Feb 27, 2012


Meet Cole Cottin- New OLF Kaw River Valley Coordinator

Hailing from Lawrence, Cole Cottin obtained a BA in Anthropology from University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). She spent a year volunteering at UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems - a 28 acre diversified orchard, farm, and garden, managed using organic methods, that serves as an agricultural research and training facility.

In 2009, Cole gained invaluable experience in post harvest handling and direct and wholesale marketing of meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables through co-management of Virginia-based local foods distributor Good Food Good People's 350 member CSA fruit share, 50 member CSA vegetable share, two farmers market stands, online "virtual market," and year-round local food distribution serving restaurants and retail outlets in three southwest Virginia cities.

In 2010, Cole returned to Lawrence with her husband, Dan Phelps, and the two founded MAD Farm. MAD Farm, named for and inspired by Wendell Berry's writings about the "Mad Farmer Revolution," produces garden starts and annual fruits and vegetables on several leased plots around Lawrence. They market their products through two farmers markets, the local cooperative grocery store, and several area restaurants. In 2012, they will debut their farm's own online "virtual market."

Prior to joining the Our Local Food team, Cole worked as Lead Trainer in The Merc Co-op's produce department and was self-employed on the farm. She and her husband are members of a local growers' collective, Growing Lawrence, and regularly participate in farm-to-school activities to help educate young folks about where food comes from.

Cole loves nutritious, whole foods and takes great pride in her involvement with the rising local foods movement in our beloved "Sunflower State" - home to some of the best soils on Earth!

2012 Savor the Season Launched

Kansas farms and farmers markets looking to attract more customers with fresh fruits and vegetables this summer will have a new tool thanks to the Kansas Rural Center's "Savor the Season" Program (StS), part of the Our Local Food Project. StS will feature a variety of materials, recipes, and grower training information about 10 feature crops for this year. This year's specialty crops are: Spinach, Arugula, Snow Peas, Rhubarb, Basil, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Spaghetti Squash, Turnips, and Pumpkins.

Through Savor the Season, both farmers markets and producers can receive funding and other assistance for promoting these specialty crops. Markets interested in joining the Savor the Season program can find applications online at www.ksfarmersmarkets.org. March 15, 2012 is the sign-up deadline.

For markets, Savor the Season provides a unified voice in the promotion of diversity and sales of local produce, and funding opportunities through mini-grants up to $250 targeted at new or smaller markets interested in testing a special events program. For markets with existing special events programs, cost-shares will match up to $400 for specialty crop promotions. The application deadline for both programs is March 15, 2012.

For producers of fruits and vegetables, Savor the Season partners with K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Vegetable Growers Association, Kansas Master Food local agencies to provide resources and specific guidance on production, post-harvest handling and marketing. Savor the Season also provides promotional materials--cards, banners and tip sheets on nutrition and preservation--for display at market booths, along with online resources and webinars.

For consumers, seasonal cards available at farmers markets provide details on selection and storage of fresh produce along with preparation tips and recipes. Cards will be shipped to area markets by April 18, 2012. Consumers, chefs, master food volunteers and others interested in the program are encouraged to submit favorite recipes using these 10 crops to twinrivers.olf@gmail.com by March 1, 2012.

The mission of the Savor the Season program is to improve the diversity of fruits and vegetables grown in Kansas, and to increase the sales of those crops. Savor the Season is part of Our Local Food, a program of the Kansas Rural Center made possible by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Our Local Food is a network of local farms, farmers markets, food businesses and consumers committed to helping Kansans eat better, and to re-building a sustainable local food economy.

For further information, go to http://www.ourlocalfoodks.org, or http://www.ksfarmersmarkets.org or to http://www.kansasruralcenter. org.

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