“For one, they were the first go-to place for natural meats in the Colorado Springs area. Their products are incomparable. Not only that, but they provide so many benefits to the community. Poopapalooza? We live for that! We look forward to using the manure to supplement our soil. For a gardener, it’s a real premium item, and they make it available to everyone. I think what they are doing is right on.” –Arlene Hinton, Blue Skies Organics/market vendor

“Many in this community have contributed to a shift in the local food system. I think it’s always a collaboration. But I think Ranch Foods Direct, and especially Mike Callicrate, have brought awareness around local food issues and made it possible for institutions to buy local. He’s very vocal, and I think that’s good. There’s a place for diplomacy, but if we’re always holding back, we’re never shifting anything.” – Nanna Meyer, UCCS assistant professor of sports nutrition; Olympic nutrition consultant

“I find out about a lot of new businesses through the Ranch Foods Direct market because they sell so many cottage-type products. It’s also the first place where I heard about how to buy meat in bulk.”  – Bonnie Simon, urban homesteader; local business booster; blogger at HungryChickenHomestead.com

“Mike Callicrate is such a strong, vocal, knowledgeable advocate. His approach is what this community needs. It’s a wake-up call. He knows policy but is also involved at the grassroots level. He under-stands what growers need and what consumers want.” – Susan Gordon, pictured, farmer and manager of Venetucci Farm

Ranch Foods Direct has put a local food source in front of every person’s face on a daily basis in many, many locations around town. It’s huge. If I see a restaurant that sources from Ranch Foods Direct, I know they care.” – Nicole Fetterhoff, manager, Colorado Farm and Art Market

They offer meat that comes from cows that have been treated humanely and fed the right things to taste good. You can go see the meat, order the cuts you want, and they’ll cut it for you. I’m happy when I go into a restaurant and they have that little sign that they sell Ranch Foods Direct meat. It’s nice, too, that the schools now have an alternative.”  -Debbie Lacey, speech therapist, local food enthusiast

Now I actually do ask restaurants where they get their meat because I want to know it’s from a source that’s ethical. The leadership this organization has shown in the community is great, and it’s necessary, as a catalyst for starting a local food revolution. I believe solutions are always local.”  – Nancy Fortuin, Urban gardener; military retiree;  lifelong environmentalist