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Editor’s Note: This letter was originally addressed to the Garfield County commissioners.

I understand that you are considering approvals allowing an asphalt batch plant adjacent to Eagle Springs Organic Farm, because your Planning and Zoning Board passed it 6-1.

I hope the Board of County Commissioners will take a wider view, and deny this use in this location.



I am working with many citizens of Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties, toward a local food economy. More and more people every day are realizing that it is wise to begin creating the conditions for a local food economy, for the benefits of all future citizens of our region. We have helped to introduce agricultural biology and site-grown organic food into schools, and we are working toward a widespread community education program to raise more new farmers in the practice of organic food growing and distribution. If approved, this asphalt batch plant will literally pour poison over one of the largest facilities we have seen created in our region, for growing local organic food. What is your planning and zoning board thinking?

I know it is difficult for some to believe that a local food economy could ever compete on an economical basis with a global food production industry, but I assure you, it can and does compete exceptionally well on the basis of food safety, quality and nutritional density, and when we bring examples of local food production to a regional scale, it will compete favorably in every way with factory food. A local food economy will also serve to keep more currency circulating in the local monetary economy, which will make all your constituents happy and healthy.



Eagle Springs Organics is a recent example of bringing organic food growing to a larger scale, and we hope that it will be very successful, and lead to more growers creating year-round food crops. We are very reliant on our elected officials to protect emerging organic farming businesses from being polluted by adjacent industrial plants, whose approvals are considered after these farms are established.

If you grant the asphalt plant your approval to locate adjacent to and upwind of the organic farm you previously approved, it will be a significant setback to our emerging local food economy. Please help us by denying this approval, and sending the company seeking this approval back to the Realtor, to seek a location that will not damage its neighbors so completely.

I urge you to deny this application for a new asphalt batch plant adjacent to Eagle Springs Organics, and to have a discussion with your planning board about appropriate zoning principles.

Thank you for your consideration.

Michael Thompson

Basalt

Did you hear that the Garfield County Board of Commissioners is considering changing the zoning immediately next to one of the region’s most productive organic farms to allow an asphalt plant to set up shop?

First of all, can you just up and change zoning that harms adjacent homeowners and existing businesses that bought their land rurally zoned? Well, the county statutes say no, you can’t, but isn’t the conversation deeper than this?

It’s likely that Mr.’s Samson, Martin and Jankovsky never saw the barren, weed covered piece of throw-away land just a couple of years ago before Eagle Springs Organic Farm in Silt transformed it into a thriving, luscious, food-filled enterprise. The topsoil has been carefully reclaimed with rich compost produced on the premises. The farm is supplying local restaurants, stores and food co-ops with healthy local produce that only needs to travel a few miles (and healthy jobs for locals.) The farm is even working with Colorado Mountain College to teach other locals about their cutting edge practices.

Eagle Springs represents the future we could have, should we value it enough to stand up for it, commit to it, love it enough. But it will take demanding that we let go of the past – where the short-term profit of an asphalt plant would even be considered against the vast long-term benefits of a farm (you can only pave over so much, then you’re sitting on a parking lot, hot and hungry).

The Roaring Fork Food Policy Council invites you to a Local Food Rally on Monday, Feb. 27, at noon at the Garfield County Courthouse lawn in Glenwood Springs – the BOCC will vote at 1 p.m. on this issue. This is one of those pivotal moments that our children and our ancestors are watching. Show your love and commitment to a future that is not just sustainable, but phenomenal. Contact Gwen at gwen@highlifeunlimited.com for more info.

Gwen Garcelon

Roaring Fork Food Policy Council

Carbondale


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