JANUARY 30, 2014 BY 

If you haven’t been following along in the YVSC Live Simply Challenge, read all about it here.
This post is provided by Michele Meyer, Local Food/Products Coordinator for the Community Agriculture Alliance

While there are many definitions of local food, the most simple is “food that is grown, raised, or made as close as possible” is considered local.   With that said, the concept of eating 100% local is not realistic for most of us.  The simple fact remains that the Steamboat Springs area averages a challenging 59 day growing season for produce.  Take a look outside…snow and cold are not the easiest environment for raising/caring for animals year round.  But we can make a difference by committing to eat/shop/buy/grow/raise more local food – and with that, simplify the system. 

Here’s how:

  • Local food supports local farmers/ranchers and their families
  • Your dollars stay here, making an economic difference to our community
  • Local food keeps you in tune with our environment and the seasons by eating what grows/is raised here during different times of the year
  • Local food reduces environmental impact (as in less transportation, packaging, storage, distribution)
  • Local food supports our agricultural heritage, current working landscapes and new, emerging local food production
  • Know your farmer/rancher/producer, meet them, hear about their passion/products/how they grow and care for animals (most likely you won’t read all this on a label, but hear it first hand while getting to know the person behind the food, ask questions, make informed decisions about what your purchase/eat)

There are many ways to buy local that are easy and simple as well – here’s how to support local food:

  1. Join the online local food co-operative, yampavalleycoop.com  Check it today… now at weekly orders, no minimums! $10 to join.
  2. Buy local produce at our local natural food stores – affect the market with your buying power!  How you know: Look for the Colorado Proud sticker or label.  These are all Colorado products, while it may not be from here in the Yampa Valley, you are supporting Colorado agriculture.
  3. Grow something.  It can be as simple as some herbs in a sunny window or a backyard garden (or plot at the community garden).   It may not be year round, but remember small changes DO add up!  There are tons of local resources to help you do so – start with our partners at the Colorado State University Agriculture Extension Office’s online resource.
  4. Eat local.  Look for local food on menus at restaurants.  Thank them for supporting local food.

If you are interested in getting involved with local foods, contact me at Community Agriculture Alliance and join the NW CO Food Coalition.  You can help make a difference in our community.

I challenge you to keep it simple and commit to eat/buy/shop/grow even more local food this year.

Contact Michele: michele@communityagalliance.org