COLORADO FOOD PRODUCERS WANT BALANCE IN OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT

farm and foodAUSTIN, CO, July 31, 2014– A GROUP OF Colorado farmers, ranchers, brewers and restaurant-owners have joined forces to share a simple and important message: If you care about good quality food and drink then you need to pay attention to oil and gas drilling and fracking in Colorado.

The Colorado Farm and Food Alliance for Resource Balance is a network of Colorado family farms, winemakers, brewers, food producers, chefs and restaurateurs, working together to ensure a balanced approach to energy development that protects our farms, foods, and drink.  The Alliancelaunched its summer/fall outreach today to help educate Coloradans about the connection between healthy food, the economy that provides it, and sensible provisions when it comes to planning for, and developing, oil and gas resources.

“My customers demand the best ingredients, and they expect food that is well-sourced and healthy,” said Front Range Restaurant owner.  “My restaurant staff relies on the knowledge that food comes from a place where industrial contamination is not a risk.  My business depends on healthy lands and clean water—our land needs to be managed for all values, not just the oil and gas that might be extracted.”

The need for clean water and healthy land is vital to Colorado.  Its farms and agricultural heritage, home-grown food, award-winning wines, and famous craft beer industry, all rely on plentiful clean water, and on the products that come from healthy land.  Agritourism is a growing industry in Colorado that relies on maintaining the character of the state’s rural communities.  Although the economic impacts are not easily quantifiable, according to the Colorado State Department of Agriculture by 2006 agritourism already brought in over $2 billion annually to Colorado.  Since then its contribution to Colorado jobs and income has only grown.

“Our businesses are hugely dependent on our wonderful views,” said   West Elk Winery Association and owner of   outside of Paonia.  “We need to plan in a way that protects the places of value, and make sensible choices about where and how drilling activity occurs.  We need to strike a smart balance.”

Rather than recruiting members, the Alliance is building a network around the state, coming together around a simple statement “What We Support.”  The Colorado Farm & Food Alliance “What We Support” statement reads:

Healthy lands and clean water protect Colorado’s farms, food and drink.

Colorado’s homegrown food, award-winning wines and craft beers depend on healthy land and a reliable supply of clean water. Our pure water is a key ingredient in Colorado’s famous beers and wine.

We must be smart about the needs of Colorado communities and our entire landscape by finding places to drill that do not harm our farms and ranchland or our water. These lands and resources are incredibly important to the Colorado economy.

Protecting our land and water depends on a responsible approach to energy development.  Some places are too important to frack and drill for oil and gas. Where we do develop, we have to get it right.

When energy development is balanced with protection of our healthy land and water: Our farms, food production, world-class dining, and local wine and craft beer will also thrive.

The Colorado Farm & Food Alliance members will gather support and educate Coloradans on the connection between a robust farm and food economy and sound and sensible energy policy.  The Alliance will share information, including the up-to-date list of statement supporters, on its website, though social and traditional media, and through community outreach at farmers’ markets and summer events around the state.

As members makes their way around the state, the public is invited to add their names to the statement and to pose in the traveling ‘Photo Action’ cut-out to help build a visual display of support.  The summer markets, pubs and garden bounty is a good reminder that healthy land and clean water protects Colorado farms, food and drink.

“Colorado craft beer is world-famous and it brings people from around the world to sample the best,” said some brewery co-owner. “Anything that threatens my water source threatens my business. We need to be smart about where and how we drill, so we don’t foul or deplete our water supplies.”  

The Colorado Farm and Food Alliancegrew from the efforts of agricultural operators, ranchers, food producers, and community members around oil and gas development in Colorado’s North Fork Valley.  The Alliance welcomes endorsement of the “What We Support” statement from organizations, individuals and businesses online at www.ColoradoFarmFood.org/endorse/