Food – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Wed, 07 Oct 2020 18:28:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Food – The Pagosa Springs SUN 32 32 Archuleta Food Coalition announces grant process for food relief projects Fri, 09 Oct 2020 11:00:38 +0000 By Pauline Benetti
Archuleta Food Coalition

Traditionally, the people of Archuleta County have developed a culture in which individuals and groups support one another in hard times. And this year has no doubt been tough. The hardship has been felt more acutely by those families and individuals who have not always had a warm and healthy meal on the table. 

Despite the hardship caused by the pandemic, there has been no shortage of support from many sources, including our six well-functioning food pantries, the Pagosa Farmers Market, the generous restaurants and groceries that support local efforts, the ranchers and farmers that contribute to our local food system, and the amazing folks who sustain local growing communities. These are just a few of the examples of a community supporting one another during hard times.

And yet, even though we have these strengths, we still see families and individuals go hungry at night in Archuleta County. Many folks in our county want to be sure that no family or individual experiences hardship. Especially as we come into the holiday season, there will be families and individuals who want to know that they will be able to support themselves with healthy meals. 

The Food Coalition is looking to the community to get ideas to support projects that address food issues in our community and are responsive to the needs created by the pandemic. The coalition has received $20,000 to help support such projects. The money is designated for individuals, groups and/or organizations that want to help support the food system and provide food relief during the pandemic for the community. Instead of just deciding how to spend the money, the coalition plans to use a process called participatory budgeting to distribute funds. 

Participatory budgeting is a simple process where ideas are generated by the community, ideas are developed into project proposals and then voted on by the community. This simple way of giving the vote to the community means “you” can decide how money is spent. If you think a project is worthwhile, you can come and vote. 

Imagine that you are part of a group of friends who want to help the community by making local apples available to local food organizations at a fraction of the price. You can design a project so that you get awarded a portion of the Food Coalition grant which allows you to sell local apples for a fraction of the price. The grant pays your group of friends to harvest, box and distribute the apples by subsidizing the total cost so more families can have access to affordable, healthier, local options. 

An idea that is under study right now by our local growers is the creation of an online Pagosa Farmers Market. Grant funding would subsidize costs so that local, nutritious products would be affordable to more families. These are just examples of the kinds of projects that could be proposed to the community through the participatory budgeting process. The list of ideas of how to spend the money and turn them into projects that help the community get access to healthy and nutritious foods is endless.

Come support the community and share ideas on Monday, Oct. 12, at 5:30 p.m. over Zoom:, dial-in number: (346) 248-7799, meeting ID: 865 4637 8087. Bring ideas that can be turned into projects that can be voted upon by the community. 

For more information, please visit the website,, or email your questions to 

TARA library and food pantry reopen in Arboles Fri, 02 Oct 2020 11:00:46 +0000 By Gregory Hyatt
TARA Community Center

The TARA Community Center Library and Food Pantry are reopening on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Due to the pantry reopening, the fresh food drive-thru that has been held in the parking lot since March is now discontinued. However, the fully stocked canned and dry goods pantry is now available and, for a limited time, will include such extras as small kitchen appliances (toasters, blenders, etc.), as well.

Facial coverings are still required. The library is restricted to three people at a time and the food pantry is restricted to one person at a time. The library’s coffee and baked goods will be served outside on the picnic table.

The hours and days for both the food pantry and the library are Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

TARA Community Center is so happy to again provide these free services to our community.

Apples Thu, 01 Oct 2020 21:00:21 +0000

Photo courtesy Food Coalition

Apples — 1,500 pounds just harvested — from Montezuma County were delivered to Archuleta County last week. The apples were grown and transported by CSU Extension, harvested by volunteers, fruit of the partnership between the Archuleta Food Coalition and CSU agents in both counties, stored in the coalition’s newly acquired Food Distribution Center and available in six food pantries in the next few weeks. The Food Coalition arranged for this delivery in early summer when it first established contact with the folks at the research and demonstration orchard in Yellow Jacket, Colo., maintained jointly by CSU Extension and Southwest Colorado Research Center. Pictured are Gus Westerman, CSU Extension county director for Dolores County; Greg Felsen, CSU Extension county director for Montezuma County; and our transportation team, Archuleta County CSU, Terry Schaaf and Alvin Schaaf. For food pantry days and hours of operation, check out the Archuleta Food Coalition website,

Pagosa Farmers Market Fri, 18 Sep 2020 11:00:50 +0000

Photo courtesy Pauline Benetti

Abundant juicy, flavorful nutritious tomatoes. The Pagosa Farmers Market vendors had bushels of them for most of the summer, along with a variety of other vegetables. As always, our season draws too soon to an end and the supply is slowly reduced. This Saturday is the last market, so do come on by and select from the end-of-the-season bargains and say goodbye to your favorite growers. The hours are still 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Rotary supports community through pandemic Sun, 06 Sep 2020 11:00:53 +0000

Photo courtesy Livia Lynch
The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club continued its “Feed Our Children” backpack program through distance learning and the summer break. From left to right are Rotarians Carrie Weiss, Jo Bridges and Lassie Olin.

By Livia Lynch
Pagosa Springs Rotary Club

During the COVID pandemic, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club actively continues to serve our community and those most in need. 

The Rotary Club’s “Feed Our Children” program was established nine years ago by Rotarians Jo Bridges and Lassie Olin to meet the needs of children in elementary school who frequently came to school on Mondays and reported to their teachers that they were hungry over the weekend. Often, these children utilized the free and reduced food program at Pagosa Springs Elementary School during the week, but were left without food support over the weekend. 

When school suddenly switched to online this spring due to the pandemic, we had to quickly adapt our food model. For the past nine years, Rotarians have purchased large quantities of food and stored it in a food pantry, and then each week we would pack backpacks for individual families. On Fridays, we would transport the backpacks to the elementary school and at the end of the school day, Rotarians would hand out the backpacks to each child.

Fortunately, when the COVID-related changes occurred in the local school, the school district decided to continue to provide daily breakfasts and lunches to those families in need. The Rotary Club has been able to work with the school transportation department, which agreed to deliver our weekend food via the school bus routes, as it was doing for the daily school food delivery. Rotarians have continued to serve the same families who had been in the program when the school closed. 

Our communities’ economic strain continues, so when the school district received funds to be able to deliver food Monday through Friday throughout the summer, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club jumped on board, too. We reduced our volunteers to only three people working each week, two packing and one taking the bags to the bus barn. By doing this, we were able to work in entirely separate areas safely. Currently, the Rotary “Feed Our Children” backpack program is serving 58 children weekly.

One of our big challenges has been the availability of shelf-stable foods during the pandemic. Many factors cause problems for our Rotary Club to secure adequate food for the backpack program. We believe that general food system distribution issues, as well as a high demand for food by our local food banks, coupled with many individuals who over-shop, has contributed to the program’s ongoing food scarcity. 

During our summer program, we have generally shopped locally and online and have experienced increasing food prices. Increased food costs and our inability to have our typical food collection boxes around the community have driven the “Feed Our Children” program costs up substantially. 

Photo courtesy Livia Lynch
Since March, The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club has been able to donate approximately $12,000 to the food coalition for local food banks to purchase food for community members in need. From left to right are Rose Cheadle, Community Methodist Church Food Pantry volunteer, and Michelle Huck, Food Coalition treasurer.

As summer winds down and the structure of the school is changing again, we are not sure what the program will look like exactly in the coming months. What we do know is that we will adapt the Rotary “Feed Our Children” program as warranted, to serve families in need. 

In addition to the “Feed Our Children” program, the Rotary Club has also been busy financially supporting other community programs affected by the pandemic. When our club learned of the extreme need for food in the community, we quickly started exploring other ways to help. The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club decided to support the Food Coalition 4 Archuleta County. This is a group that works with local food pantries and local food growers to provide food for those in need. When the pandemic hit, the food coalition was asked to coordinate the emergency food supply effort because the clientele for the six local food pantries had doubled. 

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club since March has been able to donate approximately $12,000 to the food coalition for local food banks to purchase food for community members in need. 

Rotary also chose to increase its support of the Pagosa Outreach Connection (POC), an organization composed of local nonprofits, service organizations and churches that provides financial assistance to those in need. Although the Pagosa Springs Rotary supports the POC annually, the club decided to help meet the increased demand by donating an additional $6,000 to POC, bringing the total Rotary club donation for the year to $10,000.

The third organization that the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club has supported financially during the pandemic is Rise Above Violence. We have donated $2,000 to this local nonprofit to help support its increased caseload resulting from COVID-19. When catastrophic events like a global pandemic occur, domestic abuse and sexual assault numbers increase and that is what is happening in Archuleta County. 

All of Rotary’s recent donations were made possible by utilizing funds from our annual fundraiser events such as the October Barn Dance and Casino Night and from individual Rotarian donations. 

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club Community Assistance Fund is a 501(c)(3) and if you want to help with the “Feed Our Children” program or any other local Rotary project, donations may be sent to the Pagosa Springs Rotary CAF, P.O. Box 685. 

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club meets weekly via Zoom and information about upcoming meetings can be found at 

‘Breakfast IN a Balloon’ launches this week to benefit GGP Sat, 05 Sep 2020 11:00:25 +0000

Photo courtesy Bella Rohleder
After closing its greenhouses to the public, the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) began working to grow food for the Pagosa Farmers Market and local food pantries. The GGP’s first fundraiser of the year, “Breakfast IN a Balloon,” launches this week.

By Sally High
Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) is launching a hot air balloon, launching a promotional video and launching an online fundraiser. “Breakfast IN a Balloon” offers all GGP supporters an opportunity to donate to its continuing operations and educational activities.

Watch the “Breakfast IN a Balloon” video on your computer. If you don’t receive a link in your email, go to Enjoy the short video and buy a ticket for a gourmet breakfast by a hometown favorite. Each breakfast ticket buyer receives an annual GGP membership, a long-stem rose and a scrumptious breakfast in a box.

The special breakfasts will be served for four mornings, Sept. 17 through Sept. 20. When you buy your breakfast tickets on the GGP website, a list is generated for each morning and is given to the chef. Each new or renewed GGP member will receive email confirmation that will serve as your tickets when you pick up your breakfasts. If you don’t have those tickets in hand, the bakery will have your name on that morning’s list.

The GGP is an educational nonprofit that operates three dome greenhouses along Pagosa’s Centennial Park Riverwalk. The GGP is the home of the Rotary Garden and the Native Plants Garden. The GGP uses geothermal heat to grow food year-round, allowing students to engage in hands-on learning during the school year. Classes visited the Education Dome each Monday until COVID-19, when Archuleta School District sent students home for their safety and began remote learning.

When the GGP closed the greenhouses to the public, the indoor vegetable gardens transitioned immediately to production for Pagosa Farmers Market and local food pantries. The GGP remains committed to serving the Pagosa Springs community and encourages our supporters to remain committed to our mission: “Growing Food and Community with Local Energy!”

Kudos to other dynamic Pagosa nonprofits whose fundraising has gone digital in recent weeks. We are, indeed, all in this together. 

Breakfast IN a Balloon is the first GGP fundraiser of 2020. The dedicated nonprofit looks forward to reopening to the public as soon as it’s safe. Help us out by visiting Contact us at with any questions or clarifications needed. We’ll see you soon on the Riverwalk.

Colorado kids invited to the 2020 virtual State Fair Day Camp Fri, 28 Aug 2020 11:00:18 +0000 By Ben Walther
Colorado State Fair

The Colorado State Fair is calling all kids to head to the 2020 State Fair Day Camp — from the safety of their own homes. The virtual, first-ever State Fair camp will be held on four afternoons from Monday, Aug. 31, through Thursday, Sept. 3, beginning at 3:30 p.m. each day.

The program is designed for students in grades three through five, and younger children are welcome to participate with older family members. 

The content-rich, fair-themed programming will feature animals and visits from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, fun activities from entertainers, youth ag education with Colorado State University students and the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture, fair food demonstrations with chef Jason Morse and much more.

The virtual camp is free and will be livestreamed on the Colorado State Fair website each afternoon. The sessions will also be recorded for future viewing and accessible on the website. 

After completing the sessions, campers will have the opportunity to apply to become a Junior Colorado State Fair Ambassador at the 2021 State Fair. Selected junior ambassadors will receive a care package with credentials, a pass to the 2021 Colorado State Fair, ambassador certificate and other treats.

Register for the 2020 State Fair Day Camp at Only a name and email address is required to participate. Visit the Colorado State Fair website for more details and please contact Adele McCanless at (719) 404-2049 with questions.

The theme of the 2020 Colorado State Fair is “A Walk on The Wild Side” and will take place Aug. 28-Sept. 7. FAQs related to this summer’s modified state fair can be found at Additionally, visit the Colorado State Fair website, Facebook page @colostatefair, or call (719) 561-8484 for the latest updates and information.

Breakfast in a Balloon to benefit Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:00:17 +0000

Photo courtesy Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership
With ColorFest and Breakfast with the Balloons canceled this year, the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership will be hosting the virtual Breakfast in a Balloon event.

By Sally High
Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership

The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) continues to develop the west end of Centennial Park. Despite the greenhouses being closed due to COVID-19, there have been recent additions to the Riverwalk site including a Native Plants Garden and an active solar array.

The GGP is “growing food and community with local energy!” 

With ColorFest and Breakfast with Balloons being canceled this year, what does a creative nonprofit do? A virtual Breakfast in a Balloon.

A short video, “Breakfast IN a Balloon,” launches on Thursday, Sept. 3. The fun and information-packed film will send viewers to to purchase a scrumptious gourmet breakfast and support the GGP’s operations and educational programming. The film takes place in a hot air balloon and features young Pagosans enjoying their delicious breakfasts. 

Breakfasts will be served the four mornings that would have been Pagosa’s ColorFest weekend, Thursday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 20. It’s easy to support the GGP and celebrate a special breakfast morning with family or properly social-distanced friends.

Here’s how it works. A GGP supporter buys a breakfast, or several breakfasts, from the GGP website. Your receipt is your ticket that you give to Pagosa Baking Company (PBC) when you pick up your special breakfast box. The GGP will provide a list of purchasers to PBC for each day.

Tickets are only $40 and include an annual GGP membership, along with a box of savory and sweet breakfast delights, and a fresh long-stem flower. Your annual membership allows Pagosa’s remarkable environmental education site to cover operational expenses until the GGP’s greenhouses can again serve the community.

As the school year begins, the GGP is planning virtual lessons about growing food year-round, solar and geothermal energy, birds and biodiversity, and the importance of native plants. The GGP is volunteer- and donor-driven. Join us and enjoy a fancy breakfast with us.

To learn more about the virtual Breakfast in a Balloon, like the GGP on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, @geogreenhouse. Visit for details and to purchase your breakfasts.

Thousands receive SNAP benefit notice in error Thu, 20 Aug 2020 21:00:54 +0000 Colorado Department of Human Services

More than 17,000 Colorado households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may have received a notice that they received zero benefits for the month of August in error.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

Pagosa Farmers Market Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:00:17 +0000

Photos courtesy Pauline Benetti

The sixth Pagosa Farmers Market and going strong — and safely. Everyone (almost) is cooperating with the mask ordinance and keeping the required distance and, if they forget, are open to suggestion and/or the offer of a free mask. The Farmers Market has new offerings — grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and cheese —in addition to fresh local vegetables and other offerings. The market takes place Saturday mornings at the east end of town.