Hive Paonia: Economy Food Distribution Dialogue

By January 26, 2015EVENTS
Written by Elaine Brett, Hive Host
 
In December there was an amazing turnout at The Hive for the community conversation Toward a Thriving Economy.   The In order to keep the momentum going, members of the Hive in Paonia have scheduled a series of“Hive Economy Talks” to address important issues that are relevant to our local economy.   The Hive Economy Food Distribution Dialogue  took place on January 7th and the place was buzzing again.
An impressive group of more than 50 attended, filling the Hive’s Colony Meeting Room.  Participants included consumers and many food producers, specialty crop farmers, orchardists and ranchers.  County Commissioner Mark Roeber and County Administrator Robbie LeValley were in attendance along with Jay Stooksberry of Region 10 and Harrison Topp with the Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union.

(Enormous thanks to Volunteer Videographer Pat Frank for filming the dialogue.)
The dialogue focused on what is already here in the North Fork Valley and what the needs are for local food distribution.  Facilitator Elaine Brett shared some of the resources pointing out the existing local markets  and the availability of local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).   Local Farms First, a nonprofit distributor of NFV farm products was singled out as a potential player for not only distributing products to Gunnison County, but within Delta County as well.  Meat processors  Homestead Ranches in Delta and Hotchkiss Meats were also named as resources.  A shortage of slaughter  facilities (especially for poultry) was noted as an important issue.
Michelle Amiott of the Valley Food Partnership  talked about several funded programs in Montrose County including a feasibility study for a food hub,Farmacy Rx which links healthcare and healthy food, and on-line ordering for the Montrose Farmers’ Market.  Montrose is also a LiveWell Colorado participant and has received significant support for food initiatives.
Overall there was agreement that the NVF needs (1) consumer education about food choices and sources (2) a central “hub” for local and regional sales and distribution and (3) a distribution “entrepreneur” to take on the transport and delivery of North Fork products.  Several small groups met after the meeting to begin finding solutions to accomplish these things. It was very inspiring and encouraging!
The next gathering will be The Hive Economy Dialogue: Strengthening Our Local Schools on Wednesday, March 4th at 6PM.   Areas of interest include how schools and alternatives for education effect the local economy and what can be done to enhance the synergy between local schools and local businesses.

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