A Historical, Interactive Experience and Connection to Local Farmers and Agriculture
Released by Tera Haselden Keatts, philosophycommunication.com
Colorado Proud’s Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey will connect Coloradans with the farmers and ranchers who help our state thrive, teach consumers how and where their food is grown, and create an appreciation for the entire farm-to-fork journey.
In response to consumers’ craving for greater agricultural understanding, today, on Colorado’s 140th birthday, Colorado Proud members, government officials, agricultural experts and the community gathered in front of the History Colorado Center, to launch the Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey — a month-long, historical and interactive trek through Colorado’s agricultural landscape. Speakers included Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown; executive director of History Colorado Center, Steve Turner; Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association representative, Adrian Card; Safeway Denver division president, Todd Broderick; Centennial Farmer Jamie Yantorno from Center Greenhouse; Petrocco Farms owner, Kate Petrocco; Proctor Farms owner, Brooke Proctor; and other farmers and growers.
The Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey, scheduled from August 1-31, 2016, integrates agricultural communities, celebrates farmers and ranchers, and educates and influences consumers about the lifecycle of locally grown produce. Celebrating history, heritage, education and support for the local food movement, the Journey moves from Denver to Colorado Springs, Dillon, Durango, Fort Collins, Frisco, Grand Junction, Hotchkiss, Littleton, Yuma, and then back to Denver — visiting farms, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, festivals, schools, and other community events, with seeds (literally!) of information about Colorado-grown fruits and veggies.
Colorado Proud representatives will distribute seed packets at each Journey event. During the Journey culmination event at the end of August at the History Colorado Center, Colorado Proud will plant seeds in a community garden to sustain the Journey, reminding visitors to always follow your fruits and veggies.
“Consumers want to make informed decisions about what they eat and about what impact those choices have on our communities and the state’s economy. The best way to gain knowledge is through an understanding of the journey our fruits and vegetables make from Colorado farms, fields and greenhouses to our tables,” said Wendy White, Colorado Proud spokesperson. “Seeds represent growth and connection to Colorado’s agricultural community, providing an inclusive, accessible way to grow the positive impact of local buying on Colorado’s economy, environment, healthy lifestyle and western heritage.”
Agriculture Fuels Colorado
Colorado agriculture consistently ranks as one of the state’s top three leading industries, advancing the state’s economy and preserving the environment. In fact, with more than 36,000 farms encompassing nearly 32 million acres, agriculture is a vital part of Colorado — providing more than 173,000 jobs, contributing more than $40 billion to the state’s economy annually, and feeding the world with nearly $2 billion in exported products. Colorado ranks in the top 10 nationally for production of a variety of agricultural products.
“Colorado farmers play a proud role in feeding and nourishing the people of our state and we honor them as we launch the Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey. This project offers insight into our agricultural industry and educates consumers on the dedicated work performed by our farmers. I invite you to visit one of these events to learn more about locally grown produce and the people who grow it,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown.
About the Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey
The Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey will travel the agricultural landscape that makes up nearly half of Colorado’s 66 million acres. With seeds as the symbol, Colorado Proud is launching a series of educational and fun opportunities to reach consumers and celebrate local farmers, including:
- A series of GoPro videos showcasing a “day in the life” of a farmer growing fruits and veggies, illustrating the farming and growing process;
- A Colorado Proud booth at community events/festivals/markets around the state featuring costumed “fruits and veggies,” educational information and produce facts, recipe cards with locally-grown ingredients, representatives of Colorado Proud, produce samples, seed packets and opportunities to interact with consumers;
- Back-to-school open houses at Denver and Douglas County elementary schools, connecting with parents and kids and sharing educational information on “following fruits and veggies”;
- A culmination event at the History Colorado Center celebrating the Journey and planting seeds as a community; and
- A Colorado Proud Commemorative Lunch at the History Colorado Center prepared by award-winning chefs Chef Jason Morse and Chef Samir Mohammad using locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Consumers everywhere can follow the Journey, learn more about local produce and growers, and share experiences on the Colorado Proud Facebook page. A complete schedule can be found at www.coloradoproud.org.
The Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey is supported by the US Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Proud, Safeway, History Colorado Center, statewide farmers’ markets, and other community organizations.
The Colorado Proud Program was created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture in 1999, to promote food and agricultural products that are grown, raised or processed in Colorado. One of the goals of Colorado Proud is to make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase Colorado products by labeling them with the Colorado Proud logo. In 1999, Colorado Proud started with 65 companies and now the program has more than 2,200 members, including growers, processors, restaurants, retailers and associations statewide. Colorado Proud Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey events are funded in part by a grant from the Colorado Department of Agriculture through the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.