Fort Collins Local Agriculture. Good For You, and Your Community
Food is important. We need it to survive, but we should not treat food as just a necessity to live. Food can be more than that. It can come in many quantities, qualities, and prices. But best of all, when done the right way, food can bring a sense of community. Locally grown and sold food can be positive for communities in many ways, and this especially holds true for the community surrounding Colorado State University. Whether I am on campus learning about the benefits of local agriculture, or having a meal sourced through local agriculture at a restaurant in Old Town, I see (and taste) the first-hand positive aspects of locally sourced food in my town.
Old Town, Fort Collins is home to many restaurants and stores where locally sourced food can be purchased. My favorite part of living just North of campus is the short 10 minute walk to incredible restaurants and stores where I can get locally sourced food. In addition, it makes me feel more connected to my town and offers a strong sense of community. When I leave the Fort Collins Food Co-Op off of Mountain Avenue in Old Town, I have peace of mind knowing the food I will be eating is not ridden with chemicals or preservatives. Knowing where my food comes from has always been a reassuring feeling. Who doesn’t like high quality food and to know where it comes from?
Pictured below is the Old Town, Historic District, where many restaurants and stores selling locally sourced food are just a few minutes walk away.
Also, locally grown food is often better for your health than imported preserved food. Locally sourced food is mostly organically produced and lacks toxins used by large food and agriculture corporations. This is important to me, and should be to you, as eating healthy products impacts overall health. Take a look at the photograph below and try telling me it is not at least a little disturbing.
Lastly, I would like to address the economics of locally sourced agriculture. Views on the costs and benefits of locally sourced food vary from person to person, with many indifferent on the topic. Not me. After being interested and researching the economic repercussions of local agriculture for several years now, I strongly believe shopping for food from your local farmer, grocery store, or restaurant is more sustainable and better for long-term community based economic growth. It is more sustainable to give your local farmer your money to put back into your local economy, rather than large agriculture corporations or massive farms dodging taxes and enjoying enormous profits. As far as local food economics in Fort Collins goes, the money spent at local places will more likely stay in the community and therefore make the Old Town and area surrounding campus even more beautiful.
Now, I do see the other side of the argument in which many people claim locally sourced food is too expensive to buy on a regular basis, especially for poor college students like myself. For example, I often shop at King Soopers or Costco because it is all I can afford at times and it is economically efficient for my budget. I know countless college students just like me who have no choice but to strategically shop for bulk and lower quality groceries at these larger stores and chain restaurants. Trust me, I have had Ramen Noodles and frozen vegetables for plenty of meals when the funds were low. I sympathize with those who claim locally sourced food can be pricey, because I often can not afford the higher quality food.
But, since I have seen and experienced the benefits of utilizing local agriculture systems, I do what I can to contribute to the cause and shop local when the option is feasible. Old Town, Fort Collins and the area surrounding campus offer many local agriculture opportunities to help connect with your community, contribute to your local economy, and eat higher quality food.
I am not saying you should stop shopping at large grocery stores or chain restaurants altogether, but I do recommend you take this piece into consideration. Please make an effort to shop local more often and support local food systems. I have been involved with and contributed to the local food system in Fort Collins. I have seen it grow, and I have seen the positive things it can do for your community. Give it a try.