I am a locavore.

I didn’t even know that word five years ago, and in fact, it wasn’t officially a word until 2007. But there is a movement afoot in homes and communities everywhere to know where our food is coming from, and to build healthier food systems that nurture people and care for our planet.

In 2007, I started the Mile High Business Alliance, a network of locally owned businesses working together to build a better community. We believe that locally owned businesses are vital for creating stable economies and the sort of communities that people actually like to live in. And my love of all things local is certainly connected to that which is most vital for our survival and health: Food.

Having grown up in Southwest Kansas, I’ve experienced big agriculture, factory farming, and all things associated with it. My grandfather is a farmer – but not of fruits and vegetables. He owns hundreds of acres of soybeans, corn, wheat and other grains that mostly feed cows, pigs and become processed food products like high-fructose corn syrup. Although I grew up in an agricultural center, I didn’t grow up learning how to grow, prepare or preserve healthy food.

I did, however, grow up in a community of people that come together to share food. This culture of community food is deeply ingrained in my family, my tribe, and my DNA. I planted my first vegetable garden (with corn, pumpkins and carrots) when I was twelve years old. The house was demolished before I could reap any of the rewards, but I didn’t stop planting.

In 2004, I started transforming a huge lawn into a suburban garden. Our soil was heavy and climate semi-arid, but with the help of my housemates, we planted over grass and built beds of perennial herbs, fruits and vegetables. We installed drip irrigation lines, built an awesome compost heap, and welcomed a colony of bees.

I moved out of that house in 2010, but I learned a lot: zucchini plants are brilliant at creating abundance, and raccoons will inevitably pull down ears of corn just as they’re ripening. Compost is a magical feat of invisible critters, and a garden is always a success (even when hailstorms destroy it all). Turning your front lawn into a mini-farm makes neighbors very curious. Life thrives when it’s nurtured, and we have the privilege of participating in it.

In 2006, I joined a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program through a local organic farm. The next year, I became a host for CSA members who pick up their share of fruits, veggies, eggs, flowers and meat each week.

In 2009, a group of people started Grow Local Colorado, a project to establish 2,009 new food gardens in Colorado in a year. I built the web site where people can share garden resources and local food events and even offer space in their home or business for other people to garden. The Mayor helped us get a food garden at Civic Center Park. I want to launch a food business incubator to support the development of more food related businesses and strengthen even more connections between food, farms and community.

This blog serves a couple of purposes: the first was to share ideas for dealing with CSA shares on a weekly basis (because you can only eat so much steamed kale.) It’s named after the distinct experience of being so much closer to your food and where it comes from. And while my passion for food includes eating it, what I most want to share is about this growing local food movement, and how to grow a more local, healthy and sustainable food system.

I don’t know exactly how to get from where we’ve been to where we could be. But I do know this: Every seed planted is an investment in life itself. Our choices do matter, even if we can’t see the result. We all have a role to play in nurturing a food system that provides for our well-being (while being delicious!) while leaving a healthy inheritance for our children’s children’s children.

So thanks for visiting. Love your food, and enjoy your life!

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