Community Ag Alliance director to advocate for locally produced food on state advisory council

Michelle Meyer, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, was appointed to the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Board last week by Gov. Jared Polis.
Michelle Meyer/Courtesy

On a drought-focused tour of Northwest Colorado last summer, Gov. Jared Polis stopped at the Community Agriculture Alliance’s market on Oak Street, where he met the nonprofit’s Executive Director Michelle Meyer.

“I got the chance to meet the governor and talk with him about what we’re doing around local food,” Meyer said. “I think we made a bit of an impact in terms of advocating for thinking about the direct economic impact of local food for farmers and ranchers in Routt County.”

Last week, Polis appointed Meyer to a vacant position on the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council, a group that offers recommendations on a variety of food-related issues. This includes regulations around food production, the natural resource implications of food and even free lunch programs in schools.

The seat on the council expires in October, but Meyer said she hopes to serve longer, and the role won’t impede her work at the Community Agriculture Alliance.

Meyer said she is joining the board with an agenda, hoping to take lessons learned while establishing the local food program to influence regulations to be more flexible and make it easier for farmers and ranchers to sell their food directly to consumers.

“I would love to see some changes and just some broader support for a little more flexibility within out local food distribution system and the production side of things,” Meyer said.

Meyer said there is a lot of money coming from the federal government to support local food systems, and some of that money could go to support local producers.

“There’s ongoing supply chain issues worldwide and nationwide,” Meyer said. “The more we can do to strengthen local, that’s only going to help feed more people, and it’s also going to help our entire community.”

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