I don’t know where you fall on the issue of GMO’s. Maybe you fall on the side that science is assisting us in the face of so many natural predators, environmental conditions and weeds that can make farming difficult. Or maybe you fall on the side that science shouldn’t mess with mother nature, as she is perfectly capable of adapting to the changing environment without our intrusion. Maybe you fall in the camp that is concerned about the health risks associated with such alterations to our food. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you probably want to know about this year’s grassroots campaign launched by Right to Know Colorado GMO.
This campaign is based on the simple premise that consumers have a right to know what is in the food they are buying and feeding their families. Proposition 105 asserts that as a result of its passing, Coloradans would have the right to make informed decisions about their diet, health and general lifestyle. We already have food label lists describing details of ingeredients and allergens. Right to Know believes that by adding a simple label for GMO ingredients, this would fulfill the consumers’ right to know, thus enabling them to make informed decisions.
Currently there is no state or federal regulation of GMO’s. While research is underway, there have been no conclusive results as to the long-term health, safety or environmental consequences attributed to growing and consuming genetically modified foods. Connecticut, Vermont and Maine have already passed labeling bills. Several other states, like California and Washington, have had such ballot measures fail. More than 170,000 Coloradans have signed petitions to get Prop 105 on this year’s ballot.
So, what would the Colorado bill cover? Prop 105 would require the labeling of raw, packaged and processed foods sold in grocery stores. A food will be considered genetically modified or engineered if the genetics have been altered through in vitro and in vivo nucleic acid techniques, the fusing of cells beyond the taxonomic family (i.e. fusing cells that could not be otherwise fused in nature), and when the organism from which the food is derved has been treated with a genetically engineered material, or contains an ingredient, component or other article that is genetically engineered. You can read the full text here to learn the details.
Prop 105 has several exemptions not requiring labeling. These exemptions include, but are not limited to, food or beverages for animal consumption, chewing gum, alcohol or foods and beverages served by restaurants. It does not require labeling for food (livestock) that has consumed genetically modified food.
If this is a topic that interests you, or you want to learn more about the campaign to label GMO’s, I suggest you check out Right to Know Colorado’s website. My advice is to do your research, educate yourself on the issue, and then vote this year!
Looking back I wish we had school gardens when I was a kid. Even though I lived in a farming community, it wasn’t evident within the classroom walls. Or the schoolyard for that matter. At least not as far as I could tell.
Whole Kids Foundation is accepting School Garden Grant applications from now through October 31st for schools in the United States. The program provides $2,000 monetary grants for new or existing edible gardens run by K-12 schools or their nonprofit partners. If you want to learn more about learn more about the program visit their website or check out the grant map to see which schools have already benefited in your area. Good Luck!!
Can you believe we have already had frost on the ground? Say it isn’t so! Luckily, I was home this past week and able to harvest the majority of my fragile veggies. Which let me with half a bushel of ripe tomatoes! Since I like things on the low maintenance side, and can only handle so many nights of covering my plants before I am over it, I will likely have a bushel of green tomatoes taking over my dining table very soon.
This week got me thinking about what needs to be done to clean up my garden and prepare it for spring. To make your spring easier, a little work now will go a long way.
Ridding your garden of any plants that were less than healthy this season, like those with powdery mildew or blight, is important to your beds future health. These plants, especially those from the nightshade family, should not be added to your compost. You can send them to the trash or burn them, but you don’t want them hanging around to cause problems next year.
Now is also a good time to get a jump start on weed control. Oy! Weeds seem to have super powers around here! Get them out of the ground, especially before they seed. Again, you likely want to avoid adding them to your compost piles. The temp of your pile may not be hot enough to kill the seeds. Did you know some weeds can create more than 50,000 seeds per plant? You don’t want to add that to your beds if you can help it. It can be tempting to just give in for the season and leave it all to die out on its own. While that may be the easy way now, you may regret all the work it will be next season. Weed, weed, weed!
Mulching will help protect any late season crops, like carrots and some hearty greens, that you can keep harvesting until the cold and snow gets steady. It’s also a good idea to mulch your strawberries (I like to use straw) and your perennials. Since our winters can get unseasonably warm during the days, mulching 2-4 inches will help maintain cooler soil temps. This will also keep your plants going into a premature growing spurt during any warm spells. After a hard freeze it’s a good idea to cut your perennials down to a couple inches. If any are unhealthy, keep the cuttings out of the compost.
If you aren’t going to mulch, it’s a great time to try winter cover crops. CSU extension services have a number of recommendations for winter cover crops in our region. It provides two benefits, the benefit of mulch throughout the winter, protecting your top soil, and organic matter in the spring when you till it under.
Many of us add soil amendments like composted manure in the spring. Fall is actually the perfect time to add a top dressing of manure to the garden bed. This will allow it some time to break down and age, eliminating the potential damage a fresh spring dressing can do to young plants. Once your amendments are worked into the soil, a layer of mulch will protect it and keep in more of those nutrients for your spring planting.
Making sure your trees and shrubs stay healthy usually requires a couple good fall soakings to maintain adequate soil moisture. It’s not a bad idea to water monthly during any warm spells throughout the winter. Wrapping younger trees will keep them from experiencing sun scald. The combination of intense sun, warm days and frigid nights can play havoc on the bark of trees, injuring them severely or worse killing them off. Be careful not to wrap too tightly to allow for expansion and contraction with the temp changes.
Fall is also a great time to clean up those plant containers. A simple bleach solution will kill of any harmful pests. Clean off those garden tools and get them sharpened and ready for next year. Putting containers and tools away, inside the shed or garage, will extend their life.
Once your done, get out your pencil and pad, and get hold of those seed catalogs and start planning! Next spring will be just around the corner before you know it! I hope these small tips are helpful!
There are a couple things happening with the Northern Colorado Food Cluster. The first is that they were accepting applications for the Winter Market, which they took over from the now defunct Be Local. Applications were due September 8. Check their website for more info and to see if you can still send in an application if you missed the deadline.
The second is a call for support and action. The Cluster asks everyone to envision a unique downtown marketplace whee you can buy local food from producers and artisans, ethnic foods, freshly prepared foods, enjoy local commerce, community and music. Sound good? This vision could become a reality with your support.
Fort Collins has a voter approved sales tax initiative Building on basics (BOB) that is set to expire. This initiative was approved in 2005 and was a 1/4 cent tax. This money supported renovations to the Lincoln Center, the Museum of Discovery, new bike facilities and improvements to North College and Timberline and the coming Senior Center expansion.
A new BOB 2.0 initiative will be presented to voters in April of 2015. The Cluster is happy to announce that one project in the BOB 2.0 calls for the creation of a Community Marketplace. This marketplace would include an indoor market hall allowing for year round operation of a farmers’ market. The intent is for the marketplace to become a focal point for local food production as well as increasing the availability of Fort Collins products. While the project has been in discussion for several years, and vetted by external consultants, the opportunity for this idea to come to fruition has arrived. You can learn more about the history of the project at website of the Downtown Development Authority.
So how can you help? Glad you asked. BOB 2.0 includes proposals for $280 million in projects. By the time the initiative goes forward, this figure will be trimmed to $80 million. Which means the City of Fort Collins will have to choose which projects will be funded. The City is currently conducting public outreach and soliciting feedback through September. Which means, if you think the idea of providing our local farmers a year round venue to market their wares is awesome, let the City know. If you want a wrongful new venue to shop and build community, let the City know. Let them know that a Public Market is a crucial, value added, missing element in our community!
To voice your opinion and support you can
> visit http://www.fcgov.com/bob/projects.php
> under “economic health” select the “Community Marketplace” box
> enter your name, email and comments in support of a Community Marketplace
> visit http://www.nocofoodcluster.com/action-alert/ for updates and talking points
> share this call to action with all of your friends and social networks to spread the word!
You can also attend a Community Issues Forum with the City of Fort Collins, in collaboration with CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation. The Forum will be held Thursday, September 18 from 5:00 to 8:00pm in the Prairie Sage Two room at the Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Drive. This meeting will provide folks an opportunity to discuss and contribute ideas and opinions on the capital expansion projects through BOB 2.0 and the tax renewals proposed for the Street Maintenance Program. RSVP here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BJF2JWM
Tell them Erica sent you!
You’ve just got to love that fall crisp air. Hot days are typically not too hot. And the whisper of winter is in the air, nudging you to finish those projects that won’t wait until the snow flies.
I don’t know about you, but we always have lots of little projects. With fall here, thoughts are turning to protection. Farmers and gardeners typically spend a fair sum on equipment, like tractors and implements. Spending a Colorado winter outside can wear things down. It’s important to find ways to protect your tools and equipment, especially if you don’t have a shed or garage.
So this morning, before heading out, the hubs and I sat on the tailgate with a cup of coffee, making plans. Sometimes it’s the prices of making plans that I like most. Looking around the property and envisioning its potential. We came up with the future location of the goat pen. And the pig pen. And the lean to off the barn.
We’ve been lucky to gather materials along the way. Metal decking that will make a great, strong roof. Forks lumber has great beetle kill pine and rough cut lumber. Post holes are already dug, having made sure to dig them when the ground was damp. Three 4×4′s and some cross braces later and we will have the start of the lean to. Building always excites me.
It’s important to build well, but also to build economically. This is one of those days I dearly miss Resource. But as folks clean house you can find some great project materials.
This is what’s on my mind today. Building projects and future fences. What building/yard/farm projects do you have going this fall?
Join TGP on a bike tour through Fort Collins to plant donated fruit trees at three different non-profits (The Food Bank for Larimer County, The Family Center/La Familia and The Murphy Center). The goal is to bring more food bearing trees to those who need better food access. The ride will begin at Shire CSA at 9:30am with a 40 minute class on fruit tree care. The ride will end around 12:30pm with beer and snacks at Funkwerks Brewery. How cool is that! Proceeds from the event benefit TGP and the care and maintenance of the trees. Tickets are $20 on the and beer tickets for Funkwerks are $5 each.
Do you daydream about turning your small suburban lot into an edible oasis? Do you grow food on a balconey that can barely fit a lawn chair on it? Do you read about hobby farming in your 500 square foot apartment? Dreaming of a day when you can have backyard chickens and a goat? If you answered yes to any of these questions, and come on be truthful it was yes to all of them, then this tour is probably for you.
Presented by Fort Collins Nursery, the NoCo Urban Farmstead Tour wishes to educate the public about a self-sustainable lifestyle that includes growing your own edibles, backyard chickens, goats and bees, home brewing and garden structures. The tour will feature small spaces utilizing environmentally sound practices.
This tour is family friendly and meant to be educational. Learn how to dream up, build and cultivate a working homestead on less than an acre in a city environment. You’ll visit six locations. Three homesteads in Fort Collins and three in Downtown Loveland. You’ll get to see first hand how these folks incorporate sustainable practices into their everyday life, without needing to head out of the city to greener pastures.
The Tour is September 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all proceeds benefit the Loveland Youth Gardens and The Gardens at Spring Creek. Tickets are $15.00 and on sale now. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets can also be purchased at the door of the Harvest Festival at The Gardens at Spring Creek.
On the other hand, we are coming into an abundance of fruit and other garden delights. It’s time to take the canner out and get some new lids for those beloved jars. It’s time for fresh pies at potlucks and a crisp or a crumble. Tart crunches and juice running down your chin.
Labor Day in my house will be spent laboring over the stove canning peaches. And quite possibly applesauce, depending on how motivated I am on a rare day off. The thought of cracking open a jar of peaches in January is actually pretty motivating. Ahhhh, capturing summer in a glass.
With that said, where’s a person to get large quantities of such sweetness? Hopefully the following list will help. And, as always, this is likely not an exhaustive list, but rather a good place to start. Inquire as to the availability of cases and seconds (great for canning and cheaper). Happy canning, freezing, drying and eating!! And tell them Erica sent you.
Garden Sweet U-pick – the u-pick gardens at Garden Sweet are open! In season are strawberries and raspberries (limited).
Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Starfire, Rosa, Suncrest. Coming up in September will be Coralstar, Blushingstar, Glowingstar, Allstar, Cresthaven, JH Hale and O’Henry. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.
C&R Farms (Palisade) Growing more than 20 varieties annually, those in season now are Suncrest and Blakes. Coming up in September will be Cresthaven, Monroe and O’Henry. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.
Morton Organic Orchards (Palisade) The season, July 1 through September 20, has the following varieties: PF #1, Early Redhaven, Rising Star, Redhaven, Blazing Star, Roza, Redglobe, Suncrest, Cresthaven, Angelus, O’Henry. You can find them at the CAMC Farmer’s Market on the southside of Fort Collins on Wednesdays and Sundays from 11 am – 3pm. You can also find them at the markets in Broomfield, Louisville, Longmont and Boulder.
Road side stands of Palisade peaches – numerous! in parking lots and road sides all over Northern Colorado. Typically you are not buying direct from the farmer and may want to ask if that is important to you.
Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Zestar, Alkmene, and Gala. Coming up in September will be Golden Supreme, Jonathan, Swiss Gourmet, McIntosh, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp. In October you will find Ashmead’s Kernel, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Esopus Spitzenberg, Freyburg, Karminjen Sonneville, Pitmastin Pineapple, Hubbardson’s Nonesuch, Empire, Golden Deliscious, Fuji, Braeburn, and Granny Smith. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.
Masonville Orchards (Masonville) Apple season is upon us and Masonville has the following varieties available: Akane, Gala and Early Gold. In the coming weeks they will have Blondie, Jonathan, Jefferis, Pixie Crunch, Honeycrisp, Empire, Burford Red Flesh, and about a month from now they will have Charlie’s Gold, Winter Banana, Sundance, Airlie’s Red Flesh, Blushing Goldens, Rome, Suncrisp and some others. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Greeley Farmer’s Market (Greeley – Saturday), Boulder Co Farmer’s Market (Boulder – Saturday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Fort Collins – Sunday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Loveland – Tuesday)
C&R Farms (Palisade) Coming up in September they will have Jonathan. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.
Morton Organic Orchards (Palisade) The season, August 20 through August 30, has the following variety: Red Gold. You can find them at the Harmony and Lemay farmer’s market on the southside of town on Wednesdays and Sundays from 11 am – 3pm. You can also find them at the markets in Broomfield, Louisville, Longmont and Boulder.
Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Bartlett (ending), Harrow Sweet, Comice and Bosc. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.
Masonville Orchards (Masonville) Pear season is also upon us and Masonville has the following varieties available: Summer Crisp. In September the following varieties should be available: Seckel, Lucious, Shinseki Asian, and Chojuro Asian. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Greeley Farmer’s Market (Greeley – Saturday), Boulder Co Farmer’s Market (Boulder – Saturday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Fort Collins – Sunday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Loveland – Tuesday)
C&R Farms (Palisade) They currently have Red and Yellow Bartlett. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.
Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Shiro and Santa Rosa. Coming up in September will be Friar, Black Amber, Fortune, Italian, Sand tanley. In October you will find Elephant Heart. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.
C&R Farms (Palisade) They currently have plums available. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.
There are two things happening in Northern Colorado that will likely be of interest to folks.
The first is the passing of the torch for Be Local. Be Local, a membership driven organization that has supported local food and farming, has gone through a lot of revision in the last 18 months. As a result of that revision they will be passing the torch to the Northern Colorado Food Cluster (NCFC). NCFC is an emerging industry cluster focusing on local/regional food-system innovation and investment. So, what does that change you might ask? What it means is that NCFC will be taking over the Winter Market this year and ensuring the continuity of wonderful asset in our community. It also means your investment in Be Local will continue to provide value and opportunity for Northern Colorado. If you are a current member and want to understand more about the changes, please email Ashley Colpaart of NCFC at NoCoFoodCluster@Gmail.com .
The Winter Market is currently accepting applications for vendors through September 8. The Market is held on Saturday mornings from 10 am to 2 pm at the Opera Galleria, 123 North College Avenue in Old Town Fort Collins. The dates of this year’s Winter Market are: November 8, 15, 22, December 6, 13, 20, January 10, 24, February 14, 28, March 7, 28, and April 11.
The second exciting thing happening in the food world is microloan availability through Living Soil Investments. The mission of Living Soil Investments (LSI) is to strengthen the local food economy and enhance soil fertility by making small loans to farms, ranches and the food businesses that help them thrive. LSI is a group of community members that value the importance of local agriculture that is resilient, regenerative and reconnecting. As a result, they have pooled together $50,000 in a common fund to provide loans from $5k to $20k with patient terms at fair interest rates. They are seeking businesses interested in applying at this time.
If you are a business that sources your inputs primarily from regional farms and ranches or otherwise promote the economic viability and job development of Colorado, advance watershed and farmland health, promote socially and culturally sustainable practices and seek to innovate, then you are the type of business they are looking to assist. In addition to farmers, ranchers and food producers, they are also interested in supporting projects and businesses that provide strategic infrastructure and foodshed needs, food processors making healthy and unique products, businesses addressing food waste and soil health and larger social issues of food security, hunger and public health.If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, check out their website or email them at LivingSoilInvestments@gmail.com.
There are so many ways to support local farmers. Buying from them at the farmer’s market or through CSA’s and meat shares. Buying local at the grocery store. And there is attending wonderful on farm events. This last one is a great one and usually means you get to eat awesome food without lifting anything more than your fork.
It’s that time of the season for farm dinners. While I know my lists are likely not exhaustive, I try to do my best gathering them so you can have choices.
Here’s the current run down of farm dinners:
Lyons Farmette Benefit Dinners
September 28, 2014 – Art on the Farm, annual art show for BCAA and LAHC
August 22, 2014 - Bison BBQ: A Farm to Table Feast on the Grasslands. From 6:00 to 8:00 pm AL Fresco dining with notable chefs coming together to create and to delight in local, sustainable food, all ingredients being sourced from around Colorado. As the sun sets, guests will join together around a long communal table amongst the beautiful grasslands to enjoy a family style four-course meal. As the dinner progresses, hear from notable chefs and ranchers involved in the creation of the meal. Chefs of the evening include Elise Wiggins from Panzanos Restaurant, and chefs from Cafe Bar, Linger and Root Down. Wine will be provided by Balistreri Vineyards. They will also feature a silent auction of one significant piece of western themed art, by the internationally acclaimed artist William Matthews.
Tickets: $110/non-member or $95/member. To RSVP for this fundraising event please contact Sara Armstrong at 303-693-3621 Ext 104 or by email at SArmstrong@PlainsCenter.org
*Registration will close on August 17, 2014 at 12:00PM MST. Corporate Table Sponsorship for 6: $750
Please contact Melanie at 303-693-3621 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details on corporate table sponsorships and benefits.
August 23, 2014 - Agri-CULTURE Fest and Feast
from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the 8th Street Plaza in Greeley. The lucky bearer of this ticket will dine “under the stars” on locally sourced cuisine as the Greeley Creative District celebrates the CULTURE of our strong local agri-CULTURE roots. This dinner will bring locally sourced foods and professional chefs together to create this unique celebration of our heritage and the culinary arts. Meet the chefs and even some of our local producers as they prepare each dish which will be served “harvest” or “family” style in a beautiful urban outdoor setting. Adults can also enjoy locally brewed beers and libations from local distilleries. Entertainment will also be provided. Funding supports the newly certified Greeley Creative District as we bring together our urban and rural communities in celebration of our rich shared heritage. Tickets are $50 and . Corporate Table Sponsorships available. Contact Alison at the DDA office. (970) 356-6775 email@example.com
September 12, 2014 – Feeding the Families Farm Dinner at Happy Heart Farm, 2820 W Elizabeth Street, Fort Collins, Colorado. Seasonal menu by Chef Ricky Myers, produce from Happy Heart Farm and beer pairings by Odell Brewing. 5pm passed appetixers and farm tour, 6pm dinner. Live music by Clark Street Music Club. All proceeds go to Friends of Happy Heart Farm Feeding the Families. Tickets are $80 per person and you can buy tickets at Jax Fish House, Odell Brewing or .
September 13, 2014 – Farm Dinner at Grant Farms. Join the farm for an outdoor evening of farm fresh fare, music, bonfires and more! Enjoy a six course meal prepared by Andy Grant, featuring seasonal produce and meats from the farm; visit the animals, enjoy farm tours, craft cocktails and live music, all in a picturesque garden setting. Stay longer if you like, and join us for a bonfire as we dance under the stars. Dinner is BYOW (bring your own wine) for yourself, or to share with those around you. The fun begins at The Farmhouse at 172 Starbright Court in Wellington at 4PM with cocktails and appetizers. Dinner begins at 6PM. Bonfire with music at 9PM. Cost is $85 for adults and $25 for kids under 12.
September 27, 2014 – Harvestival Dinner at Grant Farms.
October 11, 2014 – Farm Dinner at Grant Farms. Details TBD.
October 18, 2014 – The Third Annual Bounty and Brews dinner to benefit The Growing Project. This year’s event features a gourmet meal prepared by seven local chefs in collaboration with seven local brewers. The event will be held at Jordan’s Floral.
Farmer in the Jax Kitchen
Every Wednesday in August Jax is inviting local farmers to cook a three farm fresh course dinner with their chefs. Cost is $35 per person ($25 for that farm’s CSA members). Call 970.682.2275 for reservations. August 13 – Revive Gardens, August 20 – Jodar and Lakeridge Farms, August 27 – Native Hill Farm.
Garden to Fork 2014
The Gardens offers a perfect excuse to explore new culinary adventures, have a date night, get together with your friends or meet new ones at our Garden to Fork Cooking Nights! Presented in partnership with , this Garden to Fork series will highlight the process of harvesting fresh produce grown in the Garden of Eatin’ at the Gardens on Spring Creek and transforming the ingredients into a healthy, delicious culinary dish. For more info Dates: Every Thursday, July 31-Sept. 18, 6-8 p.m., $25.
If you’ve always wanted to enjoy a farm to table dinner, I say go for it. It’s a great experience and supports a lot of local folks in the process. And then there’s the food. I mean really, what else is there! Tell them Erica sent you!