Community Agriculture Alliance: Blueprint for future food production | SteamboatToday.com

Community Agriculture Alliance: Blueprint for future food production

Todd Hagenbuch/For Steamboat Today

Community Ag Alliance

The Colorado State University Food Systems Team, comprised of CSU Extension professionals and campus faculty, is traveling across the state this winter to gather information in an effort to create the Colorado Food Systems Blueprint, which will inform the state's food-related work into the future. Northwest Colorado Food Systems stakeholders are encouraged to weigh-in on the blueprint from 2 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Steamboat Springs Community Center.

As we learned from an early age, food is a vital element to sustain life, and history tells us food production is one of the most important components of sustaining thriving economies and communities in rural Colorado. Knowing this, CSU, in partnership with the state of Colorado, is working on creating the blueprint to help us better understand how to leverage resources and partnerships to develop more robust food systems.

The premise behind the blueprint is that Colorado food systems stakeholders — including farmers and ranchers, local food banks, food distributors, restaurateurs and more — are well-poised to "frame, guide and innovate a blueprint of the sector's key assets, emerging issues and priorities for future investments," according to CSU.

Citing agriculture's longstanding role in creating a culture in which food production is both a key part of the economy and a base from which healthy and livable communities spring, the blueprint is an opportunity to create additional community and economic development through a stakeholder-driven process.

As participants gather in February in Northwest Colorado to discuss the blueprint, they will help accomplish the following goals.

• Formulate a model of key assets and food system linkages, noting how they are influenced by emerging issues.

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• Guide priorities and acknowledge leverage points, with the hope that partner organizations will use these a guide for future investments, programming and policies.

• Sustain the state's standing as a global leader in production and processing while maintaining the culture of quality of life, health and livable communities that makes Colorado unique.

If you are a farmer, agricultural researcher, food security advocate or are just passionate about the future of food in Colorado, you are encouraged to attend the Feb. 14 discussion.

For more information, visit the CSU Food Systems website, at foodsystems.colostate.edu and click on the Blueprint tab.

To RSVP, email thagenbuch@co.routt.co.us, or call the Routt County CSU Extension Office at 970-879-0825.

Todd Hagenbuch is the agriculture extension agent for Colorado State University Routt County Extension.