The Colorado Health Foundation Awards Cooking Matters Grant to Strengthen Communities
DENVER, CO – (Feb. 2019) The Colorado Health Foundation approved a new project grant to Cooking Matters Colorado (CMCO) in the amount of $236,517 to strengthen Colorado communities by shaping food environments across the state. CMCO is helping to end childhood hunger by providing food skills education to parents, family members, and caregivers who affect the eating habits of low-income children, inside the home and out. CMCO began offering its 6-week Cooking Matters courses nearly 25 years ago. Since that time, CMCO has provided direct education to over 120,000 food-insecure families across 55 counties. In recent years, CMCO expanded its individual education programming to include interactive grocery store tours and a new focus on Policy, Systems and Environment efforts, which have reached over 55,000 individuals since 2017.
Through the Foundation’s “Strengthen Community Health” Focus Area, CMCO will continue their strong partnership to expand programs that improve environments and opportunities for healthy eating, with an expected reach of nearly 300,000 Coloradans. Activities include:
- Healthy retail work with local food stores and farmers markets to shape the shopping environment and make access to healthy food easier for low-income families;
- Communication innovation through text messages, blog-posts, social media, and apps to help consumers make healthy purchasing choices and stretch their food dollars;
- Social marketing campaign launch and implementation that fosters a healthy food systems environment and retail food environment activities.
These activities directly align with the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, a multi-year plan to end hunger for all Coloradans. With support from the Foundation, the plan was developed by several individuals and organizations, including CMCO.
Within this project, CMCO will work with local retail partners, farmers markets, and other nonprofits to encourage healthier purchasing choices, and will use innovative methods for the delivery of food skills education that support making the healthy choice, the easy choice. Research shows that improved nutrition and health outcomes correlate with increased school attendance, graduation rates, and economic opportunities. Providing consistent nutrition and food skills education to parents and childcare providers also leads kids to develop healthy, lifelong eating habits. Cooking Matters Colorado aims to transform young lives through greater access to nutritious food and stronger communication about the benefits of healthy eating.