PAONIA, Colo. — It is the oldest wisdom that there is a time for every season, and cultures around the world have measured the movement between them with both precision and reverence. We know from archeological sites scattered across the continents that people have always studied and celebrated the progression of the seasons.
It is also seen, of course, in our calendar today – often marked with holidays. Many know that February 2nd is Groundhog’s Day. In some faith traditions it is called Candlemas, or even St. Brigid’s Day (Feb. 1). And on the older Celtic calendar it is Imbolc. It is the time to get ready for spring, and that is exactly what we are up to at the Colorado Farm & Food Alliance.
The beginning of February marks the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. As a “cross-quarter” day it represents a shifting energy, returning light, glimmers of new life, livestock getting close to calving, farmers ordering seed. As February rolls around, although it is still cold and frozen over much of the northern hemisphere, we start to see the earliest hints of what’s to be, and as the days grow longer our own thoughts turn to spring.
At the Colorado Farm and Food Alliance, that means we are getting ready to launch our new and returning programming and projects for 2021. First up is our Local Food Action Map, a new project and a centerpiece of our Secure Foodsheds program. We are starting with the Gunnison Basin and Lower Dolores region, including the counties of Gunnison, Delta, Montrose, Hinsdale, Ouray, San Miguel, and Dolores.
This public tool, developed using Google Maps, works to show four types of local food operations, businesses and organizations that are part of the regional “foodshed.”
Local Food Action maps will include local food markets (and certain on-farm sales); local drink producers such as breweries/tasting rooms, wineries and cideries, and distilleries; restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops that have a commitment to serving local products or using local ingredients; and, organizations working on food access and supporting the local agriculture and food economies.
In the next few weeks we will be introducing maps of other regions around western Colorado. We invite businesses and organizations to leave information and we will consider adding it as we develop and update our maps. The form where you can do that has some more specific information of what we are including, and you can view our current map for the Gunnison Basin and Lower Dolores here.
As we move out of winter and toward spring, welcoming new additions to the menagerie, getting fields ready, we may not be thinking of St. Brigid or her earlier pagan counterpart. And we may not care if a rodent in Pennsylvania sees its shadow. But most of us welcome the longer days and find some joy in seeing that first crocus push through the snow, and we know that the season for growth and renewal is right around the corner.
At the Colorado Farm & Food Alliance we look forward to a fruitful and prosperous 2021, and to serving our part in supporting local food markets, growing just and sustainable food systems, and promoting climate and conservation advocacy.
Colorado Farm and Food Alliance
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