Colorado Proud Launches The Next Generation of Ag Community Tour

Part of a month-long commemoration of Colorado Proud’s 20th anniversary, savoring consumers’ “appetite” for locally-grown food, agricultural relationships and innovation

DENVER – COLORADO DAY, August 1, 2019 – Today, Colorado Proud, a program of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, kicked off its month-long, statewide community tour through Colorado communities, as part of its 20th anniversary commemoration and The Next Generation of Ag campaign. The goal is to connect with Colorado residents and share conversations around agriculture, including innovation and technology and relationships with consumers, farmers, ranchers and retailers.

The tour launched from History Colorado Center this morning, where state partners and consumers came together to celebrate Colorado Day and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg talked about the importance of agriculture to Colorado’s history and heritage. The lively gathering was a joint celebration for Colorado’s 143rd birthday, Colorado Proud’s 20th anniversary and the beginning of the statewide tour. Governor Jared Polis has issued aProclamation declaring August as Colorado Proud Month.

The Next Generation of Ag tour, scheduled Aug. 1-31, integrates agricultural communities and educates consumers about the “the next generation” of agriculture. The tour, with a total of 13 stops, moves from Denver to Broomfield, Craig, Steamboat Springs, Fort Collins, Woodland Park, Durango, Grand Junction, Dillon, Boulder and Pueblo — visiting farmers’ markets, county and state fairs, and community events with educational information for residents, as well as Colorado Proud 20th anniversary memorabilia. For a statewide calendar of Colorado Proud events in August, please click here.

“This month’s tour is especially exciting during our 20th anniversary year, capturing the dynamic combination of history and heritage in our state’s ag communities. And, The Next Generation of Ag theme puts on umbrella over every aspect of agriculture that’s growing and changing – and that is impacting our state with fresh ideas and, of course, with fresh food,” said Wendy White, marketing specialist for Colorado Proud who has been involved for almost the entirety of the program.

Colorado Proud’s 20th Anniversary

During its 20-year history, Colorado Proud has guided farmers, ranchers, retailers, chefs, schools and consumers through a local food movement with roots in Colorado and with an attitude that was “ahead of its time” in the late 1990s. In 1999, the program started with 65 companies; and now, the Colorado Proud program has more than 2,700 members that include farmers, ranchers, food manufacturers, restaurants, retailers and schools statewide.

Looking back, the program was developed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) well before local food was a familiar phrase, with a goal “to build relationships between farmers, ranchers, food producers, retailers and consumers,” according to White. “We wanted to give producers and businesses the right tools for sustaining those relationships, while helping them succeed and while educating consumers about the evolving, local food movement. We planted ‘seeds’ for this program in 1999, during a pivotal time in our industry, and we’ll continue to nourish this local interest with more initiatives, education and opportunities.”

The 20-year anniversary is aligned with the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s three primary goals: Supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers; rapidly scaling up investment in high-value agriculture/diversify market opportunities; and promoting and incentivizing soil, water and climate stewardship.

“As we celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary, we are not only supporting the current generation of ag producers and ag businesses, but also building a foundation for future generations of farmers and ranchers,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “Meanwhile, Colorado Proud also educates consumers about how essential agriculture is to our way of life, and how much we all depend on farmers and ranchers to care for the land and continue to grow healthy and delicious food for our communities. The Next Generation of Ag tour is a great way for everybody to experience that connection with agriculture. I invite consumers to visit one of these events to enjoy the tastes of the season and get to know the neighbors who grow our food.”

The Next Generation of Ag – New Logo

One of the goals of Colorado Proud is to make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase Colorado products by labeling them with the Colorado Proud logo.To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Colorado Proud, an updated logo and tagline were introduced in June 2019. Colorado Proud’s former, purple-and-gold sunrise logo has evolved into a more-relevant image that resembles the Colorado flag and colors, while keeping the mountain symbol – easily recognizable by consumers and promotable in stickers, branding and signage. Well-timed with Colorado Proud Month, consumers can find the new logo on local produce, signage and packaging in grocery stores, at farmers’ markets, restaurants and other retail locations.

The Next Generation of Ag – School Meal Day and Industry Agriculture Symposium

In addition to its rebranding and the statewide The Next Generation of Ag community tour that launched today, Colorado Proud will host its annual School Meal Dayon Sept. 18, 2019, for the next generation of consumers – literally. The statewide, all-day event has already been proclaimed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis — where more than 130,000 students​ in Colorado will ​learn about agriculture in classrooms; eat local meals; and talk about healthy eating, innovation, farmers and ranchers, and their early roles in the local food movement.

In addition, an agriculture symposium for farmers, ranchers, retailers and industry leaders is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2019. This educational collaborative is available for industry participants only (not open to the public) and will include a panel of ag experts and open dialogue for discussing complex agriculture issues, trends and solutions. With an umbrella theme of The Next Generation of Ag, each component will focus on relationships, methods and innovation that continue to evolve – including consumers (from youth to adults); farmers and ranchers (from beginning to centennial); food culture; technology; environmental stewardship; diversified markets; and future trends. Additional information on panelists, topics and outcomes will be available in September.

Agriculture Advances Colorado

Colorado agriculture consistently ranks as one of the state’s leading industries, advancing the state’s economy and preserving natural land. In fact, with more than 38,000 farms encompassing nearly 32 million acres, agriculture is a vital part of Colorado – providing more than 170,000 jobs, contributing more than $40 billion to the state’s economy annually, and exporting nearly $2 billion in products. Colorado ranks in the top 10 nationally for production of a variety of agricultural products.

“Agriculture and local buying will continue to improve Colorado business and lifestyle, making our state even better and playing an important role in our culture.  It’s also putting us back in touch with our communities. We are grateful for the social influence of what we used to call a ‘trend,’ but that we now see is an important part of Colorado’s culture and economy – a mainstay,” added White.

To learn more about the Colorado Proud Program visit www.coloradoproud.org

The mission of the Department of Agriculture is to strengthen and advance Colorado agriculture; promote a safe, high quality, and sustainable food supply; and protect consumers, the environment, and natural resources.  The vision of the Department of Agriculture is that Colorado agriculture be strong and vibrant, a key driver of the state’s economy, and recognized worldwide for its safe, affordable, and abundant supply of high quality food and agricultural products. If you would like to learn more about the Colorado Department of Agriculture stop by their offices @ 305 Interlocken Parkway in Broomfield, CO, give them a call @ 303-869-9000 or visit the CDA online @ www.colorado.gov/ag

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.