Colorado Proud Launches Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture
A month-long, interactive connection to local farmers and their experiences
DENVER, Aug. 2, 2017 – After its survey results confirmed that Colorado consumers want to “feel more connected to farmers and their food sources,” Colorado Proudlaunched the well-timed Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture. A lively panel discussion kicked off the program on Aug. 2, at Denver’s Union Station, featuring multi-generational, first-generation and women farmers and ranchers. Colorado Proud will continue the dialog with statewide industry panels in Grand Junction and Colorado Springs, as well as farmers’ markets throughout August, Colorado Proud Month, as declared by Governor Hickenlooper.
The month-long program features a mix of in-person, video and online conversations; a statewide tour through agricultural communities; consumer events at farmers’ markets and festivals; and educational outreach about the people behind agriculture’s impact on Colorado’s economy, heritage and environment. The public can experience Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture, from Aug. 2-31, as it moves from Denver to Grand Junction and Colorado Springs, visiting farmers’ markets and other community events.
“We are experiencing a swing in the local food movement, from a general focus on food to a zoomed lens on the farmers who grow and produce our food. This cultural shift is captured in our 2017 program, Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture, responding to the deep interest in and curiosity about Colorado farmers and ranchers, their stories and their connections to the food they grow,” said Wendy White, Colorado Proud spokesperson. “Their perspective is personal, authentic, direct and expressive — stimulating ongoing conversation about the impact that local growing and buying have on our state. Their faces also show the diversity in agriculture, from age, gender and race to diversity of products.”
Today’s participants and panelists included Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown; Colorado Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture, Chris Wiseman; Petrocco Farms farmer, Kate Petrocco; Proctor Family Farms farmer Brooke Proctor; Rancher Todd Inglee, owner of Ralston Valley Beef, and Sakata Farms multi-generational owner and Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association president, Robert Sakata. They shared information about the future of farming and technology advances for greater accessibility and efficiency; a balance of multi-generational vs. beginning farmers; a more diverse generation of minority and women farmers; consumers’ “local appetite” for locally-grown foods; economic impact of agriculture; and their personal experiences. Additional panel discussions are scheduled in Grand Junction on Aug. 10, and Colorado Springs on Aug. 16, with local farmers, ranchers and producers from those regions.
Agriculture Advances Colorado
Colorado agriculture consistently ranks as one of the state’s top three leading industries, advancing the state’s economy and preserving natural land. In fact, with more than 34,000 farms encompassing nearly 32 million acres, agriculture is a vital part of Colorado – providing more than 173,000 jobs, contributing more than $40 billion to the state’s economy annually, and feeding the world with nearly $2 billion in exported products. Colorado ranks in the top10 nationally for production of a variety of agricultural products.
“Colorado farmers and ranchers play a proud role in helping our economy, while feeding and nourishing the people of our state, country and world. This year’s program is about them – their contributions, their stories, their influence,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown. “After all, who better to talk about agriculture’s impact than the people who are actually working to put food on our tables?”
Consumers Have Local “Appetite” for Local Food
In January 2017, the Colorado Department of Agriculture released the results from its new consumer survey regarding public attitudes of agriculture. Respondents showed increased interest to buy locally-grown food and to support local farmers and ranchers. A few highlights: 90 percent believe agriculture is important to the quality of life in Colorado; almost 85 percent agree that supporting local food systems is important; and 90 percent of survey participants would buy Colorado-grown food, if labeled as such.
The survey results confirm that Colorado consumers want to support local producers and the economy, and they also crave a personal connection with growers and producers. More than ever, they want to know where food comes from,” added White. “The Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture program was created to satisfy consumers’ appetite for more information about their food sources, from the field to the faces.”
About Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture
Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture program will cover issues focused on the current agricultural landscape, which makes up nearly half of Colorado’s 66 million acres. Colorado Proud is hosting industry panels with local farmers, ranchers and agricultural experts, as well as consumer opportunities that bring these “faces” to communities everywhere, including:
· A Colorado Proud booth at farmers’ markets around the state will feature educational information about Colorado agriculture, recipe cards highlighting locally-grown ingredients, profiles of local farmers, and opportunities to interact with representatives of Colorado Proud.
About Colorado Proud
The Colorado Proud Program was created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture in 1999, to promote food and agricultural products that are grown, raised or processed in Colorado. One of the goals of Colorado Proud is to make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase Colorado products by labeling them with the Colorado Proud logo. In 1999, Colorado Proud started with 65 companies and now the program has more than 2,400 members, including growers, processors, restaurants, retailers and associations statewide. Faces and Stories of Colorado’s Agriculture is supported by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Proud, Safeway, Denver Union Station, 626 on Rood, The Pinery on the Hill, statewide farmers’ markets and other community organizations. Additional media materials can be found in the Colorado Proud newsroom.
· Colorado Proud newsroom
· Fact Sheet with “by the numbers” and agricultural stats and farmer/rancher demographics
· Infographic with stats
· Photos of farmers, farmers markets and local Colorado products
· Farmer Videos (Colorado Proud Facebook) that were taken by the farmers/ranchers with a GoPro (very authentic, kind of a “day in the life”)
· Mural with farmers’ faces for reproducing
· Colorado Proud Facebook page.