– Preserving Agricultural Heritage

My home, the Arkansas River Valley in Central Colorado, is a pretty incredible place.

For one, it has the highest concentration of fourteeners in all of Colorado—twelve to be exact. Just imagine a valley flanked by towering, snow-capped peaks.

The Arkansas River, often considered to have the country’s best whitewater, rips from one end of the valley to the other. While rafting and kayaking are a big deal here, the river also provides opportunities for fishing, swimming, a hanging riverside with a bonfire and a beer.

And then there are the trails—miles upon miles for hiking, biking, and ATVing with more added every year.

To top it all off, our sunsets are breathtaking, our hot springs are gorgeous, and our weather is the best in the state. I’m not kidding. The Arkansas River Valley is a “banana belt,” with mild temperatures compared to the rest of Colorado’s mountain towns.

This means, we also have a longer growing season.

The Arkansas River Valley has a rich agricultural and ranching history. Unfortunately, we experienced a time when buying locally wasn’t too convenient, causing local farms and ranches to go under.

Foodshed Alliance, a local nonprofit organization, changed that. In 2007, it developed the Buena Vista and Salida Farmers Markets. These markets changed the local food economy by supporting new farms and ranches and putting locally produced food back in the hands of residents and visitors alike.

When I was offered the chance to write copy for Foodshed Alliance’s new website, I jumped at the opportunity. Over the course of two months, I learned how the Buena Vista and Salida Farmers Markets came to fruition, about the amazing people who made their shared vision possible, and how these markets support our growing economy, enhance our communities, and provide healthy foods unique to our region.

These markets have helped shape Buena Vista and Salida and will continue to influence what they are bound to become—strong communities offering exceptional outdoor and cultural experiences to visitors and those lucky enough to call them home.

Learn more about the Buena Vista and Salida Farmers Markets at

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