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Local Food in the Yampa Valley

Knowing where your food comes from and sharing the story of local agriculture is a core part of CAA’s mission.  In 2012, CAA helped establish the NW Colorado Food Coalition, then adopted Local Food as a program area after a community food assessment identified the need for support for the local food system.

The CAA Market was started in 2014, and now includes a retail store featuring local meat, eggs, seasonal produce, cheese, honey, and a wide range of value-added products from more than 60 local producers (and growing!).  CAA has also worked to build systems and processes for a resilient local food system.  We work with community partners and local producers to identify opportunities to support the local food system including production, processing, storage, distribution, and sales of local food.

CAA has provided connections to local food and coordinates grant funding to purchase local food directly from local farmers and ranchers. In partnership with Lift Up, Routt County Council on Aging and the Routt County WIC Program, over $25,000 in direct payments to local producers have brought fresh, healthy local food to those in need.

CAA provides connections to area restaurants, businesses, caterers, and other local organizations to encourage sourcing local ingredients. In 2022 the NW CO Rural Philanthropy Days, Steamboat Food & Wine Festival, and Chamber Women’s Summit will feature local food.


Northwest Colorado Feasibility Study

In the summer of 2023, CAA served as the fiscal agent for a Just Transition Fund grant, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The grant funded a feasibility study to learn more about value added agriculture and meat production in the Yampa Valley.

Working to help support local meat producers and develop economic opportunities that directly benefit the producer is core to CAA’s mission. This study was helpful in understanding the opportunities and challenges related to local meat production. CAA is committed to working with local ranchers to develop collaborative solutions and build a resilient local food system.

Our thanks to Northwest Colorado Development Council, Colorado State University and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors for their partnership and support.


Storage & Distribution

In 2021, CAA was chosen as the Leadership Steamboat community impact project.  The goal of this project was to support our local food system with needed infrastructure.  The group fund raised and purchased a freezer storage unit for local meat producers to utilize as cooperative freezer storage. The project was successfully completed with a refurbished 40′ shipping container / freezer unit delivered to the Yampa Valley Electric property on Elk River Road (YVEA is generously donating the space to house the freezer unit).  A mobile freezer trailer was also purchased and is available for local producers to borrow as they transport frozen meat. Secure professional storage is a critical piece of the local food system and helps support a growing interest in local meat production/sales.

“Today I delivered over 2,000 lbs of beef to customers using the refrigerated trailer that the Ag Alliance purchased to support local agriculture. Because of the trailer and its refrigeration ability, I was able to pick up the meat at Mountain Meats in the middle of the summer, deliver whole and half steers to customers at their house, and then bring the rest of the meat back to the ranch for future sales at the CAA market. Not only did it make it easier and safer (no thawing) but it also looked very professional to deliver meat to customers in a refrigerated trailer.”
-Yancey Rushton, Steamboat Cattle Co. at D2 Ranch

“We literally couldn’t have gotten our meat back from the processor without the freezer trailer!”
– Lanya Jansen, The Home Ranch