|Ranchers, farmers celebrate Colorado Agriculture Day|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
The Colorado Agriculture Council partnered with the American Culinary Federation Colorado Chefs Association to celebrate Colorado Agriculture Day Tuesday, March 19.
As a part of National Agriculture Day, the event was designed to highlight agriculture’s value to Colorado’s economy, emphasize the importance of buying local and share the bounty that agriculture creates with those in need.
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar, Colorado Senator Gail Schwartz and Colorado Representatives Randy Fischer and Jerry Sonnenberg joined the celebration with local chefs, farmers, ranchers and legislators at the Colorado State Capitol to recognize the importance of agriculture.
The celebration marked the second annual Colorado Farm to Fork Culinary Competition. By “Defining Colorado Cuisine,” Colorado chefs unveiled and spotlighted the incredible use of locally produced fare. In groups of three, Colorado chefs, farmers/ranchers and legislators presented “local” meals that were judged by an esteemed, celebrity panel of experts and media personalities.
Thanks to the ACFCCA, the dishes, featuring locally grown and raised products, were served to the guests including legislators, legislative staff and volunteers.
“The ACF Colorado Chefs Association is excited and honored to partner with the Colorado agriculture community again this year,” said ACFCCA executive director Joan Brewster.
“Colorado is home to some of the most talented chefs in the nation. Our chefs are passionate about food and feel extremely fortunate to live in a state where they can use fresh, local products in their recipes. Colorado chefs understand firsthand that partnering with local growers and ranchers is good for their business, good for the Colorado economy and healthy for their patrons.”
Rep. Don Coram (R-Montrose) is pictured at left with Chef Greg Sever of Azura Lakewood during the National Agriculture Day lunch. Sever created an appetizer using Colorado chicken.
Many Americans are unaware of the fact that agriculture is America’s number one export. Farm and ranch families support more than 170,000 jobs, they supply new developments in technology and provide higher quality food at a lower cost to the consumer. Colorado Agriculture Day recognizes how agriculture provides almost everything people eat, use and wear.
“Right here in Colorado, local farmers and ranchers contribute greatly to our way of life by providing affordable, safe and abundant food and fiber while protecting our natural resources,” said Commissioner Salazar. “Colorado’s diverse agriculture and food industry is a large part of our great state’s economy, generating approximately $40 billion annually.”
In addition to educating Coloradans about the importance of agriculture and buying local, the Colorado Agriculture Council’s mission is to give back to the community.
“The Colorado Agriculture Council and their partners have come together this year to share the food that Colorado agriculture produces to make a difference in the lives of those in need,” said David Collie, event chair of the Colorado Agriculture Council. “In Colorado, 1 in 7 people struggle to put food on the table and nearly half of those affected are children.”
The council and other friends of agriculture presented an in-kind and financial donation of $78,500 to Food Bank of the Rockies. This donation will provide hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need.
“We are extremely grateful to the Colorado Agriculture Council for their generous contribution and their continued support over the years,” said Kevin Seggelke, Food Bank of the Rockies president and CEO.
“Wonderful donations like this allow us to distribute much needed food to clients through more than 1,100 hunger-relief partners and our direct service programs in Metro Denver, Northern Colorado and Wyoming. Today’s gifts of food and funds will make a huge difference to our neighbors struggling to put food on the table.”
Holyoke Enterprise March 28, 2013