Nancy B. Kramer: Events to help local producers |

Nancy B. Kramer: Events to help local producers

— The Community Agriculture Alliance initiated the development of the Northwest Colorado Products program in 2005 with a mission of promoting, establishing and maintaining a market for products and services that originate in Northwest Colorado.

Specifically, the purpose of the NWCP is to:

■ Create a market for products and services that originate in Northwest Colorado

■ Develop retail opportunities that easily can be accessed by locals and tourists

■ Tell the stories of North­west Colorado and its residents

In our efforts to grow opportunities for our producer and retail members and meet our mission, Northwest Colorado Products is providing a number of opportunities in the spring.

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It all begins today with a gathering for local food and nonfood producers to learn about a new marketing tool to promote local products. Today's marketing opportunity begins at 3 p.m. at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. Come and join in to learn more about Northwest Colorado Products' new dual-purpose products publication.

On May 14 and 15, North­west Colorado Products will host its annual meeting and Business to Business Expo. New at the Expo will be a business resource section including small-business planning, social media and professional development assistance for budding entrepreneurs. This is great added value to the many eclectic producers you will be able to meet in person at the event. On May 14, the NWCP annual meeting will include a presentation about examining the feasibility of a local product cooperative for Northwest Colorado.

But one new component to our events this year brings great pride to the Northwest Colorado Products organization — the introduction of the Ann Copeland Emerging Producer Award. This award is named after Ann Copeland, a NWCP board member who passed away in July 2009. Copeland embodied the entrepreneurial spirit and led the way for many producers in the Yampa Valley to market and sell their products through the Hayden Marketplace, which Copeland helped to establish in 2008.

Copeland was a fourth-generation Yampa Valley resident, and the list of her local accomplishments is long. As mentioned, she helped lead the effort to start the Hayden Marketplace, where she sold homemade jewelry under the name Annie's Antics. She served on the Hayden Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and worked to promote cultural heritage tourism in the area. She and her husband leased and led llama pack trips in the Flat Tops from their ranch on Routt County Road 19, about 28 miles from Hayden.

The intent of the Ann Cope­land Emerging Producer Award is to recognize an individual who exhibits innovation, good business practices and the entrepreneurial spirit in his/her approach to designing, developing, marketing and distributing a product that originates in the region of Northwest Colorado.

Nominations for the award will be solicited from regional educational institutions and agencies involved with product development, as well as the general public. The Board of Di­­rec­tors of Northwest Colora­do Products will partner with local business leaders to determine the award winner. The Board of Direc­tors of Northwest Colo­rado Products is honored to offer this award in Copeland's name. If you would like to nominate an innovative young producer, call Nancy Kramer at 970-879-4370. And look for more information on all of these upcoming events.

Nancy Kramer is the project coordinator for Northwest Colorado Products.

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