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When grasshoppers and drought laid waste to many specialty crops in the Mancos area of Southwest Colorado in 2021, one crop managed to pull through, providing some local farmers with hope, fresh ideas, and a cooperative pivot.
At a meeting to discuss improving their economic and mental health, four neighbor farmers quickly agreed that garlic was faring better than most crops under water stress and insect pressure and the market for specialty varieties looked promising. Mike Nolan and Mindy Perkovich of Mountain Roots Produce, Dave Banga of Banga’s Farm, Duke Jackson of Sol Vista Farm and Max Kirks and Megan Davey of Outlier Farm had a mere 5-6 weeks of irrigation water to work with in 2021, yet all harvested premium garlic bulbs that year.
Imagine having the ability to walk into a neighborhood store on a daily basis and purchase local, regeneratively grown products direct from producers across our region. Then imagine knowing these profits went back to farms, ranches, and small business owners to continue building vibrant agricultural communities and a healthy food system for all community members and our environment.
What would our food systems look like if we sourced directly from farmers? Check out our three-video series in collaboration with Nourish Colorado and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs on the institutional procurement of local foods as a vehicle for supporting Colorado’s local farms, and providing access to fresh, healthy food to a wider swath of all of our communities.