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Carbondale Farm Fest digs its local agriculture

 Carbondale is surrounded by open spaces and agricultural land, as seen here from the Red Hill hiking area.
Kaya Williams
Aspen Public Radio
Carbondale is surrounded by open spaces and agricultural land, as seen here from the Red Hill hiking area. A harvest lunch, farm and ranch tours, and a nighttime farmers market will be part of a three-day festival this weekend.

Carbondale Tourism will toast to local farmers, ranchers and chefs this weekend with Farm Fest, a new three-day event that replaces Oktoberfest.

The festival will raise money to launch a new tourism grant program for local ag and food businesses and a scholarship for Colorado Mountain College’s Sustainability Studies Program.

Tanner Giannetti is the general manager at Spring Creeks Ranch in Carbondale, where there will be a harvest lunch for Farm Fest on Saturday.

His family has operated the working ranch for nearly a century.

He says he has seen sweeping changes in the region’s agricultural landscape, from generational farming families such as his to new faces and new mindsets.

This weekend, he says, Farm Fest participants can learn about the area’s history from the people that are keeping it alive today.

“It'll be a lot of conversational points as far as historical value: What got the families who are still active doing this, and (who) are the people in the valley and their kind of mission as to why and how,” he said. “But I think the big thing is … what the future looks like.”

For the future, he envisions talks on water, development and land use, too.

“Even though this is put on by (Carbondale) Tourism, and it is dependent on those types of (tourist) activities and getting people in, it's also (about) preserving what's here,” he said.

Mark Hardin is a member of the Carbondale Tourism committee and the executive chef at Field 2 Fork Kitchen.

He’s helping coordinate the harvest lunch.

He said Farm Fest is a celebration of the region’s agriculture and an opportunity for education, too.

“I think the valley is known for its food, but people might not know that a lot of that food actually comes from the valley,” he said. “So, I think that's more of the opportunity we have here, is to show people not just that we have good food, but where it's coming from and the people behind that.”

Farm Fest includes a farmers market tonight, farm and ranch tours Saturday, and bike rides and yoga Sunday.

For tickets and more information, go to carbondale.com/farm-fest.

Kaya Williams is the Edlis Neeson Arts and Culture Reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering the vibrant creative and cultural scene in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She studied journalism and history at Boston University, where she also worked for WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe and her beloved college newspaper, The Daily Free Press. Williams joins the team after a stint at The Aspen Times, where she reported on Snowmass Village, education, mental health, food, the ski industry, arts and culture and other general assignment stories.