We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Coppom and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Wrong. This thinking makes us lazy by justifying negative outcomes. I’m confident we can do better. We don’t need to sacrifice our soil or water in order to grow food. We don’t need to sacrifice other people or our planet to live full lives.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I came to Boulder County Farmers Markets by way of a career in telecommunications and, before that, a technology startup. In some ways, making the transition from for-profit capitalism to nonprofit food system work was easy because I needed something different, something more meaningful. It was also challenging, though, because it meant accepting that I had spent many years on a path that wasn’t a good fit for me. The transition was worth every bit of challenge it presented. After seven years at Boulder County Farmers Markets, I still feel like I have one of the best jobs imaginable. Everyday, I get to work with people who are passionate, smart, enjoyable, and community driven.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
No surprises here: the itinerary would be centered around local food. We would start on the evening of my best friend’s arrival by washing away travel stress with pozole and margaritas at Summit Tacos in Longmont. High quality, delicious, thoughtful, and low-key. The rest of the week would include days of active outings in Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking the Mesa Trail, and a couple of volunteer days on area farms to get our hands in the dirt. Daytime eating would be lean to guarantee ready hunger to be unleashed on evenings spread between Bramble and Hare and the Post in Boulder, dinner at Fruition and Beast & Bottle in Denver, and a tour of local breweries with Brewhop Trolley. The goal will be a week filled with fresh air, local food, and plenty of Colorado personality.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m certain any of the successes I have had are thanks mostly to the people around me- from my staff who are passionate and always ready for a new challenge, to the BCFM board who are supportive and, at times, very patient, to our partners and customers who share our values, and also some to luck. In particular, though, I owe many thanks to my wife, Nancy, for being willing to take this journey into the nonprofit-food-system-world with me. Changing industries meant making changes in our personal life, and she has been with me all the way. Her encouragement and belief gave me the space I needed to wholeheartedly commit myself to this work, and experience the fulfillment it has brought.
Ashton Ray Hansen