Who We Are
The Vegetable Connection was formerly named Friends of Happy Heart Farm. Our organization is growing to include other farms and other schools. In 2016, we included Garden Sweet, Native Hill, The Growing Project along with Happy Heart Farm as choices for our families. This expansion gives families more choices of what CSA farm they want to join. In 2017, the plan is to include additional farms. In 2015 and 2016, The Food School shared our Science of Gardening curriculum with Olander School. In 2017, we will partner with Sproutn’ Up to offer the curriculum at Riffenburgh School.
Friends of Happy Heart Farm was born out of the dreams of Happy Heart Farm owners Dennis and Bailey Stenson. Aware that many families wanted nutritional, organic vegetables but faced limited access due to financial constraints, they donated 6 vegetable shares to families in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011, the organization received its official nonprofit status resulting in an expansion of the Feeding the Families program. Each year more families are discovering the goodness found in fresh vegetables that they receive each week during the growing season. In addition to the food, they also harvest a greater sense of community and learn new ideas for preparing the vegetables.
Friends of Happy Heart Farm merged with another local non-profit, The Food School, in 2015. Originally, both organizations had a two-fold mission: increasing access to nutritional food to those in need and providing food education. Due to limited resources, each organization focused on only half of their initial goals. Together, we are strengthened in ways that make both goals more attainable. As one, organic produce is more accessible; program participants learn new skills that empower them and children in Poudre School district are finding out how much fun it is to grow their own food in their school gardens
Executive Director- Claudia DeMarco
Feeding the Families Coordinator- Jill Munson
Volunteer Coordinator- Tara Westenhiser
Board of Directors:
President- Melissa Buderus, Poudre School District Teacher
Vice President- Scott Hapner, Adecco Executive Recruiter
Secretary- Charlene Horton-Garcia, Homesteader
Treasurer- Bill DeMarco, Bill DeMarco Music
Member at Large- Nicole Eckman, Enlightenment Nutrition Consultant