Sustainable Settings to host two-day Harvest Fest |

Sustainable Settings to host two-day Harvest Fest

Staff report
Sustainable Settings' annual Harvest Festival is expanding into a full weekend with seminars by Slow Money and the traditional on-site events at the nonprofit ranch.
Aspen Times file |

Carbondale’s Sustainable Settings is partnering with the Boulder-based nonprofit Slow Money for a weekend of events at the ranch’s annual Harvest Festival.

Events run Sept. 19 and 20.

The festivities will begin with a master class in Snowmass Village led by Slow Money. It brings together investors, donors, food entrepreneurs and other stakeholders who are actively collaborating to build local food systems in Colorado.

“Our events at Slow Money catalyze the flow of capital to organic farms and ranches, processors, distributors, restaurants —the full range of small businesses that are vital to a healthy local economy and food system,” Slow Money founder Woody Tasch said in an announcement. “Sustainable Settings is a working example of it all.”

“Your meal Sunday evening will come from 1,200 feet from your plate.”Brook LeVanSustainable Settings farmer and rancher

Sept. 20 is the on-farm day at Sustainable Settings, with public talks, workshops and tours culminating with music, dancing and the ranch’s annual celebratory Harvest Festival dinner and fundraiser.

Attendees will dine on foods grown and raised on the 244-acre property that is home to Sustainable Settings and prepared by some of the top chefs between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.

“Your meal Sunday evening will come from 1,200 feet from your plate,” said Brook LeVan, the rancher and farmer behind Sustainable Settings.

Added Chef Marc Fischer: “The best thing about Sustainable Settings’ Harvest Fest is its freedom in terms of menu. It’s really a casual affair: primitive cooking facilities, total freedom to create with the freshest ingredients straight out of the fields, meat from animals we have slaughtered and butchered — with many items changing until that point where we plate. The goal is really tasty, creative and bountiful food, served as directly from the earth to the table as possible.”

The talks and workshops during the day at Sustainable Settings will tackle sustainable agriculture, food business, investing and philanthropy.

The featured speakers include Eliot Coleman, an author and organic farmer from Maine who will be awarded the Sustainable Settings Organic Farmer of the Year Award. Also topping the speaker list are Mary Berry, executive director of the Berry Center in Kentucky and daughter of poet, environmentalist and farmer Wendell Berry, and Will Harris, owner and farmer at White Oak Pastures, the largest organic farm in the state of Georgia.

Other speakers and presenters include: Elizabeth Candelario, co-director of Demeter USA, a nonprofit certifier of biodynamic farms and products; Marco Vangelisti, a private investor and co-leader of Slow Money Northern California; Michael Brownlee, co-founder of Local Food Shift, a nonprofit organization that builds community resilience and self-reliance; and Stephen Grace, author of “Grow,” a book a about the urban farming movement in Denver.

“Sustainable Settings has been operating for nearly two decades on the principle that if we are to live well in our home places, to be sustainable, we must develop local hubs of production, distribution and consumption,” LeVan said.

The Slow Money master class will run 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at Westin Snowmass. Sustainable Settings’ on-farm day of public talks, conversations, workshops and farm tours begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 20 with dinner at 4 p.m.