Eating local foods focus of August’s Colorado Proud month | SteamboatToday.com

Eating local foods focus of August’s Colorado Proud month

— August's statewide "Colorado Proud" campaign is challenging residents to purchase and eat more foods produced within Colorado.

The campaign, started in 1999, aims to raise consumer awareness on the benefits of buying locally grown and manufactured products, which can be identified year round with Colorado Proud stickers on the products.

The stickers can be found on products at City Market and Safeway in Steamboat Springs.

This year’s Colorado Proud month also includes the "Choose Colorado Produce Challenge," a statewide contest seeking photo submissions of people enjoying Colorado produce, and offering online local food trivia.

“The produce challenges and trivia will encourage consumers to think about where their produce comes from and understand the many ways they can support the local economy by buying and eating Colorado produce,” said Wendy White, marketing specialist for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in a release.

Staff at the regional Community Agriculture Alliance said they support the Colorado Proud campaign by encouraging local consumers to eat food produced not only in Colorado, but here in the Yampa Valley.

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"We live here in this community because it's a beautiful place with these beautiful vistas around us, and to keep that, we need to continue supporting the farmers and ranchers that use the land," said Michele Meyer, local food coordinator for the Community Agriculture Alliance.

The CAA runs an online marketplace to purchase local food products and also brings together eight local farms to sell produce at the Steamboat Farmers Market each Saturday.

Meyer said the CAA supports the Colorado Proud campaign and plans to do more co-marketing with the event next year.

In the meantime, the CAA is gearing up to kick off its own local foods marketing and promotion campaign, funded through an $11,000 Colorado Department of Agriculture Grant the CAA received August 1.

"We are just starting to work on spending that money and deciding what our message is," Meyer said.

Meyer said the CAA is also planning to add the Colorado Proud logo to the CAA marketplace.

Purchasing and eating local foods is important for a number of reasons, including the economic benefits of supporting a local company, Meyer said.

"That money is staying with those local farmers that are part of the community," Meyer said. "I want to see those farmers and ranchers stay here, and the best way to do that is buy their products."

Other reasons for eating local include the environmental and nutritional benefits, Meyer said.

"The nutritional content is there and it tastes better," Meyer said. "It's food that hasn't been sitting on a truck. It was driven maybe three miles or 30 miles."

For more information on Colorado Proud and the Choose Colorado Produce Challenge, see http://www.choosecoloradoblog.com. Produce challenge photos can be uploaded on the site using #choosecolorado.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow