Community Partner: The Growing Project
Kaylee Hottman

FoCo Cafe has a diverse range of community partners that help support and promote the cafe through building strong relationships within the Fort Collins and Northern Colorado community. One of FoCo Cafe’s notable community partner is The Growing Project.

The Growing Project is a nonprofit organization in Fort Collins whose mission is to support and promote a just and strong local food system within Northern Colorado. They have provided direct, hands-on agricultural experiences and educational workshops through their diverse range of programs since February of 2009. The founders realized that there needed to be an increased awareness in the community concerning how out of touch every day people have become to the people and places that grow the food we have on our dinner tables. Much of this alienation and distance in knowledge between farms and the community can be pinpointed to the dependency on the corporate foundation of the food system. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, check out the documentary Food, Inc.

The Growing Project has many on-going projects and programs that reach out to the local and greater Fort Collins community. One of these programs is Urban Foods Outreach (UFO), which partners with Fort Collins Housing Catalyst, Habitat for Humanity, and other Fort Collins nonprofits to install gardens in low-income neighborhoods and implement efficient gardening techniques. These community gardens feed the residents with nutritious foods and additionally, much of the extra produce is donated to local organizations like FoCo Cafe and the Food Bank of Larimer County.

Another program that The Growing Project takes pride in is the Nature Rides. This youth focused program brings kids from the FoCo Cafe Breakfast program, The Boys and Girls Club, and The Family Center/La Familia to natural areas around Fort Collins. Youth participate in activities centered on local ecology and the watershed while enjoying a bike ride to the sites with Growing Project staff. These bikes are generously provided by the Fort Collins Bike Co-op.

The Growing Project is just one of many connections that FoCo Cafe shares a partnership with within the community. These partnerships provide mutual support, as donations and contributing programs are at the heart of each relationship. Learning about these community partners is an easy way to support and participate in the movement of easily accessible food for all.