ANTONITO — San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition held the first of several summit meetings being offered in San Luis Valley counties in the coming months in Antonito on Saturday, Nov. 12.
The purpose of the summits is to reach out to the agricultural sector, such as ranching, farming, and small businesses, to gather opinions and information on a variety of topics, like local food distribution, are there resources to assist farmers with finances, behavioral health, how to keep food local, and showcase local economies.
These were a few areas that were discussed at the summit. Residents from Moffat, La Jara, Capulin, Conejos, Manassa, Antonito, Las Mesitas, and Mogote came and provided input.
Ranchers, farmers, homesteaders, organic growers, and members of the community came together to discuss problems, thoughts, and solutions.
A main topic was using local food in schools and restaurants. The San Luis Valley is bountiful with agriculture but many people choose to get their food from big box stores. The hope is to change that and how is that done?
Questions? What's working? What's not working? What can be done in the future?
The community summits are one way to get answers to those questions and more. There are surveys for people who work in agriculture to determine how the stressors of that industry affect a person's physical and mental well-being.
People can also voice their thoughts and concerns by submitting photos, and by one-on-one conversations and dialogue.
San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition is partnering with organizations like CSU Extension and Anshutz Medical Campus. These summits hope to gather a lot of information about food, health, distribution, soil and water health. A final report should be ready in February that will be used to seek funding to implement some solutions.
People can go to www.SLVLOCALFOODS.ORG/CFAA, for information.
A team, led by Dr. Katherine James of University of Colorado is offering free water testing for well owners. The research team is also working with schools and organizations to support education about water conservation, careers in water and science. To participate in the water testing study, use the link https://bit.ly/3Ib101t.
Contact Anna Lee Vargas 719-580-4833 in Conejos County or Shirley Romero Otero at 970-640-8014 in Costilla County. The next summit will be in Saguache County on Nov. 19 in Center at the United Methodist Church from noon until 4 p.m.