Grand County agricultural community pulls resources together
March 1, 2009
Eat fresh, buy local ” that’s the whole idea behind a new group forming to strengthen agriculture and the economy in Grand County.
“It’s about what is here and what could be,” explains Granby farmer and group organizer Carol Morales. “We’re hoping this is a turn to realize how important agriculture is to a community. It will be our future.”
Morales hopes the formation of the new group and a resource brochure is “not just a romantic move.” Going back to buying products from farms and ranchers may be a backwards move in time, she said, “but a forward one too.”
She and Brenda Kwang of the CSU Extension Office made their first presentation at the recent annual meeting of the Middle Park Stockgrowers Association. Many in attendance, Morales said, showed significant interest. Information is being assembled for a resource guide, and a planning and informational meeting is scheduled Tuesday.
The two women formed AGRI (Agriculture in Grand County Resource Information), similar to a program in Routt County. They have since been working on the guide that will inform the public about agricultural resources close to their homes. Their goal: to strengthen agriculture in the county by linking the ranchers and farmers to the community members seeking their products. This in turn, they hope, will strengthen the Grand County economy through buying products locally.
The group is attempting to make a list of all those interested who can provide information related to products offered in the area. 4-H groups may get involved as well. To be listed parties can attend the meeting, or contact the CSU Extension office by March 31.
It has been said that a small percentage of the world population raises the food for the rest of the population, and of that small percentage, about half are 65 years old or older. As agriculture production declines, the younger generations are reluctant to pick up where their forefathers are leaving off. So the question is where is our food going to come from, Morales said.
People want to buy local and just “don’t know what’s out there,” she explained. The AGRI brochures would help by listing contacts for businesses and individuals that raise things like elk, beef, lamb, goats, swine, poultry, vegetables and hay, for instance. The list, she added, can only grow from there. The effort would encourage direct contact with those growers. It is up to the participants then on how to deal with the details.