Kris Holstrom has been a community organizing leader in San Miguel County and the Western Slope for many decades. She served on the San Miguel County Planning Commission for 20 years and was Chair from 2009-2015.
Family – She and her husband John, who works at the Telluride library, have been together for 29 years. They raised two kids on Hastings Mesa, above Placerville, Colorado. Kirk, now 25, graduated from Stanford University and lives in San Diego with his fiancee Elena. Kelsey, 23, graduated from the Evergreen State College and lives in Olympia, Washington. The family dog, Taos came from Second Chance and keeps bears and coyotes away from their home on Tomten Farm.
Home – Tomten Farm is a solar-powered, permaculture-based “more than organic” farm at 9000’ elevation. Vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs are grown and sold at local farmers’ markets and restaurants. Kris manages 3 – 8 interns each year in conjunction with SWIRL (Southwest Institute for Resilience). The interns work on the farm in exchange for room and board, classes and hands-in-the-dirt experience in farming, gardening and sustainable living skills. Kris provides farm tours and work projects for countless local school groups, the Telluride Academy, college classes, Outward Bound, other educational groups and interested individuals.
Current work – Over the last few months, Kris has been working with the San Miguel County Open Space Commission to help create a pilot Payment for Ecological Services (PES) program focused on Soil Health. This project is designed to create a framework whereby farmers and ranchers could receive payments based on increasing soil health resulting in greater fertility, soil water holding capacity and carbon sequestration.
She is currently project manager for EcoAction Partners on a Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment waste diversion planning grant seeking to determine appropriate locations and operations for a regional composting facility as well as other means of reducing waste going to regional landfills. She and a great crew of folks completed a Waste Composition Study in March, sorting samples of ‘trash’ hauls from the region to see how much could actually have been diverted through recycling or composting.
“I have lived off-grid, using renewable energy, for over 25 years on Hastings Mesa, above Sawpit. I helped organize the first composting efforts at Telluride Bluegrass Festival which expanded in 2004 from composting for vendors to composting for all attendees. That has expanded to where nearly every festival in the region has a composting component. I have supervised crews from 20-40 volunteers who help educate festival attendees about recycling and composting. I’m particularly pleased that with EcoAction Partners we assisted Mountainfilm Festival in reducing their waste stream by 80%.
Over the years I have mentored over 100 farm interns, students from Ft. Lewis College, Prescott College, UC Santa Cruz, Sterling College, two alternative high school students and one Telluride High School Exchange student. I love sharing this incredible place with people and am happy to provide an opportunity for young aspiring agriculturists to learn a bit from the land.
I do my very best to walk my talk, promoting sustainable living skills, individual and community resilience ”