Durango Announces Partnership for Spanish and English Speaking Food Business Courses – The Durango Herald

Program focuses on basic food safety and best practices

Thomas German Palacios, Special Projects Coordinator for the La Plata Food Equity Coalition, addresses the crowd at the Language Justice Gala at Rotary Park in Durango in September 2022. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald File)

Economic opportunities are not always offered equally. With this in mind, the City of Durango is partnering with food-based entrepreneurs to provide business opportunities for Spanish and English-speaking residents.

The city participates in the Cities Inclusive Entrepreneurship Program promoted by the National Federation of Cities, and the city’s initial approach targets food companies and entrepreneurs, according to Tommy Crosby, the city’s economic opportunity manager. It says. The company hosted its first Spanish- and English-speaking food safety training last week, with more courses planned for this summer.

After thoroughly researching the food business landscape in the City of Durango and La Plata County, the City identified the La Plata Food Equity Coalition as the best resource for mentoring food entrepreneurs.

About 60 people from Durango and those who live in the county responded to the survey, he said. Sixty percent of respondents were women, 20 percent were black, indigenous and people of color, and 15 percent were immigrant-owned businesses, who expressed an interest in expanding food equity and language justice.

He said 11 people attended the first Spanish- and English-speaking session, and four more watched a recorded version of the lesson. They learned about managing microgreens, pies, tortillas, and other “ready-to-eat foods.”

The program includes participation from the Colorado State University Extension Office and the San Juan Basin Department of Public Health, and focuses on basic food safety and best practices, he said. The program aims to introduce participants to the basics and teach them about regulations and requirements such as hand-washing stations, proper placement of signs, and other appropriate tools and utilities.

“In practice, we’ve identified some of the low-hanging fruit when it comes to ‘What are the most common mistakes and overlooked best practices for basic food safety when starting a business?’ It was to do it,” he said. .

Next, La Plata Food Equity Coalition will be offering free language justice training on Zoom on Thursdays from 9-10am. You can check attendance at https://bit.ly/44SdNyn.

The special conference will focus on “fundamental concepts in the practice of language justice,” Crosby shared in an email. “Attendants will also develop their ‘know-how’ to be able to plan, prepare and execute bilingual conferences, and learn about the resources available to support their organization’s language justice efforts.”

He said the best way to stay in touch with La Plata Food Equity Coalition and CIE activities is to subscribe to foodaccess@goodfoodcollective.org.

La Plata Food Equity Coalition will be able to turn over talent to other best suited organizations such as the City of Durango, Good Food Collective, Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center and Southwest Colorado Accelerator for Entrepreneurs.

The city’s first step was to set up a food business group under the guidance of the National Cities Federation. The group meets every two weeks and is the driving force behind the CIE program, which in April received a $15,000 grant from the National Cities Federation to help develop programs for entrepreneurs in Durango and the region. He said he was awarded the gold.

“The goal of this project is to ensure that we don’t duplicate our efforts, to make sure we do this in an equitable way, and to help communities that don’t always come to the discussion table when it comes to economic development. It’s about bringing members of the community on board, or bringing economic opportunities to the table,” he said.

He said the aim of the project is to give more communities a say in the direction of resources and efforts in food entrepreneurship.

In doing so, the city will achieve higher levels of diversity, equity, and inclusion—more affordable wages, easier access to childcare and housing, and more—through greater affordability and economic opportunity for Durango communities. He said he hopes to have a more robust savings account.


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