Homegrown foods get sustainable

John Scarffe, Gilpin County.  About nine Gilpin County residents discussed steps to help make the County sustainable and resilient during the third meeting on the subject, at the Gilpin County Library, at 6:30 p.m. on November 9, 2017. The group met for the first time on October 10 and had a potluck on October 30, 2017.

Arwen Ek, with Holistic Homestead, discusses her idea for providing home grown food to locals and ordering organic foods in bulk.

Organizer Dennis Duckett started the meeting with a video about the meaning of sustainability. It defined sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It relates to the ability of our human society to continue indefinitely. The human race is not currently sustainable due to four main concerns: the extraction of relatively large amounts of material from the earth’s crust; the accumulation of substances created by society, the inhibiting of nature’s ability to run its natural cycles and the creation of barriers to people meeting their basic needs worldwide.


Duckett said he would like Gilpin County to adopt the four principles of sustainability: The elimination of our contribution to the systematic accumulations of materials from the earth’s crust, eliminating our contribution to the accumulation of substances produced by society, stopping our contribution to the ongoing physical degradation of nature and correcting the conditions that systematically undermine people’s ability to meet their basic needs.


Duckett said that Broomfield became a county with home rule, and we could do that as well.


We have limited power to make these changes, due to the fact that the federal government has power over states and states and counties have power over their residents.


The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is an organization which has focused on the Rights of Nature movement and has also developed a course which we can offer here with enough participation, Duckett said. This course is called Democracy School.


Democracy School is a fast-paced and intensive study of the history of our governmental, judicial, social and economic system and how these systems have been deliberately developed to keep us from being able to defend our personal, community and environmental rights, Duckett said.


Group member Don Devereaux pointed out that we have a county that would dry up and blow away if we didn’t have gambling. Jobs are also an important part, and they are dependent upon development. Ben Beckner said: “Boulder overflows into Ned and that overflows into Gilpin. It’s going to take a concerted effort to fight that.”


Arwen Ek said that we are talking about sustainability because our economic model requires infinite growth, and we have already outgrown our ability to sustain capitalism.


Duckett said it’s important to look at what’s going to happen on the Front Range with a 1.9 percent growth rate. “They’re pushing the idea that they want to grow tourism, but to me, it’s an extractive industry. “


“We’re beyond our carrying capacity, and that’s why I’m passionate about Gilpin County,” Duckett said. “We need a paradigm shift. We think of the way society is right now and that’s not sustainable.”


Ek said they are starting an enterprise that will be extremely beneficial in terms of food. Her volunteer-run Holistic Homestead has a space at the top of Golden Gate Canyon, and next year they will open a market and health care co-op. Each community could have a food order and could purchase food in bulk. They could have a party to split up produce, which is how the Nederland Co-op was started.


They want to be Gilpin-centric, Ek said. “There are people growing in Gilpin. We could have a year-round farmer’s market in our space.”


Ek has been looking at several companies from which to purchase bulk food, in addition to what can be grown in Gilpin County. She has found one Colorado based produce company that is all organic.


Also, Azure Standard of Healthy and Abundant Living, from Oregon, carries and ships organic, sustainable products. Their model would require setting up a drop location and each neighborhood would get together and pay for their order. Holistic Homestead could be the drop location in our area, Ek said.


It would be comparable to Whole Foods or Alfalfa’s. Drop locations in north Boulder and Evergreen would also be convenient. They are trying to get local growers organized to have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).


The next meeting will be a potluck on December 17, 2017, at the home of Linza and Eric Douglas.