SUNRISE RANCH OFFERS CONCERTS AS WELL AS RETREATS
by Jessica Benes
Sunrise Ranch is not-for-profit retreat for spiritual development, self-actualization and learning about authenticity and transparency. “People can relax and let loose from the grind and get deeper into workshops they’re coming for,” said Robbie Robbins, director of program development.
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Fort Collins Coloradoan – March 19, 2013
LOVELAND — A small herb garden and plentiful grove of fruit trees sit just steps from the kitchen, easily accessible and vibrant in the crisp light of early spring. Rivulets of water escape from under mounded snow piles and muddy the sandy garden soil. In such a serene setting, nature speaks emphatically. Chef Joel Navejas, executive chef of Farm to Table Culinary Academy, has been listening, and says the message is driving his dream.
In a valley a few miles west of Loveland, on the 400-acre Sunrise Ranch, Navejas is heading a new cooking school that teaches harmonious interaction with food. He hopes to help established chefs and those beginning their cooking careers to rethink their connections with food, and to get their hands dirty in the process.
“We actually get a chance to interact with food throughout its life cycle,” Navejas said. “We know exactly how the food is grown. We’re harvesting directly to the kitchen and we’re making a meal the same day the food is harvested.”
The academy will take advantage of the bounty of the ranch, including grass-fed beef, organic vegetables, pastured poultry, eggs, fruit and grains. Culinary students, with the help of resident Sunrise Ranch community members, will help steward the land and animals, and in that way, Navejas said, become more conscious of the natural cycles of life.
“We’re focusing on our carbon footprint,” Navejas said, “getting away from the industrial complex and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) completely.”
For Navejas, that purposeful move is all about lifestyle and health. As a 10-year-old, he worked on huge farms as a migrant worker harvesting potatoes in Idaho and Oregon. “They’d dump chemicals on those fields,” he said. “We didn’t think much of it then; it was part of the job.” Later, he moved to San Francisco to attend California Culinary Academy and said he began to see how important GMO- and pesticide-free foods are as part of a healthy lifestyle. He frequented fruit stands and met with local farmers, using as much local produce as he could in his recipes. “The things you put in affect how you are and feel,” Navejas said.
In Colorado, Navejas worked at Biaggis in Loveland, opened both Rustic Ovens and cooked at Crown Pub in Old Town. But his time as executive chef at Whole Foods provided the “big piece,” for him, he said. “That’s where I got my food education. And now I’m coming full circle,” he said, “putting my hands back in the soil.” Navejas, who has been executive chef at Sunrise Ranch for eight months, is working toward accreditation for the new school, which he says will probably take two to three years.
The six to eight students of the inaugural class of the academy will learn how to make dishes that follow the offerings of the seasons, according to Navejas. They’ll also learn traditional skill sets and food presentation, as well as how to cook with various fresh produce to preserve nutrients and maximize flavor.
“We already have four students, and we’re still accepting applications,” Navejas said. The hands-on curriculum, which runs seven months from April through October, costs $3,500; more for housing onsite.
Gary Goodhue, a member of Sunrise Ranch community and kitchen worker, said the recipes are far from ordinary. “There’s an amazing array of culinary cuisine, from all around the world — there’s Mediterranean, Asian, Caribbean and African. The diversity of cuisine that can be created while still maintaining a healthy style of food is just incredible.”
Submitted by Gary Goodhue following participation in “The Opening”
Creative expressions springing forth from the mind, flowing from the depth of the love of imagination.
Splashing together through color and form creating collages of sizes and shapes as perceived coalescing into a picture born from inner sight.
We move and merge together creating substance.
Viewed from the eyes of another as art and beauty,
An excitement rooted in peace as each individual finds their own unique form of creative expression.
Gary Goodhue is an author, actor, poet and spiritual aspirant. Gary has been exploring universal success principles, personal development and spiritual concepts for most of his life. He has studied at the School of Metaphysics, as well as teaching classes and serving as branch director for one of their sixteen school centers. He was also involved with the Community of Light and is currently living at Sunrise Ranch, headquarters of the Emissaries of Divine Light. He is involved in their Full Self Emergence Program and serves in multiple capacities on the ranch and in the community. He works within different departments and also has started participating in the EDL ministry program, sharing spiritual truth and reciting original works of poetry, as well as writing blog articles for the website. Gary is looking forward to deepening his relationship with the Emissaries and serving in greater capacities as the spirit of love expresses through him into larger levels of manifestation and experience.