Ranch Foods Direct owner Mike Callicrate, right, was among the local food enthusiasts who gathered to celebrate the inaugural 160-page edition of Local Food Shift magazine during a special launch party in September. The “nutrient dense” magazine rolled off the presses following a successful online fundraising campaign that brought in more than $12,000 to support the effort. Held at a newly established food cooperative in a West Denver neighborhood, the event gave supporters like Mike a chance to speak about why they consider the new magazine so important.

To make his point, Mike brought to the gathering’s attention a recent news item about the controversial sale of a 60,000-acre ranch that had originally been gifted to the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University for educational and research purposes. Instead, the colleges sold the historic Y Cross Ranch, defending their decision by saying that in 18 years of operation the ranch had generated a net income of barely $235,000, whereas by selling it they received $14.4 million to place in an endowment to fund university programs.

“If universities teaching agriculture can’t make the ranch work, wouldn’t it be nice if they had at least shared that with Americans and let them know that there’s something wrong in rural America?” Mike said. “Wouldn’t it have been nice if Americans would have been told, even as recently as 20 years ago, that the food system was broken? If they’d known, maybe they would have responded differently. Instead they’ve been kept in the dark about what a struggle it is to produce food in this country.”

“Local Food Shift is a hopeful sign that maybe we can get the real story told,” he continued. “(Publisher) Michael Brownlee, thanks to you and your team, hopefully soon more people will know the truth. Most Americans simply don’t have the information they need to act responsibly and make informed choices when they buy their food.”

The premier issue of the magazine includes articles on food democracy and food sovereignty as well as profiles of local farmer-chefs and a section called Local Food at Home, filled with cooking advice and recipes, introduced and compiled by Colorado Springs’ own Nanna Meyer. Mike Callicrate, a guest contributor, reviews the film, Merchants of Doubt. Subscriptions to the beautiful quarterly are available at LocalFoodShift.pub. You can also visit the website to read the articles online. Or pick up a copy at Ranch Foods Direct.