By Pauline Benetti
Bet that caught your attention and you want to know more. So, the money has come to the Coalition from several different grant sources and the Coalition wants it to go to community projects that will contribute to the COVID-19 relief effort and further one or more of the Coalition goals (more about that later).
How to get that to happen? Through a process called Participatory Budgeting (PB) where community members can decide themselves how the money should be spent. The idea behind PB is that budgets are better spent when everyone participates in the decision-making rather than have all of the decisions made by an organization.
How does the process actually work? First, eligibility for project submission. Literally, anyone 16 or older who lives in Archuleta County, works in the county or has kids in the public schools is eligible. The idea collection period was opened on Oct. 12 with a virtual idea collection gathering. Three weeks later, the PB facilitators have eight proposals in various stages of development but on schedule to be ready for virtual presentation on Nov. 7-13 and for voting during the following week.
How does the voting take place? This is the most exciting aspect of PB. It is the community that will decide. That is you. And just as you had to register to vote in the national election last Tuesday, so you must register to vote in this one. We suggest you do that right now. Go to foodcoalition4archuleta.org and click on Participatory Budgeting tab and right in front of you will appear a green box that says “I Want to Vote.” Click on that and fill out the simple form that appears and you are ready to vote and will receive instructions on how to go forward. The projects will be on display on the Coalition website from Nov. 14-22.
Just in case you might have a project in mind, a quick review (for details, see the website) of the Coalition goals is in order: 1. To engage youth, community members, stakeholders and partners in learning about the community-based food system; 2. To engage and expand involvement of community members from all background in equity and food equity work; 3. To engage and expand involvement of community members from all background in public policy advocacy related to the local/regional food system; 4. To expand and coordinate food access efforts to advance food equity; and 5. To expand the viability of a community-based food system. Give it some thought. See what you can come up with. The PB facilitators are available to help you through the process. Contact the Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.