Community Agriculture Alliance: Relax, it’s all here in time for the holidays |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Relax, it’s all here in time for the holidays

Amber Pougiales
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
By shopping local this holiday season, you can support local producers and makers in addition to saving money on shipping costs.
Community Agriculture Alliance/Courtesy photo

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for many, and it has taught us a great deal about our pace of life, our priorities and the resilience of community.

In the first several months of the shutdown, we experienced shortages at our grocery stores — a place where abundance is taken for granted. The empty shelves had us looking for staple products elsewhere, resulting in an extraordinary increase in customers at the Community Agriculture Alliance’s local food market and a boost for local agricultural producers.

As the pandemic continued, our community rallied to order carryout, support nonprofits and tip more generously. If our collective actions are indicative of our values, it is apparent that we care deeply for our neighbors and are willing to do what it takes to protect our community.

As we continue to encounter disruptions, we must not forget what we have learned. You can close your computer and pass on expedited shipping, because Routt County businesses, makers and agricultural producers have an array of options for the table and under the tree this holiday season.

Gift an experience

Consider giving the gift of a northwest Colorado experience. Did you know, many local ranching families offer guided hunting and fishing trips? Why not try a horseback trail ride?

These experiences help diversify income streams for agricultural producers and provide an opportunity to recreate on private lands, many of which are conserved, which means they will never be developed and remain as the scenic working landscapes we all love and value.

Give and give back

For those on your list who have everything they need, there is a gift that is better than socks. Look up a local nonprofit organization and give a gift on behalf of your loved one.

The organization may even have a special holiday card they can send to notify the recipient. The Yampa Valley Community Foundation has a complete list of local organizations who could benefit from your support.

A gift of a charitable contribution supports the mission-driven organizations working hard to ensure the Yampa Valley remains a wonderful place to live, work and grow.

Support a local producer, maker

Local makers and agricultural producers have endured many ups and downs over the past two years. These individuals add to the fabric of our community and are ready to step up with local goods and services when the global supply chain fails.

Consider filling your fridge at the CAA Market with local meats, cheese and produce, buying locally made holiday cards, locally spun yarn and other unique gifts that have been hand-crafted in Routt County.

Not only are you directly supporting a local resident, but you’re saving on shipping costs and reducing the environmental impact. And bonus, you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items that will be cherished.

Shop small

We all know that shopping small supports the local economy and the businesses that add to the defining character of our community. Did you know that, this year, it can also reduce stress?

Avoid lines at stores and the post office. Pick up a gift card to your favorite restaurant or stop in a local retail establishment to find a perfect gift that is already here and just waiting to be wrapped.

I encourage everyone to slow down and think about the impact we have in our community. If you agree that our community is a special place, value the open spaces from working farms and ranches, and want to make a difference, you can.

Amber Pougiales is the assistant director of external relations for the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.

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