P2M was started by a one year planning grant to provide information and resources to a diverse group of producers and consumers to help them make a decision about forming a local marketing co-operative. Funded by The Luara Jane Musser Fund 2007-2008. In 2008 the Yuma Conservation District was notified that it had been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, Community Partnership Grants Program for 2008. The funds will support the continued work of P2M toward increasing the availability of locally grown, low water use high value food crops in Yuma County and surrounding areas. The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Educational & Charitable Foundation serves as the fiscal agent for the grant monies.
P2M will use a regional survey to identify foods that are most used by local restaurants and institutions and then foster a direct buying relationship with the local growers of those foods. P2M will also identify foods that although not grown locally, are in demand and are viable high value, low water use crop alternatives. If grown, these desirable food crops broaden the local crop options and broaden our agriculturally based economic underpinnings.
P2M will provide direct marketing services by creating a local/regional, values infused label and assist producers in marketing their crops. Local foods will be featured in our local eateries and festivals and the project will foster agricultural entrepreneurship at varying levels within the field-to-table crop market system. The P2M project assists farmers and the local community to move towards a more sustainable, lower-water use agricultural system. Adopting value added activities such as direct marketing approaches aligns our local farmers to satisfy the ever growing market for safe, locally grown and identified food.
Decades ago, communities in Colorado, and across the county, had local and regional food systems due to necessity. Particularly in rural areas, local food production was the major source of food consumed. Today, even in agricultural-rich rural Colorado, the majority of food is brought in from outside the region, and consumers have no knowledge of where or how their food was grown. P2M wants to work with our local farmers to reintroduce source-identified, fresh food to consumers in the region. The local economy, ecology, and health of the community will benefit from a food system that takes a more regional and seasonal approach to food production and consumption.
The Yuma Conservation District is dedicated to addressing water conservation in a proactive manner. The District has had success with projects that demonstrate low water use with traditional crops. Having spent a year investigating possible marketing structures, P2M will use the ADM Community Grant to support the next step in propelling the community toward a more sustainable future. A successfully shift to low water use will help the rural communities by prolonging the life of the aquifer as well as helping to sustain agricultural production which is the driving force of the Yuma economy.