OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

Valley Food Partnership / LiveWell Montrose Olathe

OSMRE / VISTA: Ariel Buchholz
Supervisor: Abbie Brewer
Address: P.O. Box 3152, Montrose, CO, 81401-5910, Montrose, Colorado 81401
County: Montrose
Voice Telephone: 970-249-0705
Email: abbie@livewellmontroseolathe.org
Web site: www.valleyfoodpartnership.org
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


The Valley Food Partnership’s (VFP) mission is to connect local farms to the community. VFP strengthens the local food system and the well-being of the community through policy, community education and outreach, and modification of the local food system infrastructure. Together, LiveWell Montrose Olathe and Valley Food Partnership work to empower the community to improve its health through increased access to locally grown nutritious food.

About the Surrounding Community

Montrose County has a strong history of gold, silver, and coal mining. Today, 926.06 acres of Montrose County is permitted to a surface mine that produces over 600,000 tons of coal annually. Much of this permitted area was used for agricultural purposes prior to mining, and is being returned to a post-mining land use of pastureland as mining is completed. In addition, the greatest barriers to healthy eating in the zip codes served by the Valley Food Partnership (VFP) are the cost and availability of healthy foods. Montrose Department of Health and Human Services reports that 21% of children in Montrose County under the age of 5 are obese or overweight. Also, 12.75% of the population living within the zip codes served by VFP lives below the national poverty level, their per capita income is 12.52% below the national level, and 11.3% relies on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.  There is a large minority presence with 18.3% of the population identifying as Hispanic or Latino.

Project Overview

The OSMRE/VISTA member builds capacity and long-term sustainability by creating a sustainable infrastructure of support for the community gardens to improve public access to healthy foods. The project works with schools, parks department, and volunteers to design and build garden beds, fencing, irrigation system, signage, and to develop a strong volunteer “garden committee” to write policies and procedures for garden management and decision making. In addition, the OSMRE/VISTA coordinates educational workshops, distributes materials, develops leadership trainings, and makes post educational materials and curriculum available on public accessible websites. By engaging and educating partners through media, the project increases enrollment in cooking education classes and promotes post-secondary opportunities in hospitality, agricultural, and health career opportunities at local colleges.

Sponsors and Partners

LiveWell Montrose Olathe

The Uncompahgre Valley Association

Montrose County School District

Montrose Memorial Hospital

Montrose Recreation Department

Olathe Activities Department

Sharing Ministries Food Bank

 Montrose Community Foundation

Colorado State University Extension

Montrose Farmers Market