We had the good fortune of connecting with Louise Barden and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Louise, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Community is behind it all. From our local Durango community to our growing community of outdoor enthusiasts and environmentalists. We really couldn’t do it without you.

When we launched Farm to Summit, we knew we were in the right place to do so. Durango is a hub for folks seeking a life outdoors and who are looking to support their local economy. And, with our model we not only get to work along side these outdoor enthusiasts, but we also get to work with our local farmers! Durango is an easy place to adventure, and a difficult place to farm- with spontaneous water availability, extreme temperatures, hail, and everything else this desert meets mountains landscape offers. Even so, we have an abundance of farmers who work day in day out to cultivate the land in as sustainable of a way as possible. Working with them to ensure that none of their hard work goes to waste feels right. We are striving to create a strong seconds market, where everyone wins- farmers make money, waste is reduced, and Farm to Summit gains some super delicious ingredients!

In this coming year, we are looking forward to collaborating with new farmers and adventurers alike! As our community grows, we grow- and with that we hope to do as much good for our community as possible.

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.
The merging of my background in ecological research with Jane’s knowledge of business and background in farming has truly made Farm to Summit what is is today. With a masters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from CU Boulder, I have devoted the last decade of my life to researching the impacts of climate change on some of the most delicate ecosystems across the world- from North Carolina to South Africa, Colorado, and most recently California. I am passionate about making a difference in the way we, as humans, interact with our planet and am excited to bring this passion to Farm to Summit. We created our business model to represent what we believe- compostable packaging, messaging around climate change, reduction of waste in agriculture, clean eating, and more time spent outdoors! This part came easily- its who we are. As we grow, I am learning to merge my scientific mind with business… and have found that the thinking is actually quite similar. We are constantly forming hypotheses, testing our hypotheses, analyzing results, drawing conclusions and repeating the process. Its actually quite fun!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, we cant give away our favorite spots in nature- and neither should you! One of our favorite things about Durango is the amount of public land that we get to explore. Drive down any dirt road as far as your car will take you, and start hiking or biking- you wont be disappointed. Our other favorite thing about this area is the food. For a mountain town of our size, we’re doing pretty well with our foodie scene. Burgers from 2nd ave Deli, sushi from East By South West… or our most guilty pleasure, the surf and turf from The Ore House. But really nothing beats a happy hour marg and a giant plate of nachos from Zia’s roof top cantina after a long mountain bike ride.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
BIG thanks to the Good Food Collective and Durango Artisan Foods, renting their commercial dehydrator (aka the space ship) and kitchen space has truly made this possible.

Website: www.farmtosummit.com

Instagram: /farmtosummit

Facebook: /farmtosummit

Image Credits
Photo of meal and jet boil (Cat Jaffee), photo of bags held in air with mountain in background (Carrie Phillips), photo of chile mocha (Riley Seebeck), photo of meal over grand canyon (Taylor Fulton). Otherwise photos by Louise Barden.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.