With all the buzz about genetically modified organisms (GMO) compromising the quality of the food we eat, there’s been a substantial growth in the amount of people switching to organic and local, sustainable foods, or even growing their own food all together.
“People are starting to become more educated and aware of what industrial farms are feeding them.” Said Tony Koski, master gardener for the Larimer County Farmers’ Market. “Buying from local farms, and home-growing your own food gives you the power to know where your food is coming from, and that it’s quality is safe to eat.”
The farms in Fort Collins are focusing their attention to growing produce organically and raising livestock the natural way ensuring quality foods for the community. With the growth of people choosing to eat organically, and buy locally, farms have grown substantially in the last five years.
“We started as a small scale, biodynamic farm in 2011, and now we have moved to a bigger farm where we jumped right in with the higher demand of people and businesses buying more local food.” Said Meghan Williams, from Spring Kite Farm.
With a farmers’ markets available four out seven days a week, it’s more readily available to the community. It’s also a way to bring the community together, with food sampling, live music and arts and crafts. It’s more than a market to go to for fresh food; it’s a community event promoting local culture.
Plenty of fresh food straight from the farm to you
Photo By: Jessica Bruner
Many of the local farms in Fort Collins welcome visitors to tour their farms where they gladly show you the process in which they cultivate their crops. For more information on touring farms, visit the Larimer County Farmers’ Market website.
“We love to have people interested in our produce. Our goal is to grow your dream garden, but with a selection you don’t see in an average home garden with familiar foods, and diverse foods.” Said Eli Hodapp, with Revive Gardens.
With the raise in awareness of GMOs and Monsanto, and what they do to the food we eat, the community has taken the initiative to make changes to the quality of the food we consume.
“We love delicious, nutrient dense food. We offer organically grown vegetables, grass fed lamb and beef, and non GMO fed pork and poultry.” Said Shawna, representative from Ole Dern Farm.
March Against Mansanto pushes even more awareness into the nation, and asks people to take action against it. States across America, as well as 50 countries worldwide are promoting the act of supporting local and homegrown food to create a more sustainable, healthy way of life. Millions of people protested.
Fort Collins farmers agree with the idea, and take action toward growing food without genetically modifying it first. The farms in Fort Collins are working more and more to become year-round suppliers, since a lot of the food we eat is seasonal. But with growing need for supply, many of the local farms are incorporating greenhouses into their systems.
“We farm all four seasons using innovative and sustainable growing practices. We really strive to provide the freshest, tastiest and healthiest produce possible all year.” Said Nick Koontz, owner of Native Hill Farm.
Along with the larger local farms, home-growers who grow more food than they can eat contribute to the farmers’ markets. The markets even feature information booths, where anyone can go to ask questions about growing their own personal supply of food.
“I grow the majority of the produce I eat. I know I’m not eating food that’s been modified to be shipped long distances for days.” Said Koski. “It’s more work, but if you can grow your own food, you don’t have to buy it from money-sucking industries. You pick it off the plant, and eat it.”
Audio Story Transcript:
(Locals playing folk music at Larimer County Farmers’ Market)
Fort Collins local: “I’ll take some radishes.”
Katie Slota (Native Hill Farm): “Pick whatever ones you like.”
Fort Collins local: “Um, I like the mix.”
Katie Slota: “Ok! $3.”
Tony Koski (Master Gardener for Larimer County Farmers’ Market): “This market started 30 years ago? More than that, 40 years. The reason for the market originally was master gardeners were growing stuff in their garden, more than they could eat. So it was a way for them to share the food with the community, maybe make a few extra dollars from their own garden. Then it blossomed from there as we got more local farmers. So now we don’t have master gardeners really sell there anymore, we got a few that grow flowers and stuff. But they’re larger, regular full time .
Jessica Whitehead (Me): “The Larimer County Farmers’ Market is more than just a place to buy local organically grown food, it’s a community event that brings culture and sustainability to the city of Fort Collins. Other than the markets, most of the farms sell their produce and livestock through CSA programs.
Meghan Williams (Spring Kite Farm): “It’s um, it’s Community Supported Agriculture; is what it stands for. People will buy a share of the farm for the produce up front, and then they get a weekly distribution. They come in once a week, and the farmers will distribute that week’s harvest among all the members. It’s a way to support local agriculture.
Me: “Most of the farms do tours and samplings, so you can see exactly where your food is coming from.”
Eli Hodapp (Revive Gardens): “Yea, we’re trying to go for the diversified, biodynamic farm. A lot of people want to come, since we’re an urban farm, you know a lot of people want to be engaged, and that’s what we offer.”
Shawna (Ole Dern Farm): “Oh yea, we’re always open to showing people around and talking about everything. We do a variety of vegetables; last count was 48. Then fruits, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, milk shares.”
Tony Koski: “You don’t have to grow food that will stay fresh during shipping. You just have to move it short distance.”
Me: “What are you growing right now?”
Tony Koski: “Everything.”
Tony Koski: “Everything.”