Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

It is the gleaning season. Somewhere in the Bible, he recalls, the farmers leave the remnants of their harvest for the hungry. It is still so for those who know where to look. As the high aspens begin to turn, the sandhill cranes circle above the valley before settling into some shallow wetlands down by the dunes. They will spend the night there, safe from predators. Early in the morning, they will fly west across the valley to glean the leftover grains from vacant farm fields. In a few days, he will rattle by that same field in a beat up Chevy with New Mexico plates, scanning a dusty county road for russets jostled loose from the big potato trucks as they ride the ruts and bumps toward a warehouse in Monte Vista.

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Museums of Central Colorado: The Luther Bean Museum at Adams State

By Linda Relyea

In the early 1900s, Colorado legislator William (Billy) Adams, who would later become governor, recognized the need for a teachers college in the remote area of the San Luis Valley. For years, he worked to introduce a bill that would establish the institution. In 1921 the cornerstone was laid for Adams State Normal School, a teachers college. Over the years, Adams State University grew from one building, currently Ira Richardson Hall, to a large campus offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

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A Dream Realized: The Rio Grande Healthy Living Park

By Gena Akers

This past July, a group of individuals united by a common dream for a plot of land near a rural Southern Colorado town got a second chance. 

“Over time, I hope this becomes part of the fabric of our community,” says Julie Mordecai, acting director of the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park (RGHLP). For Mordecai and the other RGHLP supporters, it is an honor to just have the sewing machine back out on the table.

The future home of the RGHLP is the former Polson Elementary School property, a 38-acre plot near the intersection of Hwys. 17 and 160, just east of Alamosa. Some of the plans for the RGHLP include a working farm, a year-round local food market, botanical gardens, commercial kitchen, event space and walking trails, all of which will help to make the “entrance into Alamosa more attractive,” says Mordecai. Besides these initiatives, proponents hope to continue their relationship with the San Luis Valley’s local Guatemalan community. The RGHLP is host to eight farm plots managed by Guatemalan families, many of which were economically displaced after the closure of the nearby Rakhra Mushroom Farm. Besides these plots, proponents hope to expand agricultural research opportunities beyond potatoes, one of the Valley’s main crops. Through all of these combined efforts, Bill Brinton, RGHLP supporter and East Alamosa resident, says the project will offer “a new kind of economic self-reliance.”

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