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Program uses picnics to promote local foods

Program uses picnics to promote local foods
Colorado Proud launches 'Choose Colorado' pop-up picnics for 2015.

The mission: encourage Coloradoans to select locally grown produce. The tactic: Choose Colorado Pop-up Picnics all summer long. The idea is that these picnics will pop up on lawns of Front Range and Western Slope festivals, concerts and farmers' markets. The aim is to refresh picnics with a 'local' flavor and if you're in Colorado you can check out these events which run from May 16 through Sept. 5. Check out those local picnic options.

Grown out of the Choose Colorado tour, a community-to-community road trip across the state, the picnics refresh the buy and eat local concept, swapping out ready-made meals for fresh produce and exchanging woven baskets for reusable tote bags.

The picnic remains a popular pasttime, and Colorado Proud wants to bring some local flavor to the mix. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

The organization will distribute classic picnic fare made with fresh produce from Colorado farmers, including potatoes, peaches, cantaloupe, corn, lettuce and more. Colorado Proud representatives will also provide informational handouts on the benefits of buying local.

In a release promoting the program, Don Brown, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, comments: "We are seeing a shift in consumers who are busier than ever and on-the-go - but who still want to take healthy, locally grown products with them, especially during summer activities. This year's Choose Colorado Pop-up Picnics celebrate the buy local spirit, showing consumers that they can be busy and still pack a healthy picnic perfect for any Colorado outdoor event."

With more than 36,000 farms encompassing 32 million acres, agriculture is a vital part of Colorado – providing more than 172,000 jobs; contributing more than $40 billion to the state’s economy annually; and feeding the world with more than $2 billion in exported products. Buying local also supports Colorado’s western heritage, preserving the farms, ranches and land that define the state.

The Choose Colorado Pop-­-Up Picnics will take place on the lawns of 18 festivals, farmers’ markets and concerts in Front Range communities and on the Western Slope. The Pop-­-Up Picnics will include samples of local fruits and vegetables; guest farmers, chefs and agricultural experts; giveaways; and recipes and tips for local on-­-the-­-go meals and picnics.

Source: Colorado Proud

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