Colorado Proud touts state-made ag at Dillon Farmers Market | SummitDaily.com

Colorado Proud touts state-made ag at Dillon Farmers Market

Many consumers are familiar with Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford cantaloupes and Olathe sweet corn, but representatives of the Colorado Proud program aren't so sure those same people are nearly as well informed about the state's beef, pork and lamb products, or its dairy and wheat.

The distance between consumers and Colorado agriculture is something representatives of the Colorado Proud program, sponsored by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, say they hope to change.

"I think there's a bit of a disconnect that people don't have a connection with the farmer or ranch anymore," said Wendy White, marketing specialist for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, as she explained that with fewer than 2 percent of the U.S. population growing and raising food for the rest of the country, "that's part of why we're trying to tell the stories of the farmers and ranchers … to educate (consumers) about where their food actually comes from."

In a continued push to promote local agriculture, representatives of Colorado Proud have been targeting farmers markets across the state, and they set up Friday at the Dillon Farmers Market, the largest farmers market in Summit County.

According to a 2016 survey, almost nine out of every 10 Colorado consumers said they would buy Colorado-made food over out-of-state products, if only it were labeled that way.

Additionally, 90 percent of survey respondents said they believe that farms, ranches and agriculture play an important role in the quality of life here, and 85 percent of Coloradans reported buying products made in state at least some of the time.

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To help bridge the gap between consumers who want to support Colorado-based agriculture and the farmers and ranchers who grow and raise these products, Colorado Proud has put numerous resources on its website, ColoradoProud.org, including a roundup of Colorado Proud products, a list of the more than 100 farmers markets across the state and a crop calendar so that people may know what to expect and when to expect it, along with numerous state-inspired recipes.

White said all of this is designed to help better educate consumers, and she added, there are few better places to get the word out about the Colorado Proud program than at farmers markets.

"It's been really great," White said of Friday's response to the Colorado Proud push in Dillon. "I think people really love to see what we grow and produce here in agriculture."

At the Colorado Proud booth, a giant map of the state showcased many of its different agricultural products by the regions they come from, and it was something people could interact with as they learned more about one of the state's top-three industries, which includes more than 34,000 farms and ranches and is credited with employing an estimated 173,000 people across Colorado.

To help grow this knowledge, Colorado Proud also gave some Colorado farmers GoPro video cameras to document their daily lives. The videos they've produced, about a dozen altogether, are being posted one per week on the Colorado Proud Facebook page now through September.

"We're really encouraging consumers to buy local wherever they are shopping and dining," said White, whether it be at farmers markets, local grocery stores or even in school-lunch programs.

The Dillon Farmers Market continues from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday through Sept. 15, on Buffalo Street by Town Park, in the La Riva Del Lago parking lot and on Main Street.

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