We offer trainings, consulting, facilitation, educational materials, and general technical assistance for nonprofit service staff interested in moving towards more equitable, inclusive, and participatory programs and organizations.
Our consulting and training services are currently booked until October. If you are interested in scheduling or learning more about these services, please fill out the inquiry form. If you need more information in advance of filling out this interest form, please email Lindsey Loberg at [email protected]
Participation, in the context of food access, refers to all of the ways that people who have experienced food insecurity can be involved in efforts to improve food access. Building more participatory systems acknowledges, honors, and leverages the brilliance of program users, and enables them to help shape systems that work better for them.
We are a direct-service food access agency that has been through this process ourselves. We understand there are challenges to doing this work, but we believe it is not only possible but necessary. We are offering this support because our community (program users and food insecure people in Boulder) asked us to do this, and we want to make good on that request. Sharing power with your community means that programmatic, operational, personal and emotional transformation will occur. This may feel overwhelming, but we all start from where we are. Whether you have been doing participatory work for a long time and want to deepen in this value, or you are just starting to wrap your mind around how to make this kind of change internally and where to begin, we are here to support you in this process.
This work takes time and emotional energy, but in the end, it is worth it for a number of reasons, including:
- Your organization will better honor and respect program users
- Your organization will have more effective programs
- Your organization will be more well known by the community of program-users
- You will receive more honest and effective feedback
- People who use your program will feel more heard, valued and trusted
- People who use your program will have more power, which improves their health
- People who use your program will have a greater sense of belonging
If you would like to explore some of these concepts on your own in the meantime, please check out any of our resources for no cost here:
This toolkit provides step-by-step evaluation and action activities that will lead organizations through the process of understanding the benefits of participatory systems and how to incorporate them within the organization. This toolkit contains standalone activities that will spark discussion within the organization and between the organization and its program users, tools that the organization can use to evaluate current practices, and recommendations and steps for taking action. By working through this toolkit, organizations will view their practices in a new light, recognize the inherent assets of its community and community members, and incorporate these insights into the practices of the organization to the benefit of all involved. We recommend that you engage in these activities with a team of staff members.
Although focused on food access, this guide is written to support all nonprofits and other human service organizations to analyze their own systems and to better understand how they can become more participatory. We believe that as we all start including the voices of people most affected by our work in the work, access to services will increase, and ultimately, people will feel more affirmed and respected and will be better supported and resourced towards enacting community change.
This report aims to offer the general public, policy influencers, foundations and funders, government agencies, nonprofit service providers, and anyone else interested in food access, a deeper look at how someone experiences food insecurity within the Boulder food access landscape. Although focused in the city of Boulder, many of these concepts extend beyond the city limits.