About CAA

Our Purpose: To ensure agriculture thrives as a vibrant core of our Valley.

A cowboy on horseback rides through a shallow stream, with several other horses galloping in the background across a grassy field. The cowboy is dressed in traditional attire, including a hat and bandana. The scene captures a dynamic moment of ranch life.

What We Do & How We Do It

We provide leadership, education, and programs that promote agriculture and connect the shared interests of our Valley by:

  • Promoting local food and building a resilient local food system
  • Providing resources, advocacy, and support for local agriculture
  • Fostering meaningful connections between agriculture and our community

Ensuring the vitality and continuity of agriculture in the Yampa Valley is our primary focus.
Through actions and programs we lead Community to grow Agriculture and to create Alliance among individuals with shared passions and goals.

Our Mission

CAA’s mission is to preserve agriculture in the Yampa Valley by initiating and supporting programs and policies that benefit and connect producers, consumers, and the community.

Our Vision

CAA’s vision is the Yampa Valley agricultural community is resilient, active, and vital for generations to come.

Our Values

  • Commitment to Agriculture: At the heart of all we do, our dedication to sustaining and enhancing Yampa Valley’s agricultural heritage guides every action and decision.
  • Organizational Integrity: We uphold the highest standards of credibility and accountability, ensuring our operations and interactions foster trust and respect.
  • Heritage and Innovation: We cherish our agricultural roots while embracing innovation, adapting to the future without losing sight of our past.
  • Respect for Diversity: Valuing diverse perspectives enriches our community and strengthens our efforts, as we welcome and incorporate a variety of viewpoints and ideas.
  • Collaborative Success: We believe in the power of collaboration; together, we achieve more than we could alone, uniting stakeholders and partners toward common goals.

History of the Community Agriculture Alliance

Establishment and Purpose

Founded in 1999, the Community Agriculture Alliance is dedicated to ensuring the adaptation and vitality of agriculture in Routt County and the Yampa Valley. As a Colorado incorporated non-profit, our mission responds to the evolving economic landscape, aiming to preserve agricultural traditions while fostering future growth and sustainability.

Agricultural Heritage

The Yampa Valley boasts a deep-rooted agricultural history, dating back to the 1870s with enduring family-owned cattle and sheep ranches. These traditional practices form the backbone of our local identity and economy, shaping our approach to modern agricultural challenges.

Economic and Cultural Context

Situated in the Colorado Rockies, the Yampa Valley is not only a hub for agriculture but also a vibrant recreational economy bolstered by the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation and historical mining industries. This diverse economic backdrop highlights the importance of integrating agriculture with other sectors to maintain our cherished rural lifestyle amidst growth and development challenges.

Looking Forward

Today, CAA plays a crucial role in harmonizing the interests of all economic players in northwest Colorado. We strive to ensure that the valley’s unique amenities and rural character endure for generations, maintaining a sustainable and prosperous community for all.

Two people in cowboy hats riding horses through a peaceful autumn forest with trees showing fall colors and a clear blue sky.

Board of Directors

  • Colby Townsend, Chair
    Hayden Fresh Farm
  • Megan Knott-CO Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
  • Joella West-Steamboat Springs City Council
  • Greg Brown-Rancher
  • CJ Mucklow-Rancher
  • Kent Sandstedt-CR Summit
  • Claire Sollars-CO Water Matters
  • Eric Wellman-Hayden School District /FFA Program
  • Conni Robertson-Community Volunteer

Advisory Committee

  • Carol Atha-Community Volunteer
  • Kyle Bond-CO Parks & Wildlife
  • Kristi Doran-Attorney
  • Todd Hagenbuch-CSU Routt County Extension
  • Chereen Leong Schwarz-Wilderbean Provisions
  • Sonja Macys-Routt County Commissioner
  • Elizabeth Wood-Routt County Fairgrounds
  • Susie Wyman-Community Volunteer
  • Clinton Whitten-National Resource Conservation Service

CAA Staff

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Michele Meyer

Executive Director

Michele has worked at CAA since 2010 and assumed the Executive Director role in 2018. She brings over 20 years of professional fund raising and marketing experience to the CAA. Michele previously worked for United Way, Hospice of Larimer County and has her own business as a personal trainer/yoga instructor, she is also a part time ski instructor With a diverse background, Michele comments, “I am honored to be a part of the Community Agriculture Alliance. I truly believe in the organizations’ mission of preserving, promoting and supporting agriculture. One of the main reasons I moved here, and I think a very common one, is the scenic working landscapes and heritage of agriculture. The natural beauty of the area and the scenic views that rural agriculture provide are critical to keeping the Yampa Valley so unique and special. I truly believe the mission of CAA is critical to the fabric of our community.”

A smiling man in a red and white checkered shirt, standing in front of a blurred greenery background. he appears cheerful and relaxed.

Patrick Stanko

Ag Resource Coordinator

Patrick is a fourth-generation rancher on a local Yampa Valley ranch that has been in the family for more than 100 years. After a 20-year hiatus from the Valley, while gaining his Engineering degree and working in the business world, Patrick moved back to the ranch in 2013. Starting work for the CAA in 2018 Patrick is dedicated to the work of promoting agriculture in the Yampa Valley. As the Agriculture Resource Coordinator, Patrick will continue the water education programs and outreach for agriculture in the Yampa Valley.

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Olivia Goldsworthy

Development and Marketing Manager

Olivia’s interest in working with non-profits started with her involvement with Real Food Generation and Food Recovery Network in college. Olivia enjoys creative problem-solving and is excited support a vital Yampa Valley agricultural community with her role at CAA. Her previous development experience has included Princeton Nursery School, C-Change Conversations, U.S. Coalition on Sustainability, and Help a Diabetic Child. Olivia received her B.A. in Sustainability Studies at Colorado Mountain College and has also pursued certificate coursework in Fundraising and Development from the University of California Davis. She has lived and worked in the Yampa Valley for 10 years and when not working, she can be found rowing her boat on the Yampa, enjoying an après ski session with friends, or giving belly rubs to her dog Gracie May.

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Katie Stanhope

Yampa Valley Foods Manager

Katie moved to Steamboat with her family in 2009, and after growing up in the valley, developed a strong sense of pride and loyalty to the community. Her passion for agriculture and the local food system was ignited in 2015 after her first season selling produce at the farmer’s market. Since then, Katie has spent years working for local farmers and ranchers, raised her own pigs, and is actively pursuing a B.S. in Agriculture Business. Katie began working for the Community Agriculture Alliance in 2021 because it was the perfect place to combine her love for the community and her passion for agriculture. “I’m grateful and proud to be a part of the CAA. The best parts of my job are the producers, building connections with members, and helping the CAA Market grow. My coworkers aren’t half-bad either :)” When Katie is not at the Market, you can find her and Ruby enjoying a beer with pals, hiking, or studying.

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Lucas Morter

Yampa Valley Foods Sales Associate

Born and raised outside of town in Steamboat Springs, Lucas was always surrounded by farms which sparked his interest in local agriculture. Starting at the age of ten, he participated in the local Routt county 4-H program which taught him a lot about how much time and effort goes into growing the food that you can buy at the grocery store. It also taught him about how much better it can be for you depending on what you feed your animals and how they are taken care of. Working at the CAA Market is a great way for Lucas to see old friends from 4-H while still being connected to the community through agriculture. Outside of working at the CAA Market you can find him skiing, floating down the river, and hanging out with his friends.

An elderly man wearing a cap and vest smiles at the camera, holding a small fish by a rocky riverbank.

Bob Masyczek

Yampa Valley Foods Sales Associate

Bob fully retired to Steamboat Springs in the summer of 2020. But, he decided to join CAA on a part-time basis in summer of 2023 because he strongly believes in CAA’s mission of promoting local agriculture.

In his previous careers, Bob was a Napa winemaker for just over 25 years, making wine for brands such as Grgich Hills Cellars, Clos Pegase, and Beaulieu Vineyard. He also spent 10 years as a financial advisor in Napa. But, in 2020, fires, earthquakes, and rolling electrical blackouts in Napa convinced him and his wife Robin to move to their current residence in old town Steamboat. It was an easy choice to leave Napa, as Robin bought the Steamboat home in 1989.

Bob likes to say that he has “repurposed”, not retired. In his spare time, you can find Bob fly fishing or possibly in the kitchen where Bob loves to cook.

A young man in a grey sweater and a blue cap smiles broadly at the camera while sitting outdoors.

Nya Norling

Yampa Valley Foods Sales Associate

Nya grew up in multiple different states throughout the West and the Northeast before moving to Steamboat with her family in 2016. Through personal experience she has learned how important a strong connection to what she eats is. Knowing where her food comes from is very important to her and she is passionate about developing relationships with the people who grow and raise what she is putting into her body. She believes food is a pillar of community and is happy to be part of an organization that is committed to serving and supporting local agriculture. When Nya is out and about you may find her reading, cooking, browsing the farmers market or spending lots of time outdoors with friends. She hopes to see you at the CAA market soon!