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Letter From The Editor: Stampeding to Greeley

Opinion

One of the strengths of Food Safety News is that it is not all in one place. Since its inception, Food Safety News kept a presence in Washington D.C., Seattle, and Denver. In addition of course we’ve used contributing writers and freelancers from all points on the map.

I’ve always thought geography is important. Even in our wired world, who and what we see and do in the physical world remains critical to how we view the real world.  It is in that spirit that I feel compelled to disclose that I have traded Denver or at least its massive arch of western suburbs for Greeley.

I think this is going to be good for me, and for Food Safety News. Let me tell you why and then I will give you the lay of the land.

Relocating to Greeley is going to put me in touch with more people who are potential sources for stories. Not only is Weld County one of nation’s major farm counties practicing irrigated agriculture on a massive scale with waters flowing from the nearby Rocky Mountains, but also Greeley is major food production center, especially dairy and beef.

The North American headquarters of JBS is located in Greeley, along with one of the company’s biggest beef processing plants with a history that dates back to 1960.

Now I am not the first to be attracted to this concentration of food and agricultural activity. Harvest Public Media is already here doing good work. It is a collection of NPR affiliates, including KUNC in Greeley, dedicated to covering farm and food issues.

While Denver will remain only an hour away, I am told you have arrived in Northern Colorado when you do not go down that road casually.  Greeley and its neighboring cities of Fort Collins and Loveland aren’t Denver suburbs and you don’t need to go anywhere.

Greeley was of course named for Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune and his agriculture editor, Nathan Meeker, who was the one who invited applications for “A Western Colony” that would be formed at the confluence of the South Fork and Cache la Pourde Rivers. More than 3,000 responded and Meeker took only the best of best.

The Greeley he built was so straight-laced and orderly that local historians say the jail was used only to store buffalo hides. While Horace Greeley apparently only visited the city named for him once, in 1870, it was a resounding success. Forty years later, the Great American Desert, with those mountain waters had turned surrounding Weld County into a true Garden of Eden.

There seems to be an endless fascination to how Greeley works.  The city did not allow liquor by the drink until 1969, but its sense of order did not please everyone.

Sayyid Qutb, radical leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, left Greeley after a stint at the Colorado State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Colorado) feeling that western culture was too materialistic and barbarian. He apparently did not like seeing young men and women holding hands or going to dances.  Qutb’s reaction to Greeley, some say, is what brought on Al-Qaeda.

We’ve arrived during the 91st running of the Greeley Stampede, a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) event by day with country stars by night. Put me down for Josh Turner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Trace Atkins.

There will be time enough to finish moving and unpacking when the rodeo leaves town.

© Food Safety News
  • doc raymond

    Editor Flynn, you mention your new neighboring towns of Fort Collins and Loveland but erroringly left out Windsor, which I call home, and is closer than either of your other two “neighbors”. For that, Mr. Marler shall buy me a beer and you will apologize :)