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Earth Notes: Durango's Manna Resource Center

Manna Resource Center Market
Manna Resource Center

The Manna Resource Center in Durango, Colorado, started as a soup kitchen about 30 years ago and has since become a central place for people experiencing food insecurity to receive an array of support services. Manna has merged with The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado to bring more fresh produce to hungry people.

In 2020, Manna’s new strategic plan was just being implemented when the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread, creating a high level of food insecurity in the local community, across the Colorado Plateau and around the world. Manna always had a small kitchen garden on the premises, but with skyrocketing rates of hunger, they decided to join forces with the Garden Project, a food sourcing network of community and school gardens.

Recently, the Manna Resource Center began cultivating another two acres of a donated lease on the Carver Farm outside Durango. The land was ready to work – complete with irrigation and fencing, and an organic food base. Kyler Grandkoski, Manna’s garden education and food security program manager, said the new farmland was the perfect thing at the perfect time.

Grandkoski oversees production on the Carver plot. He says it’s truly a “community-powered” effort with many volunteers participating. In just one year on that parcel alone, produce harvest increased from 2,000 pounds to 8,000 pounds.

On March 1st, Manna will reopen its newly remodeled facility in downtown Durango that will include a free food market where people can choose among nonperishables, as well as an abundant variety of fresh, locally grown and sourced produce.