If you don’t know her, Kris Holstrom has been a community organizing leader in San Miguel County and the Western Slope for many decades. As Commissioner for the last 3 3/4 years she has been involved in many discussions and brings the concerns of District 3 to the BOCC table. In 2018 and 2019 she served as Chair of the BOCC drawing on her experience as Chair of the SMC Planning Commission from 2009-20105.
Family – She and her husband John, who works at the Telluride library, have been together for 33 years. They raised two kids on Hastings Mesa, above Placerville, Colorado. Kirk, now almost 30, graduated from Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area of California with his wife, Elena Higuchi as she finishes her medical residency. Kelsey, 27, graduated from the Evergreen State College and lives in Renton, Washington with her partner Rich 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 and her farm manager oversee farm 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.
Prior to being elected commissioner, Kris worked 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 ongoing with a goal of creating 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.
Kris was 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 ”