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Last updated 9:42PM ET
December 11, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Community Voices: Striving for Sustainability in Pagosa Springs
(2008-09-03)
(ksut) - VICTOR: This is KSUT's Community Voices, a monthly program spotlighting a Four Corner's Not for Profit Organization.
I'm Victor Locke.
Downtown Pagosa Springs is particularly busy on this recent Friday afternoon.
People are heading up the hill for the Four Corners Folk Festival.
While in town, preparations are underway for another Friday evening Farmers Market.
The booths are springing up on the municipal parking lot sandwiched between Main street and the San Juan River.
KARAS: WHAT WE WANT TO ATTRACT ARE PEOPLE THAT CAN GROW RIGHT HERE, THAT FOOD DOESN'T HAVE TO TRAVEL FOURTEEN HUNDRED MILES TO GET TO PAGOSA SPRINGS.
Chrissy Karas is a coordinator of the weekly market, which runs from 4pm to 7pm every Friday from early June through the end of September.
KARAS: WE'D LIKE TO SEE MORE GROWERS, MORE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN SUSTAINING OUR OWN TOWN.
It's the second year for Pagosa's Farmers Market.
Karas say they draw at least a dozen vendors each week, from a wide area.
KARAS: TODAY I GOT A CALL FROM FARMINGTON, AND IT WAS A BEEKEEPER. HE WANTS TO COME NEXT YEAR. WE GET PEOPLE FROM DURANGO, AND ALL THE WAY FROM THE VALLEY, THEY SELL CHEESES, GOAT CHEESES FROM THE SAN LUIS VALLEY, WE HAVE A COUPLE OF GROUPS THAT COME ALL THE WAY FROM PALISADES.
Karas says it would be nice to expand the market to more days and longer hours.
KARAS: WE'D PROBABLY HAVE TO HIRE SOMEONE FULL TIME TO ORGANIZE IT. BUT ONE DAY A WEEK, JUST AS A START HAS BEEN WONDERFUL FOR US. WE SOMETIMES HAVE A HUNDRED PEOPLE MILLING ABOUT.
And they're taking steps to make the market more attractive.
KARAS: LAST WEEK WE HAD A BAND, WE'D LIKE TO CONTINUE THAT, MAYBE GET SOME JUGGLERS, MAKE IT MORE FESTIVE, AND MAKE IT A FUN PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO COME.
Pagosa's Farmers Market actually is just a small part of a larger movement in the Archuleta County Community.
It's a movement that's actually taking hold across the Four Corners.
The market, you see, is sponsored by the Southwest Organization for Sustainability, located in Pagosa Springs
SOS, as it is known, is linked to the larger Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado.
De Anna Hoyle is a vice chair of the Southwest Organization for Sustainability.
She says in the groups three and a half years of existence they've begun to tackle significant quality of life issues that face Pagosa Springs.
HOYLE: WE CARE ABOUT OUR GROWTH, WE CARE ABOUT THE BUILDING MATERIALS THAT ARE USED, PESTICIDES THAT ARE BEING USED, SO IT'S JUST, I THINK STARTING TO MOVE IN THAT DIRECTION.
I THINK INFORMATION IS REALLY THE KEY. WE START THERE WITH JUST INVITING THE BASIC POPULATION TO COME TO OUR SPEAKER SERIES ON RECYCLING, OR ON, CERTAINLY THE FARMERS MARKET COMING OUT OF THAT AND BEING ABLE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT IT MATTERS WHERE YOU BUY YOUR FOOD, AND/OR WHERE YOU BUY YOUR PRODUCTS.
Hoyle says SOS now boasts about 150 members and they are seeing that membership grow.
In addition to the farmers market, SOS is trying to grow a struggling recycling program in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
HOYLE: WE RELY HEAVILY ON DURANGO'S RECYCLING PROGRAM THERE, ALL OUR STUFF GOES THERE, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE, IF YOU JUST ASK THE AVERAGE PERSON ON THE STREET THEY PROBABLY WOULDN'T KNOW WHERE IT GOES, WHAT HAPPENS TO IT OR EVEN THAT THERE IS ONE OUT AT OUR TRANSFER STATION. IT'S VERY SPORADIC AND VERY HARD FOR US TO CONTINUE IT BECAUSE OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS. JUST GETTING IT IN AND OUT OF HERE IS THE HARD PART.
LUCY: IT'S CALLED BONE FREE, COMFREY!!!
At the farmers market, activity is picking up.
I found two great examples of what SOS is trying to achieve: a healthy environment and sustainability.
Lucy, from Pagosa Springs, is there again this week selling her home made chicken and pork tamales, in addition to the variety of organic vegetables and medicinal herbs she's grown at home.
LUCY: I LIKE THE FARMERS MARKET BECAUSE YOU GET TO EAT NATURAL FOODS, WITHOUT NO CHEMICALS AND ALL THAT STUFF, AND THAT'S WHY I LIKE TO BE PART OF IT.
Down a bit from Lucy's stand, Karla Mundall of Pagosa Springs is busy unloading the back of a pickup truck.
She's part of a group that spends 8-to-10 weeks each summer at the market selling produce to raise money to sustain Pagosa Springs Adventist School, which is in need of a new school building.
MUNDALL: PEACHES, WE'VE GOT WHOLE BOXES OF HALF BUSHEL BOXES FOR TWENTY DOLLARS, WE SELL THEM BY HALF BOX OR BY THE POUND. WE ALSO HAVE TOMATOES...
At another spot close by, volunteers with SOS are handing out information not only on the Farmer's Market but on other SOS sustainability programs.
Hoyle and Karas agree the farmers market has become the most visible way of spreading the word about sustainability practices in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
And Karas says both the market and the mission of SOS are drawing the attention of local officials.
KARAS: THE MAYOR HAS A VISION OF HAVING GEOTHERMAL GREENHOUSES SO WE CAN GROW OUR OWN FOOD.
If you'd like to learn more about the Pagosa Farmers Market and SOS, just go online to SOSPagosa.org.
For KSUT's Community Voices, I'm Victor Locke.
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