Who We Are
The Vegetable Connection, formerly 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 six 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 and preserving the vegetables.
We 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 stronger so both goals are more attainable. As one organization, fresh, locally grown 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.
Feeding the Families is growing to include other farms. Dennis and Bailey decided to retire from farming at the end of the 2016 season. Therefore, in 2017 we partnered with Native Hill, Garden Sweet and The Growing Project. This expansion gives families more choices of what CSA farm they want to join and it supports our local farmers. We are planning to reach out to additional farms in the future. More than 100 families have participated in Feeding the Families over the past nine years.
In 2015 and 2016, The Food School shared our Science of Gardening curriculum with Olander Project-Based Elementary School. In 2017, we partnered with Sproutn’ Up to offer the curriculum at Riffenburgh School. We also offered five workshops to our families including cooking and food preservation.
Executive Director- Michelle Hindman
Program Director- Jill Munson
Volunteer Coordinator- Tara Westenhiser
Board of Directors:
President- Melissa Buderus, Poudre School District Teacher
Vice President- Scott Hapner
Secretary- Charlene Horton-Garcia, Homesteader
Treasurer- Bill DeMarco, Bill DeMarco Music
Member at Large- Nicole Eckman, Enlightenment Nutrition Consultant
Member at Large- Bernadette Kissel, Former Teacher and Principal