In honor of those who participated in the 2010 La Plata County Fair, here are some suggestions of things that you can do to support the local food economy.
b Plant a garden and grow as much of your own food as possible. Ever had a tomato, carrot or pea straight from the garden? If that doesn’t sell you on the idea, then nothing will.
b Shop weekly at your local farmers market (Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio and Evenings on Eighth) and farm stands (James Ranch, Rylee Mac’s and Native Roots, to name a few). When buying directly from the producer, more than 90 cents of every dollar you spend goes back to them, thus preserving farming as a livelihood.
b Support local restaurants and stores that carry local foods. Recently on Facebook, I got updates from two restaurants about their excitement in showcasing local foods. Most restaurants that use local goods like to advertise it, so read the menus.
b Support the groups that support local agriculture: CSU Extension, Healthy Lifestyle La Plata, the Garden Project, Growing Partners and Local First put on many events and workshops – Iron Horse Chef, Tour de Farms, Eat Local Week and Apple Days (formerly Homegrown Festival).
b Educate yourself about food preservation. Learn about and start drying, canning, freezing, jamming or otherwise preserving for winter. It will save you a bunch of money and make those dark days of winter oh, so tasty.
b Get dirty! Join or start your own school or community garden. Contact the Garden Project of Southwest Colorado or visit the SASCO website (www.sustainableswcolo rado.org) for a list of more than 20 school and community gardens in our area.
b Try to spend $10 a week on locally produced or manufactured products. This will create a significant impact on your local economy and for family farmers in your region. And no, you can’t spend the whole thing on beer.
email@example.com or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.