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To obtain more information about The Ranching Way of Life DVD please either contact Kim Smoyer, ScSEED Program & Development Director at 719-655-2775 or by eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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What's NEXT for the Ranching Way of Life Video Project?
ScSEED received two grants from Saguache County Sales Tax and from El Pomar Foundation San Luis Valley Regional Council to support Phase 4 of The Ranching Way of Life video project. The “Don’t Fence Me In” video series celebrates and showcases the agricultural heritage of the San Luis Valley. To date, 100 hours of footage covering four seasons of ranching activities, ranching relics and interviews with long-time ranchers, and several annual Ranching Celebration events, have been filmed. A 10-minute trailer (see video below) for marketing purposes and a 30+ minute feature called "The Ranching Way of Life" in two versions – one for general and one for young audiences, plus theme based supplemental segments, has been completed. The documentary will be accompanied by a written curriculum packet and vocabulary list in preparation to introduce throughout the San Luis Valley (including Saguache County) to teach Colorado ranching history in K-12 classrooms. Past support from Colorado Council on the Arts and El Pomar Foundation San Luis Valley Regional Council enabled ScSEED to complete the filming, editing and production of the actual DVD. It also provided funds for starting the development of the curriculum. Now we are anxious to get this product out to the general public and more specifically the youth of the San Luis Valley.
The students and adults who live in the urban areas and bedroom communities of Colorado are often unaware of the ranchers and cowboys who work in rural areas producing meat, milk, fiber, and other animal by-products. While some are aware of mass-producing factory farms, these citizens may lose the opportunity to appreciate the ranching heritage of rural Colorado. The documentary components and archived interviews will serve to share and preserve the history and traditions of this occupational art.
How many Coloradoans know that lambing and calving entail 24-hour watches in sub-zero temperatures in order to ensure the warming and survival of the new offspring? How many of us recognize the losses associated with auctioning off cattle when there is not enough water to grow the hay needed to feed them? The art of ranching and the way of life it entails is not commonly understood in the urbanized world of today. What threads of knowledge, tradition and meaning have kept ranching families rooted to their land and life style for generations despite the hardships? There is joy, harmony, relevance, and authenticity in this way of life and it is communicated in the arts and activities of these Valley families.
The complete documentary package will be actively marketed and showcased around the state in schools and a variety of general audience venues to Colorado residents, visitors, and potential residents. The youth version of “The Ranching Way of Life” is targeted to younger elementary school classes. Introducing the video into SLV classrooms is a primary focus of Phase 4.
Our approach is to put the video directly into the hands, and subsequently the hearts, of the next generation by providing a free video and curriculum packet to each elementary school (18 total) in the San Luis Valley; and, by providing a professional storyteller, Peggy Godfrey, who has been directly involved in this project from the start and has been ranching for over 34 years, to present the material and answer questions. Peggy Godfrey has been invited to attend the August 2008 San Luis Valley BOCES meeting of superintendents and other faculty to present the curriculum and obtain approval for this Phase 4 activity.
Locally, those who are not actively involved in the ranching lifestyle are not immersed in the history and art of this occupation, thus they are often unfamiliar with the way of life that surrounds them. Roughly one out of three Valley families are in some way involved in agriculture, leaving more than half that are not directly involved in agribusiness. Many of them have re-located here as suburban families choosing to leave the city for a more rural lifestyle. These transplanted families will be offered a more intimate glimpse and explanation of the natural land-based rhythms and cycles around them, providing them a deeper sense of place.
Saguache County, Colorado – June 12, 2008 – ScSEED, a local non-profit organization, has just released the final version of “The Ranching Way of Life” a video documentary, which received funding from the Colorado Council on the Arts and El Pomar Foundation. The film is a cultural heritage and occupational arts project that captures seasonal ranching activities, stories, poems, interviews, and music that celebrate ranching. Building on the success of the Annual Ranching Celebration (hosted by ScSEED for eight years), this documentary includes the 30-minute feature “The Ranching Way of Life” for general audiences and a shortened version for youth (26:22), plus supplemental themed segments (Branding 4:21; Ethics 7:21; Neighbors 7:14; Stories 27:07; Message for Youth 5:39). Copies of the DVD are available for $10 from ScSEED (www.scseed.org) and at local merchants throughout the SLV.
Those featured in the documentary are long-time residents of the San Luis Valley. Some represent families who have lived here for more than 100 years. Their arts include storytelling, music, poetry, lyrics and jokes that flow from this ranching way of life. Their arts also include the occupational activities of haying, branding, calving, cattle driving, shearing, and irrigating. Hunting, trapping, antler/bone carving, woodcarving, tanning hides, rawhide braiding and leather work are also artistic skills enjoyed by and useful to ranchers. Ranches are scattered across the vast 30 mile wide and 100-mile long valley and into the side canyons of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
A total of 37 individuals have been filmed on-site and on-stage at the Ranching Celebration, many of whom are included in this documentary. The agricultural lifestyle, ranching traditions, family farms - all are intrinsic to the heritage of Colorado and all are threatened in today's economy. The threat of exportation of water to urban areas, the power of large agri-business to take control of markets, the drain of traditional knowledge as youth migrate to urban centers: these are a few of the reasons that ranching is becoming an art to be preserved and shared.
ScSEED is a grassroots community organization comprised of the citizens it serves. ScSEED’s mission is to work together as a community to develop a sustainable economy that builds on existing strengths, contributes to a strong integrated community, and protects the environment, rural lifestyle and character of Saguache County. The Ranching Way of Life video project addresses the community building, cooperative enterprise, and protection of community character and rural lifestyle that ScSEED aims to foster.
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