After much needed rest and rejuvenation over the holiday season, the Living Roots team is back in action. Three months have rapidly passed by since our last posting, so it's about time to "back the burro up" and share a few noteworthy highlights.
Fiesta Success: December 16, 2010
First and foremost, we'd like to thank everyone who came out for our inaugural fundraising fiesta. Nearly 100 people descended upon the Fort Collin's Brewery to support Living Roots... and, of course, bust a few salsa moves. Thanks to everyone's dancing feet and silent auction bidding, Living Roots raised enough money to launch operations in Baja this January. Again, a special thanks goes out to The Fort Collins Brewery, the Public Service Credit Union, Lupita's Mexican Restaurant, and to everyone who donated to our silent auction; without their generous contributions, the event would not have been possible.
San Javier Days / Sales Trial: December 2-4, 2010
In the midst of preparing for final exams and presentations, pulling a final business plan together, and planning a fundraiser, McKenzie, Mila and Colleen scooted down to Baja for Living Roots' sales trial. The team was joined by their faithful advisor, Professor Asad Aziz, for a few days of delicious shared taco plates, much success, even more fun, and as always, valuable lessons learned.
The team earned booth space right in front of the Mission of San Javier, the heart and center of festival activities. From sun-up to well past sun-down there was traditional music, food, dancing, and lively processions on horseback - all in honor of Saint San Javier, the town's
namesake. Thousands of people from all over Baja came to participate in the three-day celebration.
Throughout the festival, sierra artisans came down from their ranches to help (wo)man our booth, and had the opportunity to talk with festival-goers from all over the state about ranchero products and culture. Sierra-made wine and honey were an especially huge hit. The artisans also helped us sell over two hundred raffle tickets. Much interest and excitement was generated for the artisans, their products, and Living Roots' mission.
All said and done, the sales trial generated enough pesos not only to pay our artisans, but also compensate Living Roots' community representatives and fund our first traditional skills training workshop of 2011!
Graduation: December 17, 2010
The December sales trial was certainly the icing on the several layered cake of our GSSE experience, and yet with so many other accomplishments to savor, the actual earning of three letters (MBA) and a piece of paper seemed, well, no big deal. With that said, it was a tremendous honor to finally sport our gowns, toss our caps, and toast the evening away with our fellow cohorts, forever our GSSE family.
Living Roots - The Real Thing
No longer just a school project, Living Roots became a non-profit organization and celebrated its "first birthday" on November 14, 2010, when it filed its Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State. Two months later, on January 12, 2011 Living Roots gathered at The Wild Boar (coffee shop where we had our first meeting more than a year ago) and held our first official board meeting. We ratified board members, did some strategic planning, and sent McKenzie, Living Roots' Executive Director and ever fearless leader, off to Baja for the unforeseen future. She is already busy organizing a follow-up meeting with the San Javier community and getting a booth ready for an event celebrating ranchero culture this coming Friday. Much more to come from the field as Living Roots begins to launch its programs!
Visit our website for more information about what we're doing to help protect Baja sierra culture - www.livingrootsbaja.org.
As always, thank you for keeping up to speed with Living Roots.
We hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and is feeling healthy and energized for this exciting new year!