I was excited to attend the 2014 Front Range Bioneers Conference held at the University of Colorado Boulder campus, just a short bike ride from my home. Presentations from local businesses, farms, and community groups were supplemented with live performances and informative and inspiring videos of presenters recorded at the national Bioneers Conference, held earlier in the year in California. I felt like this event would offer me a chance to connect with others who are interested in implementing sustainable change in the Front Range community.
Though it was extremely difficult to choose which of the myriad workshops I would attend, I did, of course, end up at a few food-centered talks. At the Local Farms session, I got to hear a panel of four Boulder County farmers discuss the joys and hardships of trying to provide healthy food to their communities while sustaining a small business and dealing with the fickle Colorado weather and governmental bureaucracy. The unfortunate bottom line: don’t expect to quit your day job immediately (or ever…) if you choose to start a farm.
Many local food and farm centered organizations sent representatives to talk about their activities.
Denver’s non-profit GrowHaus is working on providing economic and educational opportunities for low income residents in their neighborhood. They are working on the cutting edge of modern farming with productive and efficient hydroponic and aquaponic systems in their indoor greenhouse growing spaces.
Longmont-based Garage Grocer runs a neighborhood food co-op, operating on the honor system. Is provides its members with locally grown produce, grass fed beef and dairy products, and other responsibly sourced non-local goods like maple syrup and olive oil.
UrbiCulture Community Farms is practicing a new style of urban farming, using multiple small plots of land to compile a large farm’s worth of produce from within the limits of Denver’s metro area. This both beautifies previously unused urban land and reduces transportation needs inherent in the current food system.
I ended the weekend feeling inspired, grateful, and ready to engage with CC Grow’s mission of helping our community to eat healthily while reducing carbon footprints and reconnecting with our neighbors over a delicious plate of home-grown plant-based food.