Everyone knows a visionary. Someone who — as Oscar Wilde said — sees the dawn before the rest of the world. As part of our 2050 Colorado food vision work, we’re going in-depth with visionary leaders about issues they’re tackling in the food system: from resilience, to sustainability, to global food security and beyond.


Ernest House, Jr.
In this episode of Food for Thought, we talk to Ernest House, Jr., senior policy director at the Keystone Institute and enrolled member of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe. When tribal communities in southwest Colorado struggled to access food during the pandemic, local leaders rose to the challenge. Ernest shares insights from current efforts to increase community food access, which include production, aggregation and distribution strategies. Ernest also reflects on how historical agricultural practices across tribes point toward innovative solutions to feed their communities today.

Past Interviews

Sarah Wentzel-Fisher
In this episode of Food for Thought, we talk to Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, executive director of Quivira Coalition. Sarah believes that the future of resilient agriculture relies upon connecting experienced ranchers with new and beginning ones. She and host Matt Barry discuss what makes mentorship in the ag sector unique, how to forge meaningful relationships between older and younger producers, and why these experiences are critical to the success of the regenerative movement in the West.

Matt Vernon
Matt Vernon blends business acumen with hospitality experience in his role as senior manager of social enterprise with Focus Points Family Resource Center. In this episode, Matt shares insights from Focus Points’ social enterprise efforts, ranging from the pioneering Comal Heritage Food Incubator to the newly launched Huerta Urbana and Lost City Market programs. We focus on how Matt and his team are working to “flip the script” on food access, emphasizing locally-grown food going to those who may not be able to afford it.

Meriwether Hardie, chief operating officer of Bio-Logical Capital, knows the first step to protecting working lands in Colorado is connecting human health to the health of the environment. She and host Matt Barry discuss the reintroduction of native species, urban and rural relationships to water, and tools like conservation easements for retaining working landscapes in the West.
Recorded Oct. 16, 2020.

Roberto Meza, co-founder of Emerald Gardens and director of operations for the East Denver Food Hub, is building regional resilience from the ground up. He and host Matt Barry discuss the importance of resilient food systems, the infrastructure needed to bring them about in Colorado, and his project’s potential to connect urban and rural communities from the Eastern Plains to Metro Denver. Recorded July 31, 2020.

Kerri Wright Platais, special advisor to the chancellor on international agriculture for CSU Spur, is creating new platforms for knowledge sharing and policy advocacy on a global scale. She and host Matt Barry discuss Kerri’s work creating the North American Agriculture Advisory Network (NAAAN), its role in disseminating biodefense best practices, and how these efforts relate to current and future pandemics. Recorded June 26, 2020.

Adrian Card, agricultural extension agent with CSU Extension in Boulder County, looks toward innovative solutions to move the needle on sustainable food systems here in Colorado. He and host Matt Barry discuss shifting consumer behavior and the local food movement, human resource risks and the role of technology on farms, and the importance of bridge building for the future of agriculture. Recorded May 29, 2020.

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