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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Weekend Spotlight: Half Moon Arts

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Alicia Randall, 17, works on painting her piece entitled 'Dragon'

Bright colors, towering animal faces, and wood chips lined College Avenue this weekend, while as many as 4 artists worked away with Half Moon Arts. The local non-profit, run by Rose Moon, works with at-risk youth, ages 13-21, to create an environment both artistic and imaginative.

The program utilizes the process of making totem poles to inspire the participants. From a log of wood, they carve out a unique world, followed by a heaping amount of colorful paint. Creativity is highly encouraged, helping to promote self-esteem and healing. The work produced by these amazing young people sells through local events, allowing for feelings of accomplishment and success. The organization has been commissioned to make totem poles for many organizations in town as well, such as the Fort Collins Cat Rescue.

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Artist Opportunities in Fort Collins

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The Lincoln Center is one of Colorado’s largest and most diverse presenters of professional theatre, dance, music, visual arts and children’s programs. With its mission of  being a leader in cultural experience and being an essential value to the community, the center provides unique opportunities for creatives of all types to show off their artistic abilities.

Upcoming opportunities at the Lincoln Center:

 

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Great Plates & Great Tastes in Fort Collins

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Fort Collins is known for its wide variety in selections of restaurants and tasty places to eat around town, and the Downtown Business Association and member businesses have teamed up to bring “Great Plates” 2012 to Old Town for the fifth year in a row.

This tradition of eating will continue this year with 30 downtown restaurants that are set to offer incredible dining specials for a full two weeks! Restaurant quality, authenticity, and diversity can be found throughout this list of restaurants that are sure to make your stomachs – and your wallets – happy.

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The Flavor of Water

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Run down to the local store and you’ll find bubbly, bottled water in a variety of flavors, but the stuff running from your faucet is just, well, water flavored, right?

Dr. Pinar Omur-Ozbek takes a sniff. (Courtesy photo)

Not necessarily, according to Dr. Pinar Omur-Ozbek.

This week’s Science Cafe, presented by the CSU professor, promises to be a refreshing program explaining the science behind, in, and around your average glass of water here in Northern Colorado.

Dr. Omur-Ozbek is originally from Ankara, Turkey where she received her B.S. in environmental engineering. After working with a construction company there, and learning more about the infrastructure behind the distribution of water, she continued her studies and eventually her Ph.D., here in the states at Virginia Tech.

Through her research, Pilar became more intrigued with the growing environmental concerns of drinking water, and even our perception of it based on taste and smell. She went on to develop an international standard for flavor and odor analysis.

When a dual academic situation became available, the professor and her husband relocated to this area to teach at CSU two and a half years ago. They fell in love with the area, the sunshine, and undoubtedly the water.

I’m not much of a connoisseur of drinking water myself, but my refrigerator was stocked with bottled water when I lived in Southern California years ago. Although perfectly safe, the tap water in my town there was horrible. It was a pleasant surprise – and cheaper – to discover Northern Colorado’s supply to be refreshing and tasty straight from the faucet.

It’s probably something most of us take for granted, but Pinar explains – with enthusiasm and in terms easy to understand – the many factors going into that life sustaining fluid. Metals, algae, treatment or disinfection, age, and even the materials used in the pipes can all contribute to not just the quality, but the flavor of our drinking water.

The second half of her discussion will address the human perceptions of that glass of water. If it’s cloudy or green, we’re going to assume it tastes horrible, right? Also, a fun test by the good professor will demonstrate the differences between smell and taste.

Whether you take that tall drink of water with nary a thought, or you’re part of the growing faction interested in the ecologic and environmental impact on our drinking supply, Dr. Omur-Ozbek’s presentation is sure to quench your thirst.

Cheers!

The free Science Cafe starts at 5:30, Wednesday, June 8, at Avogodro’s Number in Ft. Collins, where you can test the flavors of their food and drinks as well.

What about you? Do you also love our Rocky Mountain tap water or swear by bottled and filtered only? And why doesn’t it taste more like Chardonnay? Eight glasses a day would be more fun, right? Inquiring minds…

Written by Susan Richards

June 8th, 2011 at 6:20 am

What were you thinking? Leaning about teens through scientific research

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When I look back on when I was in high school, I always think of myself as having been one of the “good” kids. I got great grades, was involved in after school clubs, and never had more than a couple of detentions. Okay, maybe a few detentions… but if you ask any parent, sibling, teacher, or child care professional, we all know now that no one is perfect. Some scientists today are trying to figure out why this is. While you can find all kinds of information on raising infants and young children- on television shows, or in countless books and magazines- not much information exists about the development of adolescents. Dr. Marie Banich helps to shed some light in this subject at Beet Street’s Science Café tonight.

Dr. Banich will discuss the new evidence from neurological studies that maturation of the brain extends much longer through adolescence than scientists previously thought. This pattern of brain development helps to explain the types of decisions and actions taken by teens. Dr. Banich and her colleagues have collected their own data, and their studies provide a clearer picture of what types of thinking abilities adolescents do and don’t have, and the age at which these abilities truly start to reach adult levels. This work gives insights into why teenagers seem to “know” what to do, but yet sometimes don’t seem to follow through on that knowledge. After this talk, you might think of the plea to “apply yourself,” so often given to teenagers, in an entirely different way.

Marie Banich, Ph.D., is a professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she also serves as director of the Institute of Cognitive Science, a multi-disciplinary institute dedicated to exploring the science of the mind. She also holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado at Denver. Her research specializes in using brain imaging techniques to understand the neural systems that allow us to direct our attention and our actions so that we can prioritize, organize, and target our behavior in a goal-oriented manner. Her research helps in understanding individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and adolescents with severe substance and conduct problems, while at the same time helping to explain the development and mental maturation of adolescents. 

We can never know what exactly is going on in someone else’s head. However, we can try to be more understanding of another’s ability to think in certain ways. Dr. Banich’s presentation is likely to be an interesting discussion about how teens relate to the world around them, and how we ultimately relate to each other.

Beet Street’s Science Café  joins the international community of scientists and interested citizens who meet monthly for informal discussions of lively and interesting issues in contemporary science.  We will be meeting at Dempsey’s on 160 W. Oak St. tonight, October 14 at 5:30pm for no-host drinks and food. Dr. Banich’s presentation will begin at 6:00pm. We hope to see you there!

‘Hot Mulled Cider’ by Beth MacKenzie

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A few weeks ago the folks here asked me to write a guest post on what “harvest” means to me. “Harvest” and the Fall season have taken on very different meanings for me each time I’ve moved to a different place.

I went to college in New England, where people looked forward to the leaves turning colors almost as much as the forthcoming holiday season. On the evening news, the weather report would include information about peak “leaf-peeping” times for towns all along the Eastern Seaboard. I spent weekends taking walks through the changing foliage, picking apples in orchards and drinking hot mulled cider during the cold evenings.

After college, I lived in DC, where fall is also anticipated, but mostly as a relief from the oppressively hot summer. After a few months of darting from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building and trying to keep my clothes from sticking to me, I finally started to enjoy being outside, when the cooler weather of September rolled around. I also managed to make a couple of wine tasting trips to the local vineyards.

I’ve only been living in Colorado for a year or so, so I’m still learning about fall here. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that the weather seems much less predictable then on the East Coast. Sometimes I think the daily temperature is determined via a roulette wheel.

There is one thing that I always think of when I think of “Harvest”, however, regardless of where I am, and that is apples, or more specifically, apple cider. When I was growing up, we knew it was fall when my mom would pick up apple cider from local farms. The robust flavor of apple cider just says ‘fall’. Even better than apple cider is hot mulled cider. Hot mulled cider is the drink my mom would make for the holidays and other special occasions. Not only did this drink satisfy a crowd, the aroma would infuse the entire house with its luscious scent. This is a recipe I know we will be repeating as the weather gets colder!

Hot Mulled Cider

First, you will need a crock pot. Fill it with apple cider – preferably unpasturized. Then, and this is important, add 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks and an orange cut into wide slices and studded with cloves(add the cloves before you cut the orange, it’s much easier that way). Turn the crock pot on high at first, and then reduce to Low to keep warm as guests help themselves. It’s not a scientific recipe, but it is definitely satisfying! Happy Harvest!

Beth MacKenzie is MackAttack on her healthy living food blog http://www.fatbustermack.com. She and her husband of (almost!) one year have recently moved to Colorado and are exploring the state through the restaurants and local grocery stores.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our Homegrown Fort Collins program, we have been featuring the Homegrown Blog over the last couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

The Meaning of Food by Christine Driscoll

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The Meaning of Food My life experience with food has been a roundabout passage, leading me full-circle through different phases. I was raised by parents who, aside from being wonderful cooks, firmly believed in the importance of feeding their children healthy meals made completely from scratch. Having grown up on an island, where healthy food was not prevalent, I realize my brother and I ate better than most, if not all, of our friends. Nevertheless, I did not appreciate it at the time and cooking was certainly not something I enjoyed.

I came to the States for college and with my newfound freedom, quickly took to a much different style of eating. Cafeteria food, frozen dinners, and chain restaurants took the thinking out of eating and became my way. Needless to say, I gained the freshman-fifteen in a matter of no time! During these years, I worked as a waitress in a Sysco-supplied restaurant and then a French bistro. I also surrounded myself with friends who were strictly meat and potatoes people. This period allowed me to enjoy a variety of new and different foods, although my awareness was not focused on what happened to each bite after I swallowed.

It is said our taste buds develop when we are young and eventually, we return to the foods we were fed as children. This certainly turned out to be true in my case. For me, all it took was a little self-exploration, combined with being conscious of the true needs of the human body (I am a CMT with a BA in Kinesiology). It became apparent to me that the foods I ate had had a direct influence on my sense of wellbeing. As I became more body-aware, I found it was not just organic or natural labeled foods that made the difference, but whole foods prepared in a way that preserved the integrity of each ingredient.

I am now continually told I am a picky eater, as people can’t understand why I politely decline food they normally wouldn’t think twice about eating. My response is simple: I choose to eat that which comes from the earth and retains its essence, as nature intended. Like all other living organisms, we must consume to function, so why not eat foods our bodies were originally designed to process? Eating a bag of Doritos may provide me with energy, but it’s not a quality of energy conducive to real nutrition. I live by the Mantra: “I give to the Earth and the Earth gives back to me.” This exemplifies my style of cooking, as I simply want to get as much out of my food as I can. One’s body is truly a vehicle, designed to take one where he or she desires to go. My advice then, is to explore the way one feels after eating different foods. Track common ailments and see if there are any patterns or missing links to be found. I used to get headaches almost daily, but once I started to cut down on wheat, they declined rapidly! My digestion also improved dramatically by eliminating processed foods. Optimal health begins in the intestines, which rely on the foods we put through them.

It’s funny to reflect on the past and where our experiences have taken us. At 26, I have come a long way in discovering what is “food” and how it affects me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I now live to eat and eat to live, but in a whole new way. I have been living in Colorado for just under 2 years and every morning I wake up thankful. I can honestly say my beauty radiates from the inside out. These feelings are very satisfying and are much due to my explorations with food. I hope I have inspired you to look for the deeper message and to consider what is your meaning of food?

-Christine Driscoll http://shteyndl.wordpress.com/

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Milehigheater.com Guest Blog- Harvest

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Hi all,
 
My name is Jonathan, and my wife Barbara and I write the milehigheater.com blog and we were asked by Beetstreet to write about what harvest time means to us. If you had asked me a few years ago I would have said not much really except that cooler temperatures are going to be here and soon and the end of hot summer days. But over the last few years my perspective has changed through interactions with chefs, and food.

He says:

For several years prior to starting up the blog we had been closet foodies, watching the shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef, but never really going to restaurants of the caliber that would serve the kind of food we saw on those programs or daring to try to make it ourselves. Then came a trip to New York and we finally went to a great restaurant that used fresh ingredients and our world opened up.

We started to try some of the restaurants here in Colorado and fairly often the meal item we remembered the most was something that was locally harvested and in season, such as fried squash blossoms stuffed with locally made goat cheese at Frasca that had come from the farmers market that day. Or a mushroom soup at the Black Cat made with mushrooms that had been harvested that week from a local farmer, among many examples. 

Another major turning point was when chef Skokan of the Black Cat in Boulder took the time to walk me around his garden, sampling this and that and speaking of how different things are harvested at different times of years and how he incorporates that into his cooking (in fact, during the summer 70-80 percent of the produce used in his restaurant comes from the chefs own garden and farm). Harvest changed from the fall for me to a ever changing day where things became ready to eat at their best. Be it the first strawberries early on in the year to the  lettuce, squash, beets, peaches, corn and the rest of the huge variety of items we have here in Colorado to look forward to.

I guess to sum it up Harvest to me is a day by day celebration of food at its best and a reminder that we here in Colorado are so very lucky to live in a place with such a huge variety of great food that we can get fresh and at the peak of its flavor at a local farm or farmers market right down the road from any of us.

She says:

Hi, Barb here, the other writer of the milehigheater.com.  If you would have asked me this question 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you. Jonathan and I have only started to enjoy and understand fine cooking since we started our blog, which originated from that trip to New York and our dining at Daniel’s, Le Bernardin and Per Se. Ever since we’ve started going to these kind of restaurants, my knowledge of harvest has been awakened. For our servers to let us know exactly where our food has come from is very interesting now to me. And their knowledge of the farms and famers is outstanding.          

Learning the names of the local farmers and how prolific they are and how cohesive the chefs work together with the farmers around the area, I have a new appreciation of the whole process from garden to table. I know Jonathan had a great time with Chef Eric Skokan of the Black Cat in Boulder at his house and garden. Even visiting the Black Cat and having Eric come out and talk about all the things he’s planting and how excited he gets telling you about his plans makes the meal that much more enjoyable.

I guess the biggest thing about harvest for me is the collaboration between farmer and chef and how developing that relationship and nurturing and growing it makes the food special in a way that is hard to describe. The relationship is special and it shows on the plate.

 http://www.milehigheater.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

‘Experience the Harvest Season at Miller Farms’ by Chelly Vitry

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Fall is in the air. Warm days and crisp nights make my mind wander toward thoughts of cider and baking pumpkin pie. The changing of the season always reminds me that it’s harvest season and that at the markets, the sweet fruits of summer are about to be replaced with brightly colored piles of beets, carrots, corn, squash, peppers, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, garlic and pumpkins.

A time of celebration, fall is when farmers finally see the product of their labors and reap the riches of their fields. The Harvest Festival began in English churches where produce was piled high and prayers of thanks are given. This quiet ritual was encouraged by local ministers to replace the pagan farm-based Harvest Suppers which were primarily an occasion of excessive drinking, eating, and dancing (sounds like more fun). 

Today, in celebration of the season, Platteville’s Miller Farms is hosting a Harvest Festival of their own, a fun family experience designed to bring you closer to nature and reacquaint you with Colorado’s agricultural heritage.
 
Colorado’s eastern plains are bursting with the products of our own local farmer’s efforts. But when we only see the end product – clean, dirt free and sanitized for our protection in uniform stacks at the grocery store, we don’t think about where our food comes from and what goes into growing it. Fall is the perfect time for a field trip to get some dirt on your shoes and meet the people who work to put green veggies and fresh, smooth fruit on your plate.

Miller Farms is a third generation family run farm, committed to keeping you connected to the land. They participate in 40 different farmer’s markets each week and offer a flexible and generous CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, bringing their locally grown produce directly to Front Range consumers. 

Their Harvest Festival is a great day out. It’s a chance to learn about farming and to see how a working farm operates. They have a corn maze, hay rides, fire trucks, tractor pulls, animals, chile roasting and best of all, a trip through 180 acres of ripe fields, where you can dig up your own potatoes, carrots and onions, choose squash and peppers, and pick your own perfect pumpkin. During October, every evening at dusk, the farm has a Haunted Hay Ride through the fields, complete with ghost stories, spooks and scary apparitions, finishing up with hot chocolate served around a bonfire.

When you bring your freshly dug up veggies home, weary from a day “working” and playing in the fields, plan a special harvest dinner using the fruits of your labor. Kind of like growing food in your garden, you will have a new respect for the humble carrots and beautiful squash on your counter. Freshly picked, they will have a depth and flavor that is somehow missing from the usual grocery store produce.

It’s a great way to gain a whole new appreciation for fall’s delicious flavors.       

Need an idea to use up all of that wonderful fall produce? Try this great soup – it’s smoky and delicious. Serve it with a salad and some crusty bread.   

Spiced Squash Soup

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
1 Onion, diced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb. Winter Squash, peeled and diced
1/2 lb. potato, peeled and diced
4 cups of Water
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Sour Cream and Chives to Garnish

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots and onion, cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chile powder, cumin and red pepper flakes. Saute 5 minutes. Add squash, potato and water. Simmer, covered about 30 minutes. When the squash is soft, puree the soup in batches in the blender. Add Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sour cream and chives. Enjoy!

Miller Farms Harvest Festival is open everyday from 9 am – 6 pm and runs through November 24. Tickets are $15 per person, or $50 for a family of 4 with additional tickets just $10. Haunted Hay Ride tickets are $7 per person. Children under three are free for all events. Directions and information at www.Millerfarms.net         

Chelly Vitry writes the food blog, Rolling in Dough, and spends her time seeking out great local food experiences.  http://www.rollingindoughbaking.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

Connecting to the Past by Kerrie Flanagan

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This is my favorite time of year when the cooler temperatures nudge out the heat and the lush green foliage prepares to dazzle us with red, gold and orange colors. The garden is in full bloom, bursting with ripe vegetables and fruit.

Tomato plants bend from the weight of the plump red vegetable, green jalapenos dangle from tiny plant limbs, onions burst from the ground, ripe raspberries dangle from branches of the bush and cucumber and zucchini vines creep around the garden, hiding their green vegetables under big leaves.
 
As I harvest all the fruits and vegetables of my labor, I feel connected to women before me—my mom, my grandma, her grandma and so on. Preparing my crop for the winter has a different meaning to me then it did to them. For some of them it was a matter of survival, for me it is a way to slow down and enjoy the results of my hard work. It is also a way for me to provide food to my family that I know is void of chemicals and pesticides.

In this fast paced world, it relaxes me to wash and cut tomatoes, onions and jalapenos for salsa or to mix together chopped raspberries, green peppers and jalapenos with sugar to create a sweet and spicy raspberry, jalapeno jelly.

I have learned about the canning process by talking with other women of my mom’s generation. They share tips and insight with me many of it passed down from their mothers. Like only use small jars for jelly and make sure to take the seed out of the tomatoes for spaghetti sauce.

I love filling the warm mason jars with the jelly, salsa or pickles and then submerging them in a boiling water bath. When the time is right, I lift the steaming jars out and line them up on the counter. With great anticipation I wait for the popping sound, signaling to me that the jars are properly sealed and ready to put away.

As I think about it, I know I have it easier than my great-great grandma with my Pampered Chef chopper and my food processor, but in the end result is exactly the same. I have food from my garden that I tended, nurtured and preserved which provides me with food I can feed to my family in the coming months.

———————————
Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly

½  cup chopped Green bell pepper
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup chopped Jalapenos (no seeds)
3 cups of sugar
¾ cup cider vinegar
3 ounces pectin

  1. Combine first five ingredients in a large saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Boil for one minute
  4. Remove from heat; let cook 5 minutes
  5. Stir in pectin
  6. Strain mixture through a fine strainer to remove pepper chunks
  7. Pour liquid into sterilized jars.
  8. Cover tightly and store in cool place for up to 6 months.
    **Tastes great on crackers with cream cheese.

Kerrie Flanagan is a freelance writer and director of Northern Colorado Writers, a group that supports and encourages writers of all levels and genres. Learn more about NCW at www.NorthernColoradoWriters.com. Visit Kerrie’s blog at www.the-writing-bug.blogspot.com.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!