The Collective Plate: A Celebration of Farm and Food

Photos: Becca Simonds

Colorado Collective presents: The Collective Plate

COCO's farm dinner series is a celebration of farm and food. It is our desire to create a unique and authentic setting in which the community gathers to enjoy not only a four course meal but beverage pairings thanks to Cheers Liquor Mart. The chefs selected are some of the best in the region and along with Corner Post's meat, COCO will provide an unforgettable evening. The dinners  take place on Sunday's at 5:30pm at Corner Post's new location on Hodgen Rd. Every dinner will look and taste different so you will never have the same experience twice. 

Dinner Dates: June 21, July 12, July 26, August 9, September 13, September 27

A Look into Crestone, CO

Words and Photos by Ericka Kastner

Nestled in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo moutnains, Crestone is home to more than 20 diverse spiritual centers, reflecting nearly all the major religions of the world. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Monastcism, Indegnous teachings, Sufism and Muslim beliefs are just a few of the sects represented and observed in this deeply ethereal valley. Practitioners, retreatants and residents model coexistence on a daily basis and regularly support one another, not in spite of, but rather because of their individual devotional practices. Nowhere is this more clear than at the Universal Ashram, where figures of the Virgin Marly can be seen resting beside those of the Buddha and various Hindu gods throughout the property. Inside the entrance to the ashram, a sign reads, "See God in Others."

Informal sanctuaries for meditation and prayer are dispersed throughout the mountains and forests surrounding Crestone as well. Archeological finds, faded and weathered prayer flags shrug between trees and makeshift stone benches build beside creek beds, exist as evidence that sacred ceremonies have performed here for hundreds of years.

A visit to Crestone would encompass a day to visit a handful of spiritual centers in the area, or a more personal retreat and study. To get there from Colorado Springs, follow US 24/285 west and south 139 miles to CO-17 in Saguache County. Travel 14 miles on CO-17. Just past the town of Moffat, take County Road T east for 12 miles to Crestone. Visitors are typically welcome between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but calling ahead is encouraged as some centers are closed for spiritual retreats during certain times of the year. 

Crestone, CO

The Luminous Natalie Tate

Words: Mundi Ross

Video: Kendall Rock

We spent the day with the ever so talented Natalie Tate to learn more about her as a musician and chat about her upcoming album. She released her debut record, Given Day, and is currently working on a 2nd album with members of Denver’s Chimney Choir and The Still Tide. If you have had a chance to see Ark LIfe you may recognize her on lead guitar. She is busy these days sharing her talent with multiple acts around Denver. Natalie is a talented song writer and coupled with a brilliant voice she is a tour de force in the Colorado music scene.  Natalie is definitely not someone you want to miss next time she plays Colorado Springs. Promise.

The Snow Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photos by Becca Simonds

The Snow-Storm


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,

Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,

Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air

Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,

And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.

The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet

Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.

Out of an unseen quarry evermore

Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer

Curves his white bastions with projected roof

Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work

So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he

For number or proportion. Mockingly,

On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;

A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;

Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,

Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,

A tapering turret overtops the work.

And when his hours are numbered, and the world

Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,

Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art

To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,

Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,

The frolic architecture of the snow.

CC Student and Writer Brendan Chin Saying Hello from...


Bom dia from Portugal!

Today marks the second month of being in a different country. 59 days of farming are coming to a close, and for the next 30 days I will be absorbing as much of Spain and Morocco as possible (and finally fleeing back to the United States before my 90 days without a visa expires). It seems rather comical that I am finally writing this brief check-in from a packed bus en route from Lisbon to Coimbra, given the ample opportunities for reflection I have had during non-work hours. I have taken a semester off from Colorado College and writing for Colorado Collective to submerge myself in the European farming community and learn what sustainable agriculture looks like for other countries.

Self-indulgence aside, the past two months have gone by faster than I could ever have imagined. During my stay I have worked on three farms; each farm in a different location with a different climate, accommodation, number of volunteers, work schedule, belief, practice, method and more. Portugal itself — depending on the region — seems to have pleasant farming conditions, from my experience. Although some years are wetter or drier, and the farming is by no means easy (is it ever?), most farms have had consistently well-established agriculture. I have been exposed to work with various animals, plants, and herbs, as well as other farm work, including but not limited to: welding a greenhouse, building a fence, sanding bird houses, pruning trees, cooking meals, restoring an old farmhouse, retrofitting a workshop, planting seedlings and propagating, and leveling raised beds for future crops.

With my life as a farmer coming to an end, for the time being, I can now say several things. First, it has been time well spent. Exposure to a real-world classroom, with all its oddities and intricacies, has taught me more than a book on permaculture or farming ever could: I have dirt under my fingernails, rather than paper cuts and a mild headache, from getting out there and just trying it. Second, this trip has reaffirmed my passion for sustainable agriculture and self-reliance. I have developed a deeper respect for small things I might not have appreciated before I left. The time, energy, sweat, rain, wind, sun and other factors that go into an apple or a pine nut can't be accounted for on a price tag.

Finally, for the sake of brevity, meeting different people — from many different nationalities, each with their own languages and customs — has given me, knowingly or unknowingly, a unique look into the spectacular phenomenon that occurs when like-minded people come together. Dreams are reached, knowledge is passed on, and — speaking for myself — a hell of a lot of growing (pun not intended) happens.

Floyd D. Tunson: Chasing the Elephants out of the Room

Floyd D. Tunson holds a master's degree in studio art. His work is in the collections of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Denver Art Museum, the Kaiser Permanente corporation, the Walter O. Evans Collection of African-American Art and the collection of Polly and Mark Addison. Tunson's eclecticism includes photography, printmaking, drawing, painting, mixed media and sculpture.

Directed by Clifton Johnson Jr. / Luke Atencio / Wylene Carol
Director of Photography: Clifton Johnson Jr.
Produced by Wylene Carol
Music, Edit, Color Grade: Luke Atencio
Special thanks to Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for giving us access to the Son Of Pop exhibition by Floyd D. Tunson.

A note from Luke Atencio:
In addition to being a prolific artist, Mr. Tunson is also an art educator and was my high school art teacher. He has been one of the most important creative influences in my life and the lives of so many of my classmates.