USDA Initiative Announced Focused on Improving Our Local Food System

The USDA has announced that our region has received a 3-year grant for enhancing the local food system in our area. Seedstock has the announcement press release up and the Pueblo Chieftain had an article with a bit more local perspective. The grants are focused on enabling regional linkages between regional food hubs.

It looks like this could be a win-win with farmers/ranchers getting better coordination and access to regional markets while consumers will get a broader set of products.

The challenge is to avoid dropping into the highest efficiency/lowest cost industrial agriculture trap, so will be interesting to see how this shapes up over the next three years.

Small Good News – And No, Processed Foods Are Still Processed Foods

Marion Nestle has a great article up at the Guardian that provides a few hints that things are incrementally getting better:

Baby steps, but at least walking in the right direction. Bottom line, know your farmer and know your food is still the best motto for good, clean, and fair food for all.

Cloud 9 Farm Visit

We had a great visit to the Cloud 9 Farm in Penrose today. Thanks to Kelly, Abi, Kyle, and Daisy for taking us around to visit the hair sheep and lambs, chickens, cow, llama, and kune kune pigs (and soon turkeys). We will be including them in our May visit to Penrose along with the Wheeler Farm as they are well aligned with our goals for local agriculture. Hair sheep, kune kune pigs… some very interesting work going on here.

If you would be interested in receiving information from them on products as they become available, there is a mailing list at their website that will allow you to receive info in the future.

Here are some photos to whet your appetite. First some happy hair sheep and lambs!

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Next are the chickens.

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And some kune kune pigs (I have not seen these before).

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Globalization, Technology, and Questions on Laser Identification

New technology promises to allow consumers to evaluate products (even in plastic wrap or glass). This article shows the promises and the perils associated with new technology. If the technology demands expensive testing over extended periods of time with commodity products, then we have every right to be concerned that diversity will be the victim. So yes, it would be good to be able to detect traces of pesticides on organic products or fraudulent fish, but we will also risk losing yet more biodiversity because the producers of specialty or low volume products cannot afford the profiling required to allow their products to be evaluated. That is definitely not a good thing.

Fun planning trip to Wheeler Farm

We are looking forward to the farm tour and potluck dinner at Wheeler Farm later this spring, so we had a fun trip to Penrose to talk about the event with Jerome Wheeler and see all the great progress they are making. We got to see the chickens, goats, turkeys, pigs/piglets, greenhouse, and the dogs!

First, in the greenhouse that has been providing the great greens we have been getting at the Winter Market at CFAM.

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Piglets getting some rest.

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Momma getting a break   🙂

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Chickens on the prowl!

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Challenges for new farms and farmers entering as organic producers

There was an article in the 3/23/2016 Gazette on the challenges faced by new organic farmers in Boulder county. Boulder county has lands that it is attempting to preserve as agricultural land, and provides incentives to farmers who are entering the business. Turns out that making a go of agriculture, even in a friendly climate, is a real challenge,

One of the ongoing challenges to growing our producer base is the difficulty of providing a fair income for a farm family in Colorado. We have become accustomed to cheap food available at any time and the harm to our agricultural community is immense.

We at Slow Food Colorado Springs are proud supporters of the agricultural community in our Arkansas Valley watershed that continues to grow and deliver great food, and we support a fair return for their hard work and dedication.