By Greg Glasgow
From community-supported agriculture and farm-to-table restaurants to bestselling books by Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver, fresh, local food is all the rage in culinary America.
The problem, says Lisa Rogers, is that fresh and local isn’t as easy to come by as people think. All looks good at Whole Foods and the local farmers’ markets, but factor in conventional supermarkets and the majority of restaurants and we still live in an economy in which less than 0.1 percent of the food eaten by Coloradans is grown in Colorado.
Rogers (MBA ’99), who founded the north Denver coffeehouse Common Grounds in 1992 first became aware of the issue while working as a consultant for other restaurants and small businesses.
“One of the many things I was doing for restaurants was sourcing local supplies and foods and that sort of thing, and it was during that time that the ‘all restaurants want to be local’ fad started,” she says. “Every farm I called was so overwhelmed — they couldn’t get back to me, they really couldn’t promise anything, they had so many clients they could barely keep up with them.
“I realized that even though there were all these restaurants opening saying they get local, they really can’t be. To a certain extent, they’ll get a local thing here and there, but we do not produce the food that we need in Colorado, even for restaurants.”
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