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Local Foods Campus Named as CO Impact Days and Initiative Finalist

One of 60 to Participate in First of its Kind $100 Million Marketplace for Impact Investing

CO Impact Days and Initiative announced today the 60 social ventures that are invited to meet face to face with investors in order to seek millions of dollars of “impact investments” at CO Impact Days Social Venture Showcase on March 4, 2016.

Colorado’s own Local Foods Campus, a for-profit startup providing local food to Coloradans was one of just 60 finalists chosen from more than 280 applicants.

The 60 ventures will convene at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) for the first of its kind, statewide marketplace for impact investing.  The chosen social ventures will have the opportunity to showcase their ability to provide a return on the impact investor’s investment while improving Colorado communities to more than 200 accredited investors.

“This is the first time in the U.S. that 200 accredited impact investors will come together for a statewide marketplace, where they can connect with each other, learn, and have intimate access to social ventures representing projects, for profits, nonprofits, and funds at any stage of growth,” said Dr. Stephanie Gripne, Founder of the Impact Finance Center and creator of CO Impact Days and Initiative. “This is a first for impact investors and social ventures.”

The goal of CO Impact Initiative is to catalyze $100 million in impact investments into Colorado social ventures in the next three years, and it is kicking off with CO Impact Days on March 2-4. CO Impact Days encourages a new breed of impact investors and community members to Learn. Connect. Invest.

CO Impact Days’ innovation is uniquely possible here because Colorado is home to a number of national leaders in impact investing and a thriving and collaborative community of social venture entrepreneurs in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors, , philanthropists, and investors who are committed to growing Colorado’s economy and creating good jobs while ensuring our state remains one of the best places to work, live, and play in the U.S.

 

To vote for Local Foods Campus and show your support, go here:  http://woobox.com/qh6kj7/gallery/h5vYWfMkUmM 

Thanks for your Support!!

Campus Details

In the spirit of the New Year, we are happy to share with you an Update on the Local Foods Campus.  Our hope is that the information below will help you understand why it has taken so incredibly long for the Local Foods Campus to get off the ground.

In a Nut-Shell – the City of Westminster has been stalling on this issue for over 16 months now. On September 2, 2014, we asked a simple question: How much money has the City been keeping from the South Sheridan Urban Renewal Area (URA) since 2011 and how much will the City be keeping in 2015?

Without the information we could not submit an effective proposal – since we intended to use portions of those funds.

Finally, on September 24, 2015 (over a year later), the City confirmed our suspicions that the City had retained over $5 Million from the South Sheridan URA between 2011 and 2014 and will retain another $2 Million by December, 2015. That’s over $7 Million. The City plans to keep an additional $2 Million per year – each and every year – until 2028 from the South Sheridan URA.   

With that information finally made available to us, we submitted a formal proposal 4 days later in an open session to the City Council on September 28, 2015.

Three months later, City Council now tells us and anyone who asks, that their deliberations are in “Executive Session” and are thus “Secret!” Again we wait in limbo!

We firmly believe the City’s stalling on the Local Foods Campus has nothing to do with the quality of our Plan, the Experience of our Management Team, our ability to bring millions of private and foundation investment dollars to the table, our ability to crate over 50 jobs, our help grow hundreds of local food companies and our hundreds of local supporters – but rather this delay is solely intended to find a way to protect the millions of dollars the City is keeping each year from this Urban Renewal Area.

Instead of using these millions of dollars within the URA to continue to the urban renewal in the area, modernize outdated buildings and reduce retail vacancy in the Hidden Lake Shopping Center, as is intended – the City wants to take the money elsewhere.

 

Action Delayed is Action Denied.

We understand how frustrated our Supporters have grown with the City, and we share in that frustration completely. This City Council has never spoken publicly about this project and the ability of the City to support it.

Make your voice heard to City Council on Wednesday January, 6th from 6-8 p.m. at The Mac (3295 W. 72nd Ave), when Westminster City Council hosts a forum focusing South Westminster.

Thank you for your help and Support and stay tuned all this week on our Social Media, Blog, and Email as we will dive in and give many more details!

Sincerely,

Nathan, Kimberly, Vern, Dale and John
Local Foods Campus

Uncategorized

Imagine a shopping experience where you can browse through heirloom tomatoes, lavender, freshly dug potatoes and goat’s milk cheese, all grown or produced locally. But you’re not walking a parking lot from tent to tent having rushed to get there in the limited hours the Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings – you’re shopping indoors on a Wednesday afternoon! And you’re able to buy locally sourced meats, fresh packaged salsa, prepackaged and prepared dinner entrees and some small batch hand creams and body lotions with natural ingredients … all at the same time.

That’s what we’re planning for the former Albertson’s store space at the Hidden Lakes Shopping Center on the northeast corner of 72nd and Sheridan in Westminster.

The benefits of farmers markets with the convenience of a retail presence and the innovation of local sourcing and distribution are the founding principles of the Local Foods Campus Phase 1 at Hidden Lakes.

The project organizers identified this phased approach based on the realities of funding and investment, motivated property owner who believes in the local food concept and a building that is a clean slate for the project.

A real, tangible benefit to this phase of the project is that it will regenerate a depressed area, the Adams County side of Sheridan at 72nd. Property values in this area have actually lost value from 2009 to 2015, shocking in today’s real estate market! By revitalizing this vacant retail anchor into an attractive local foods grocery store that will bring shoppers and community events, and by generating much needed sales tax revenue, surrounding properties will see increased values.

We are ready and are moving forward with this phase of LFC! After multiple meetings with and discussion with residents, citizens, business owners council members an city staff, our discussions are now moving to senior city staffers to work out the details and timeline.

Imagine, shopping at your Local Foods Campus Market … in October of 2015!

Campus Details

One of they keys to the success of the Local Foods Campus and the reason it is slated to be built at 72nd and Sheridan in Westminser, Colorado is because that intersection is in the Southwest Urban Redevelopment Area. While many have heard of a URA, how they work is somewhat of a mystery, a mystery that the organizers of the Local Foods Campus have just recently begun to understand.

A URA is established to renew and revitalize a part of the community to

  • Enhance mobility in the area
  • Renovate or redevelop the deteriorated and/or outdated retail…buildings
  • Enhance the aesthetic appearance of the areaURA map
  • Reduce the retail vacancy rate
  • Improve property values…and
  • Improve the tax base of the City

Sounds like great goals for this part of Westminster, right? We agree!

Since 2004 when the SWURA was established, tax revenues generated within the SWURA have been used to help develop the southwest corner of 72nd and Sheridan, bringing area residents a Walmart megastore. On the northwest corner a retail strip center with a Starbucks, sandwich shop and cell phone store as well as a nearby housing development have benefitted from the SWURA’s bonding and taxing capabilities.

With the opening of the large Walmart retail store, sales tax revenues increased, and have been used to repay bonds to develop the sites. But according to city documents, nearly $5.2 million in incremental sales tax revenues have gone back into the City’s general fund, spent on projects such as the light rail station and new city center mall.

The City of Westminster has no further plan to develop projects to meet the stated goals of the SWURA which has 13 more years of capacity to fund innovative, community-building projects. Our Local Foods Campus is a perfect fit, meeting five of the six goals of the SWURA!

The Local Foods Campus fits with the agricultural heritage of the Shoenberg Farms site, will build local small businesses in food growing/raising/production, provide new jobs, keep local money circulating in our local economy, help local families to get healthier and reasonably priced foods, and redevelop and revitalize the SWURA in exactly the way it was intended to function.

Bringing public policy to a tangible result that benefits the residents … that’s the goal of LFC.

Campus Details

As we are working to open the Westminster Farmers Market in the Hidden Lakes Shopping Center on June 6, in the meantime, won’t you consider registering through our “Take Action” form to let us know you support the project? And like us on Facebook?  And let your Westminster City Councillor know you support this project? Their support is critical to this project. What we have laid out will benefit residents of the South Sheridan URA, develop the retail capacity and sales tax base, incubate local businesses and provide jobs. As one of our supporters said “It’s a win/win/win!” Here’s how to reach them:

Or mail your comments to them c/o City Manager’s Office, 4800 W. 92nd Ave., Westminster, CO 80031.

Campus Details

The Local Foods Campus (LFC) project in Westminster is a partnership created to bring about a strong, sustainable regional and local food destination. With a retail presence, educational opportunities, business incubator and food processing facility, LFC will create a vibrant local food hub.

We all need to eat, and the LFC will capitalize on the interconnectedness of food, community economy and the environment. Our goals for the project include:

  • Helping children and families develop a relationship with how their food is produced
  • Developing local businesses and jobs
  • Helping local food growers/raisers/producers to connect sustainably with their consumers, year-round, seven days a week
  • Based on the concept that food produced and sold locally keeps our local economy more robust, reduces the carbon footprint of the marketplace, creates shared value and builds community relationships.

The Local Foods Campus will be a phased project to be located in buildings at 72nd and Sheridan in Westminster, Colorado. The first phase will be built out in the Hidden Lakes Shopping Center, in a former grocery store building, and will include a retail center for produce, locally sourced packaged goods, meats, cheeses and more. Phase Two expands into a processing facility, culinary education center and business incubator, across Sheridan in the historic Shoenberg Farms buildings owned by the City of Westminster.

This once 800-acre dairy and egg farm and facility dates from 1911. Though now bordered by urban developments, housing and retail centers, the buildings still stand as a reminder of Westminster’s agrarian past. Adapting the historic milk barn, egg production facility, silo and farmhouse into a modern agricultural-related purpose is a great benefit to the citizens of the area.

Our project organizers, with deep experience in retail food operations and farmers markets, have worked with city, county and state government agencies, non-profits, chambers of commerce, educational institutions and citizens groups to craft a plan that is visionary, beneficial and achievable.

In the meantime, won’t you consider registering through our “Take Action” form to let us know you support the project? And like us on Facebook and let your Westminster City Councillor know you support this project?

General News, Uncategorized

We are pleased to be a part of the Westminster History Center’s History Day, an event for teachers and families to explore local history and resources. We’ll have a tent and tables with information about the Local Foods Campus and the Westminster Farmers Market, too. Might have some seedlings to hand out!

The event is free, and runs 10 to 4 on Saturday, May 2. It’s in the historic school house at 72nd and Lowell and the grounds around it. I hear there will be some live music and costumed history interpreters, too!

Our presentation focused on five basic realities:

1.  The purpose of the URA is to:

    1. Renovate/Redevelop deteriorated/outdated retail buildings;
    2. Reduce the retail vacancy rate in the area;
    3. Improve the Property Values in the area; and
    4. Improve the Tax Base of the City.

     This is exactly what our Plan is designed to do!

2.  While the Jefferson County side of the URA has seen its property values increase over 400% over the last five years, the Adams County side has actually lost value during this same time period and is deserving of investment from the URA;

     Phase 1 of our Plan is to put our Local Foods Retail Center into a former 29,000 SF Albertsons within the Hidden Lake Shopping Center in the Adams County side of the URA.

3.  Coloradoans spend over $9 Billion each year on Groceries. While only about 14% of our food dollars spent at Walmart, King Soopers or Whole Foods stay in Colorado, with Local Foods, 100% of every food dollar spent by Coloradoans stays in the State and our Communities.

     Our Plan is a true Local Economic Development Driver.

4. There have been several millions of dollars in excess Incremental Sales Tax Revenues generated within the South Sheridan URA through purchases made by local citizens that have been retained by the City, put into the General Fund and spent else where in the City.

     Leave our excess Incremental Sales Tax Revenue in the URA and use those millions of dollars to revitalize the area like they were supposed to be used.

5. The City has millions of dollars of excess General Fund dollars available to be spent on projects such as ours.

     The money is there.   We have the Plan. We have the public support!

General News

On Monday, April 13, the Local Foods Campus coalition, supported by over 50 citizens, presented an update to the Westminster City Council on the progress of this innovative project.

We want to sincerely thank all of those who left their homes to travel to the Westminster City Council Chambers to demonstrate their support for our Plan. We also want to thank those many, many other supporters who could not make to the meeting last night, but who have shared their support for our Plan by email, phone calls and Facebook posts. Your support and thoughts are fundamental to our eventual success in bringing convenient and affordable healthy foods to the Hidden Lake Shopping Center at 72nd & Sheridan – located within the South Sheridan Urban Renewal Area (URA).

Many of the organizers and volunteers spoke, as well as a few friends we didn’t even know we had!

There’s something about Local Food and Local Government that just seems to go hand-in-hand.

General News

 

This innovative project is riding a wave of interest from people who are wanting to produce food and sell it to locally to people who care about the source, flavor, sustainability and health of the food they eat.

Local? It varies, depending on the food or product, but grapes from Chile aren’t local to the Front Range of Colorado.

Foods? Certainly vegetables grown near enough to be farm trucked one step in to the place where someone can buy them. But more than that: honey, eggs, beef and mutton and poultry, salsa, jams and jellies, breads and pasta!

Campus? Bringing it all together in one place, where people can package and process, market and plan, buy and eat, celebrate and learn, all in one place. And if that place has historical agricultural roots … all the better.

Local. Foods. Campus.

The Local Foods Campus


We are an incredible new partnership created to bring about a strong and sustainable regional and local food hub. Creating vibrant local food companies, supply chains, and access to ensure affordable, healthy, local food to Colorado Front Range citizens are the top priories of the project. The Local Foods Campus positively impacts the community through education, farming, food distribution and food production. We all need to eat, and the Local Foods Campus will inform and educate as to the delicate interconnectedness of food, community, economy, and the environment.

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