The Mountain-Ear is located at:
20 E. Lakeview Drive, Unit 109 (inside Brightwood Music).
Our mailing address is PO Box 99, Nederland, CO 80466.

Phone: (303) 810-5409
Email: info@themountainear.com
Website: www.themtnear.com

Homegrown health for the communityFree Access



 

Arwen Ek, the Founding Director of the Holistic Homestead, describes the origin of her business better than anyone else could:

“The Homestead started with a cough. When my husband came down with a cough in 2015, Dr. Bea Knight sent him home with four dried herbs in bags and told him to make a strong tea and drink it every day.

“I knew he wouldn’t brew herbal tea, let alone drink it, so I added sugar and lemon, and boiled it down until it was a thick, sweet, throat-coating syrup. Not only did he take his medicine, but it worked! “Dr. B’s Cough Syrup” has been in production ever since.

“Everyone needs access to good, simple food and medicine that is effective and affordable. It wasn’t enough for me to start a for-profit business – I wanted to bring the medicine to our community, to teach people how to identify, harvest and use wild herbs as food and medicine. I wanted to be able to give healthy food and medicine for free to the people who need it most. I wanted to create a sustainable model of holistic health and wellness for the world.”

That’s a pretty ambitious task to take on. But in the seven years since Ek began preaching and teaching to the community, she has come an extraordinarily long way.

She notes, “Since 2015 we have been active in the Peak to Peak community, publishing health and wellness articles for The Mountain-Ear, organizing the free collection and distribution of Used Durable Medical Equipment, bringing our Hands On Health for Kids! programs to local schools and libraries, founding the Holistic Health Fair and Gilpin County Farmers Market, and finally opening our Market & Cafe where we carry fresh, organic produce, pantry staples and bulk, and serve delicious and healthy meals on a pay-what-you-can model.”

The Holistic Homestead is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, “dedicated to increasing health literacy, building healthy communities and advocating for the medically underserved.” Anyone who has ever been involved in setting up such an organization knows how much time and effort and paperwork is involved in that task. Keeping up the designation is also time-consuming. All the more to Ek’s credit.

Meanwhile, she just carries on with her vital work. “I’ve had a few people tell me over the years that the vision for a natural foods market and cafe in Gilpin County will never work. I’ve been told that we should give up the non-profit status for a for-profit business model.

“While it certainly hasn’t been easy, we have been growing slowly and steadily since 2015. Our vision has grown organically as a response to the needs of our community. In addition to our pay-what-you-can cafe, we donate fresh, organic produce to local nonprofits and host a free produce pantry every Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m.

“Our Community Food Share supports local farmers and brings fresh, organic produce to Gilpin County. Our vision of improving health and wellness through education, outreach and advocacy encompasses preventive medicine, nutrition, health literacy, health equity, and building sustainable food systems for individual, community, and planetary health…. Our programs and services including Used Durable Medical Equipment lending closets, Hands-On-Health for Kids! classes, grocery delivery and event catering, span the Peak to Peak region from Central City to Allenspark!”

Talking about the business itself, Ek says, “We currently have four wonderful employees: Assistant Managers Teri Metallo and Valerie Jacobson, Market Manager Imy Rich, and me, the Director… We wouldn’t be here without our growing membership and dedicated volunteers!

“It is nothing short of a miracle that we are still here, going and growing with and for the community. We just expanded our hours; now open on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.! Our pay-what-you can cafe is serving hot and healthy meals every Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will continue to expand our Market & Cafe hours, increase our inventory, and grow our community events.”

Still, “Slow and steady wins the race. I am proud of our sustainable growth, keeping the long-term viability of our vision in mind, and I am very proud of how far we’ve come with no debt. Since 2015 we have doubled in size every year – even during the pandemic! We are so grateful for the momentum the community support has given us to expand our positive impact on health and wellness.”

Ek concludes by telling us that “My absolute favorite thing is when someone comes into the Homestead Market for the first time and they say, ‘Wow! This is such a wonderful thing for our community!’ or ‘I am so glad you’re here, now I don’t have to go down to the city for a tomato!’ I love meeting the many many amazing people in our community who are passionate about good food, and ensuring this invaluable resource continues to stay open for everyone.”

You will find the Holistic Homestead at 972 Golden Gate Canyon Road, Suite 100, in mid-Gilpin County. Their website is at theholistichomestead.org; Facebook is at www.facebook.com/theholistichomestead. Telephone is 303-582-3001.

Sponsored by Gilpin County, with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.