Ag Talk 3-15-10 |

Ag Talk 3-15-10

It’s another indicator of the economy.

Bette Blinde, executive director of the Colorado Foundation For Agriculture, had to call in several new volunteers recently to get the latest edition of the Colorado Reader ready for mailing. But instead of the normal 15-20 volunteers needed for the monthly publication, she called in for about 40.

“We got a request from Denver schools for an additional 46,750 copies of this month’s edition. It happens every time there’s a downturn in the economy. Teachers can’t afford to buy new materials and since ours is free, they called us,” Blinde said.

On a normal month during the school year – the reader is aimed at fourth- and fifth-graders in the state – 55,000 copies are printed. This month, 110,000 were printed at the Greeley Tribune, which required the additional volunteers. Most of those volunteers come from Greeley and the surrounding area, with some coming from as far away as Brighton and Adams County.

This month’s issue of the reader is on nutrition, but Blinde said the Denver teachers plan to use the issue to teach technical reading skills as well as learn about nutrition. The nutrition information, she said, is based on current Colorado Content Standards involving math, reading and writing, and science.

The issue was funded by the Colorado Beef Council. Some of the extra copies, Blinde said, will also be used at this year’s Farm-To-School program sponsored by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Last year, an extra 8,000 copies were printed for that program in Colorado Springs, this year an extra 15,000 were printed for the upcoming program in Denver.

The foundation is funded completely by private donations and no state nor federal monies are utilized nor requested, Blinde said. Currently, she said, there are about 100 members of the Adopt a Classroom program which fund $60 a month for the reader. There are several other groups who sponsor various issues during the school year, depending on the subject of each reader. Those range from other agriculture groups to state and city government organizations. Usually, Blinde said, more than one sponsor is involved in a particular printing. Each issue has eight pages.

The foundation, Blinde said, was formed in 1991 and since that time, more than 6 million copies of the reader have been printed and sent to state schools free-of-charge. Issues are printed every month of the school year with the exception of December and May.

She said she has already received requests for extra copies of next month’s issue, on eggs, as well as for the first issue of next fall, the veggies of Colorado issue.

For information on the Colorado Reader or the Colorado Foundation For Agriculture, please contact Bette Blinde, (970) 881-2902 or go to

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