-Connecting with Our Community-
Volunteering with Front Line Farming
noun : The science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing
of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.
“We undertake our work in order to honor the land and the community we cultivate.”
-Front Line Farming
Agriculture is the science or practice of farming, including cultivating the soil for growing crops and rearing animals to provide food, wool, and other products. Higher Grade’s roots are firmly planted in cultivation, and agricultural work is our foundation. 2020 has undoubtedly been a year filled with expansive social awareness, palpable change, and massive social justice movements. We wanted to find a local organization to work with, that addresses awareness, change, and justice in terms of agriculture and agricultural workers. Our search led us to Front Line Farming, a farmers and food advocacy group that focuses on food growing and food education. As stated on their website, Front Line Farming's mission is "to create greater equity across our food system on the Front Range of Colorado. We specifically seek to support and create greater leadership and access for women and people of color in our food systems. We achieve these goals through growing food, listening, educating, honoring land and ancestors, policy initiatives, and direct action". Through sustainable farming practices on their multi-plot farm, Frontline Farming produces high quality, affordable food that reaches the community in various ways. Their produce is available for sale to their network of restaurants and institutions, for their CSA program, sliding- scale or pay-what-you-can sales at farm stands, and donations to a variety of local non-profit organizations.
The staff of Front Line Farming are educators who offer their knowledge of sustainable growing practices that enhance land and community connections, and education on food security, justice, and sovereignty. Through their work within the community, Front Line Farming has helped evolve and expand a network of farms and farmers supporting each other within Denver's agricultural community.
The work they do is wholeheartedly to honor the land and the community they cultivate.
The framework of Front Line Farming has three main points of focus; Food Security, Food Justice, and Food Sovereignty. Food Security means addressing the community's immediate food needs and ensuring they are met by offering the types of food wanted by the community. Front Line Farming provides Food Security through several programs, including Healing Foods, a food donation program, and a No Cost Grocery Program that offers groceries at a pay-what-you-can rate that includes those unable to pay anything.
Front Line Farming participates in SNAP and Double Up Colorado, and they are committed to increasing SNAP enrollment by becoming trained to enroll people in the program. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition program that helps people stretch food budgets and buy healthy food. SNAP benefits allow for food purchases at grocery stores,convenience stores, and some farmers' markets and co-op food programs.
Double Up Colorado is a statewide partnership with the goal of increasing access to fruits and vegetables among SNAP recipients. SNAP recipients receive up to a $20 value in Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables when they use their SNAP benefits at participating farmers' markets and select retailers. SNAP benefits are matched dollar for dollar (up to $20) with Double Up Food Bucks, which cover Colorado-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables only. This program is valuable for not only SNAP recipients, but also Colorado's agricultural community and economy that are central to this program.
Food Justice means addressing the institutions that perpetuate segregation and unfair distribution of food and appealing to those same systems for change. Through its Center for Food Justice and Healthy Communities, Front Line Farming seeks to support policy initiatives that help transform our food system. They make this happen by linking Farm Bill policies to the support of small farms and farmers of color in accessing land, increasing access to healthy foods in urban and rural communities, and supporting programs like SNAP.
The third point in the Front Line Farming framework, Food Sovereignty, means addressing the true, spiritual, mental, and physical needs of the communities they support and being in control of the means of production. Front Line Farming believes in self- representation, looking out for and speaking up for yourself and your interests. They encourage questioning language and epistemologies, or traditionally held "truths," beliefs, and justifications. Front Line Farming believes in centering future leaders and knowledge keepers. They respectfully honor and create ceremonies from different cultures. Front Line Farming believes in conducting equity in food systems training, and they are writing a book about new food equity measures. They believe in building foodways & creating their growing spaces for foodways. For those unfamiliar, foodways are the cultural, social, and economic practices relating to food
production and consumption. Foodways is often a reference to the intersection of food and culture, tradition, and history. Front Line Farming is currently making hot sauce from the produce they grow and launching their own hot sauce line.
Higher Grade, along with OLIO and Veritas, had the opportunity to do a week of service with Front Line Farming, and we had such a fantastic experience. We are beyond grateful for the time we spent with Front Line Farming, working in their beautiful gardens, and having meaningful and informative conversations over lunch with the staff. We are greatly looking forward to working with Front Line Farming again soon. Check out @frontlinefarming on Instagram and their website frontlinefarming.org to learn more about this excellent organization, and how to get involved if you feel connected to their mission.