Campaign touts state’s produce

Joined by Heather Halpape, right, of Safeway, Wendy White with the Colorado Department of Agriculture holds a proclamation from Gov. John Hickenlooper declaring August 2013 “Colorado Proud Month” during a celebration at Safeway, 2901 Patterson Road, on Friday.

Aug. 1 marked the beginning of Colorado Proud month, and to celebrate, folks hit the road to promote the pro-agriculture program.

“Our goal is to educate consumers about Colorado agriculture, what products we have available, the bounty of items that we have available,” said Wendy White, marketing specialist and head of the Colorado Proud program for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture partnered with Safeway stores for the Choose Colorado Tour since Safeway has been a big supporter of the Colorado Proud program and Colorado agriculture, White said.

The tour kicked off in Denver Thursday, also marking Colorado’s 137th birthday, and the Colorado Proud crew traveled to Grand Junction and held an event Friday morning at the Safeway store at 2901 F Road.

Representatives from the Colorado Proud program and Safeway joined with local growers Harry Talbott of Talbott Farms and Megan Clark of C and R Farms to talk about the importance of buying Colorado products.

“It’s very much an integral part of our business to get the word out, and Colorado Proud helps us do that,” Talbott said.

The event organizers offered locally grown peaches from Talbott Farms and C and R Farms and also gave $500 away to the Mesa County 4-H Council to help fund the education of future agriculturalists.

“I think it’s a phenomenal program because it shows the public how much is really produced here,” Clark said.

Clark said C and R Farms has been a Colorado Proud member since the program’s inception.

Becoming a Colorado Proud member is simple for producers to do. Growers can access the registration online and there is no cost for them to join. The Department of Agriculture will help supply the logo for producers to put on their products.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture created the Colorado Proud program in 1999 to promote Colorado food and agriculture and to raise consumer awareness of the benefits of buying locally grown food. The program started with 65 companies and has now grown to more than 1,900 members statewide, White said.

“We really just want to connect people with their local foods and help them understand where their products are coming from,” White said.

They also want to spread public awareness about agriculture’s important role in Colorado’s economy.

“Agriculture is a very important industry in Colorado. It contributes $40 billion to the state’s economy annually and provides 170,000 jobs,” White said.

The Choose Colorado Tour will continue through the month of August. Today, the Colorado Proud group will make stops at Montrose and Durango’s farmers markets. Then they will visit Alamosa, Salida, Greeley, Vail, Glenwood Springs, Pueblo and La Junta over the next couple of weeks. The tour will conclude at the Colorado State Fair at the end of August.

You can follow the Colorado Proud blog online at, under “Other Community Blogs.”


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