Archive for the ‘fort collins community’ tag
Meandering through the farmer’s market on a lazy Saturday morning this past week, I stumbled upon a rare and always exciting find: peaches. Early in the summer they are difficult to find, so by August I had almost forgotten about them. But to see something again that you know is so good-in this case juicy and perfectly ripe peaches- you begin to wonder how you ever lived without it. I bought a ton of them, exclaiming their greatness to everyone around me as I paid, and continued on my way with a delightful snack in hand. As I continued to look around, I noticed many foods that I haven’t seen at the markets lately. The new abundance of squash, beets, and other new produce could only mean one thing- the harvest season has begun.
To many of us, autumn means school or breaking out our winter jackets, but there is a long tradition of harvest all around the world that we might not often think about. For example, in ancient Israel special offerings were made at Temples three times a year: first when seeds were planted, then when farmers reaped the first crops, and finally when the harvest was in full swing. Who knew that holidays such as Passover had some association with the harvest season? And while it seems logical to think of the sun when we think of crops (the sun does help produce grow, after all), long standing Chinese traditions rejoice in the harvest moon instead. Harvest moon celebrations occur in mid-August, when the moon is said to be at its brightest, for it is s symbol of abundance. There are so many different ways to think about the harvest season. How do we celebrate harvest in our own community, here in Fort Collins?
We are certainly fortunate in this city, where fresh produce is farmed nearby and delicious peaches are available as soon as they are picked. But the idea of harvest seems to go way beyond food. A great example of this is a Fort Collins based company called the Northern Colorado Food Incubator. The name suggests something very technical, and also very food-centered. However, browsing their website, I surprised at all the Food Incubator does for our community. They are dedicated to a “Living Economy,” which means that they “support independent community- and land-based businesses and advocate for a whole, resilient community and bio-region.” This mission statement says little about farmers specifically, but rather emphasizes encouraging independent and entrepreneurial local endeavors. I was also excited to see how much of their website was dedicated to local events and community building projects. I found out about that Lyric Cinema Cafe, a local independent movie theatre, is showing a series of films that highlight food and sustainability, and that author and food activist Gary Nabhan will be giving a free lecture at the Lincoln Center next week. In supporting local food-bases businesses, the Northern Colorado Food Incubator helps boost the Fort Collins economy, while at the same time engaging the public in fun and interesting ways. What first appeared to be a food-only business is actually affecting the entire community.
The Northern Colorado Food Incubator shows us what an impact the harvest has on our lives here in Fort Collins. When you think about it, this is true for all cultures as well. The offerings at harvest time, or the celebration of the wondrous moon, are all activities that bring people together.
So as the harvest season comes to our city, think about how our community celebrates and what that celebration really means to you. At Beet Street, we want to help commemorate not just the harvest but its effects on Fort Collins. Beginning September 25th, Beet Street is bringing Homegrown Fort Collins to our community. Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. Beet Street will be featuring events ranging from Downtown Tasting Tours, to VIP chef’s tours of the local farmers’ markets, to cooking competitions and demos (all using local produce). Bringing people together is a cornerstone of the Fort Collins lifestyle. Enjoying good food with friends and family while engaging in the unique elements of our community is one of the things that make living in northern Colorado so special.
Recently on routine trips to Target to buy groceries or laundry detergent, I have been easily distracted by the giant signs and bright displays in the store’s back corner. I know that there is something over there way more exciting than my basic home necessities. As I wander further towards the back, I finally get a glimpse of what I knew was coming up ahead. School supplies! Yes, it is back to school time. As I perused the section, I noticed a young girl running down the aisle with the biggest smile on her face, arms clutched around her new prize- a neon pink Hannah Montana backpack. I am sure I once exhibited the same elated behavior: for me it was a plastic Wonder Woman lunch box. In fact, it seems like children now are just as excited as past generations about the first day of school. Last Sunday I was up half the night on a visit to my parents’ house, watching my little niece strategically plan out which new outfit to wear each day for the whole first week of classes, and trying to calm her down as she claimed, “I just can’t sleep, I’m too excited!” I wonder how many late hours have been spent over the years as kids lay awake, thinking about that first day of school.
I have to admit, though, that Hannah Montana backpack was way cooler (and likely way more pricey) than my Wonder Woman lunch box. It had near twenty pockets in it, with special compartments for water bottles and cell phones. It was difficult to think of what I had when I was a kid that was so complex. Just seeing freshly sharpened pencils was pretty thrilling, much less an entire box to store them in. I would have probably gone completely wild if someone told me I could buy markers that smelled like fruit, or better yet a calculator that could do most of my math problems for me!
As exhilarating as these things are, it would be unfair to say that these gadgets and tools are the most essential part of the school season. After all, their trendiness does not seem to detract students from being completely energetic and engaged in the experience of education both in and out of class. As if there was not enough to do (with new homework assignments now piling up), there are sports or dance practices, and endless clubs to sign up for.
If anyone is looking for a break from hanging out on campus, Fort Collins is full of fun and interesting events that provide continual learning long after the last bell rings. The Poudre River Public Library District hosts International Night, where each month you can learn the ins and outs of countries around the world. There is also a series on health and nutrition that may help your family stay healthy through the busy and sometimes stressful school season. I love that these opportunities are not limited to children or adults; instead there is something for everyone to learn. And in case your little ones aren’t quite ready for that Hannah Montana backpack, young children’s activities, like story time, pick back up in September. The Poudre River Public Library District has a great Calendar, so check it out if you want more details on their events.
Looking for more ways to entertain your brain? Here are other activities that will get you going:
With so many educational opportunities for all ages, it is no surprise that back to school excitement goes beyond just new backpacks. Sure we all love the latest stuff, but there is so much more to the school season. Though we may be pretty busy right now, we always seem to find time to continually grow in our education and in our communities. With so many new things in Fort Collins to experience, there is no end to how much you can learn.