THOUGHT FOR FOOD: Local Food ~ Local Economy Panel

BECKY ELDER, Certified Permaculture Designer (2002), master gardener and environmental consultant, has been gardening on the Colorado Front Range since 1975. Becky is a passionate advocate and teacher, actively working toward community resilience as director of Pikes Peak Permaculture. In addition to educational programs and public speaking, she is involved with TransitionManitou, Green Cities Coalition and other local groups, working for positive change. A life-long organic gardener, Becky is well known for her Earth-conscious Blue Planet Earthscapes, an award winning gardening company. Becky is the author of Raven in the Garden, a Front Range Gardener’s Journal (2007). Becky lives in Manitou Springs, which is set to have one of the first local food forests due to her efforts. Learn more at http://www.blueplanetearthscapes.com

LARRY STEBBINS, Director of Pikes Peak Urban Gardens (PPUG), botanist, life-long organic gardener, retired after 35 years in public education, former chemistry teacher and public school administrator. PPUG assists neighborhoods in building community and backyard gardens, with an emphasis on low income families. In addition, monthly organic vegetable gardening classes are offered. These 90 minute classes are open to all and cost five dollars. Learn more at http://www.ppugardens.org

CHRISTINE FAITH, Founder and organizer of Colorado Springs Urban Homesteading, local backyard farmer, and sustainability devotee. Christine is a mentor to those in the community trying to reduce their impact on the planet while maintaining resilient households. “Right to Thrive”, Christine’s award winning blog, is an information clearing-house for backyard farmers along the Front Range. Christine is owner/co-founder of Ivywild Aquaponics & Neighborhood Farm, an artisan farm located in the historic Ivywild neighborhood of Colorado Springs (CO). In addition to managing the small urban farm, Christine teaches classes on backyard farming, designs backyard farms, and consults for a local school district on a school garden project. Learn more at http://www.righttothrive.org

CRAIG MCHUGH, along with wife, Kellie, is the owner/operator of A Joyful Noise Farm, situated on 10 treed acres in Black Forest, Colorado. McHugh raises beef, pork, chicken (layers & meat), turkeys, goats and produce. Craig seeks to help other families learn from mistakes and triumphs they’ve made in order to gain the confidence to set out on their own journey. A Joyful Noise Farm hosts workshops on building greenhouses as well as providing a fee-based small farm consulting and offering farm stand goods. Craig is an advocate for empowering local communities to “seed” greenhouses throughout the city and region. Learn more at http://www.ajoyfulnoisefarm.com

MIKE CALLICRATE, Owner, Ranch Foods Direct, is an independent cattle producer, business entrepreneur and political activist. He serves as an outspoken leader in addressing the rural, social and cultural impacts of current economic trends. Mike has been an advisor for the films Food Inc. and FRESH, and is cited in several books including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation. He is revered as the “go-to expert” for understanding negative consequences of trends in the modern meat industry. Learn more at http://NoBull.MikeCallicrate.com