What is WEFA?
The West Elk Foodshed Alliance was formed in 2011 as a collaborative effort among producers, local foods advocacy groups, individuals and consumers with the intention of supporting the individual and collective efforts of these groups within the West Elk Region as it strives to catalyze the local food movement by forging connections between those organizations, producers and businesses who are working to develop sustainable food systems, food security and community awareness of the challenges facing the local food movement.
What is a “Foodshed”: A ‘foodshed’ is everything between where a food is produced and where a food is consumed — the land it grows on, the routes it travels, the markets it goes through, the tables it ends up gracing. Workable, sustainable foodshed mappings tend to take into account time and ease of travel, density of population, and productivity of land. The West Elk Food Shed includes areas of 100-mile radius around Paonia, Crested Butte, and Gunnison, except where limited by natural (mountain) boundaries. The West Elk Foodshed Alliance will strengthen our region’s local food system by linking all of the parts together.
Who is “Everyone”?
- Producers: These are the dedicated people who grow and raise the food we eat within the foodshed; the ranchers who raise meat, dairy and eggs, along with the vegetable growers and fruit orchards.
- Businesses: This includes those who support the producers and would include feed stores, hay producers, ranching suppliers, gardening centers and green-house supply stores. It includes the local food delivery services as well as all the cafes, restaurants and grovecy stores that offer a selection of local food to their customers. Also included here are local food processors both large and small!
- Advocacy Groups: This includes all of the not-for-profits and community campaigns (ie Think Local First!) who are creating educational opportunities, hands on programs, and who offer their support to the other groups and individuals in the burgeoning local food movement.
- Consumers and Individuals: Well, this includes everyone in the community! It also includes people who have gardens at home, those who a support a family cow, chickens, or other livestock and even homesteaders!