” said Seraphin. “It has also given us the opportunity to focus on new nonprofit goals and adventures. We have never stopped working towards our mission: local food system viability and food access and equity.”
In its newest venture, Seraphin said, the Fresh Foundation is launching its new website this week.
“Our goals for the new site are to better inform the public of our work and keep engagement in the community around local food and food resources,” she said.
One of the ongoing purposes of the website has been to house a wholesale program “primarily serving small-scale restaurants, retail shops, food pantries, schools and additional food security programs,” she added.
“We want to influence the model around food charity and food pantries to increase the access to high-quality, locally-sourced foods. That way, people are getting guaranteed freshness, and the benefits go back into the community. It’s a win-win, and we want to thank all our community food pantries for showing strong leadership in this effort,” she said.
To date the Fresh Foundation has been able to give more than $20,400 in local food subsidies to its partners as a part of its model.
Board member Melanie Eggers said she’s been with the Hub since its beginning, because she loves “working with a group of strong, talented women that are passionate about local food and passionate about equal access to nutritious, nutrient-dense local food in our rural setting.”
Eggers said she loves making local communities more healthy by helping to get food into food security programming, farmers markets and schools.
“We are trying to grow vibrant and thriving communities with an infusion of healthy, local food,” she said.
Seraphin said the Fresh Foundation is “thankful to the Telluride Foundation for their diligent work in the community and making the local food system and food justice a priority.” She also thanked other grant funders this year: Blueprint for Hunger, Trailhead Institute, Kenny Goldman Foundation, Rocky Mountain Health Foundation, the Lone Cone Legacy Trust, and San Miguel County.
The Fresh Foundation recently partnered with the Norwood Community Garden and wrote grants on their behalf to improve and benefit the space.
“To date we have been able to pull in over $6,500 in grants to help the garden,” she said. “In addition, we were able to grant $1,800 to the Lone Cone Library lunch program for 2023.”
In 2022 The Hub celebrated the fifth year of offering CSA shares and a market stand in Mountain Village, and the second for hosting a stand in Norwood, which, Seraphin said, will continue in 2023.
“In 2022,” said Seraphin, “we were able to purchase and move over $150,000 in local food direct from regional producers.”
While the Fresh Foundation’s presence is online and quietly supporting local food sources these days, the organization is busy and “on the lookout for new energy and board members,” Seraphin said.
On Feb. 25, Thorneycroft Kitchen is hosting a fundraiser for the Fresh Foundation at The Livery.
For more information, the public may visit www.freshfoodhub.net. CSA sign-ups in begin in March.