Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: Seasonal eating with local food
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
We, as consumers, have a responsibility to support local agriculture to ensure resilience in the future of our food system in the Yampa Valley. Our culinary purchases have a large economic impact on our local agricultural producers.
If we want to keep our food supply diverse, we need to think about how we can support our producers 12 months out of the year. Grocery shopping for many of us is centered around convenience. So how can we shift this mindset to better support local producers?
An easy way is to plan your recipes around what is growing seasonally. If we flip our thinking and begin to center our meals around what is currently available from local producers, then our recipes are transformed by seasonal abundance. By being flexible and adaptable with our meal-planning, we are supporting the growth of fresh, local food systems.
Integrating local products into our meals promotes the continuity of an economically vital agriculture system in our community. We should embrace variety and supplement our diets in ways that support our local farmers and ranchers.
As the seasons come and go, think about what local food you can incorporate into your meals. This integration will foster the development of mutually beneficial relationships among our local producers and consumers. Despite our short growing season, we are fortunate to have copious amounts of local produce, meat, dairy, eggs, herbs and more year-round.
Without our hard-working and spirited agricultural producers, this would not be possible. Though consumer convenience will always be a factor, we can consciously make choices that promote these reciprocal relationships regarding local food. By tapping into our resources, we can address these modern challenges with prosperous solutions. When our food purchases are informed and committed, then we are contributing to a prosperous future for both producers and consumers alike.
We can all have an active role in implementing positive change in our community, and it begins with simple decisions regarding our seasonal food intake.
One easy way to access local food is through the Community Agriculture Alliance Market, a year-round, online farmers market at caamarket.org.
To maintain the integrity of our local agriculture system, we need to embrace mindsets that support our producers. And if we want to ensure the future of local food varieties, we need to think about how we can consistently support our producers throughout the year. So, next time you are planning a meal, ask yourself, does this decision encourage the future of a resilient food system here in the Yampa Valley?
Clara Lundeen is a student at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs and intern with Community Agriculture Alliance.
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