Sunday, November 25, 2007
Steamboat Springs As the Community Agriculture Alliance develops our Northwest Colorado Products (NWCP) program, it is exciting to discover all the creative and talented producers in the region.
The Aug. 5, 2007, Steamboat Pilot & Today article introducing our program referenced the national trend to purchase products closer to home, sighting safety, flavor and environmental factors as influences in people's decision to support local and value-added products. Our local and value-added products program also is viewed as an avenue to diversify our economic development matrix in the valley. But is there something more to this? I think so:
Growth in the Northwest Colorado region has revealed a notion that our character and sense of community is at risk. This inclination should remind all of us that we, as members of this community, are responsible for preserving our identity, culture and values. A variety of avenues exist to help us in this effort; numerous museums and heritage centers, stunning historic preservation projects and cultural heritage tourism initiatives that promote authenticity and differentiating characteristics of all of our Yampa Valley towns. And now we can add local value-added products.
Community, by definition, is a body of persons having a common history or common social, economic and political interests. Forget the common political interest part. Today, the West is still a fiercely independent-thinking bunch. But the social and economic interests are the glue to preserving and enhancing the character and sense of community of the Northwest Colorado region.
On a recent trip to California, I drove through the vast fields of commodity product or industrial farms. It gave me pause. At the same time, it made me reflect on a most-valued commodity in the Yampa Valley - a commodity that will see us through to great success in growing and producing an abundance of local and value-added products that will sustain a vibrant market to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Our commodity? Community!
If you are a producer, retailer or want to know more about the Northwest Colorado Products program, call Nancy Kramer, program coordinator at the Community Agriculture Alliance, at 879-4370.