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Farmer wellness resources

Farmer mental and physical wellness is a top priority at Mile High Farmers. Our collective is here to care for one another individually, and lift each other up as a group to advocate for what farmers need. We recognize that collective care for each other’s health and wellness is crucial to building resilient, equitable, and healthy communities and farm systems. For more information on farmer health and wellness, to make suggestions, and to connect with other farmers that care, contact our Farmer Education and Wellness Committee Co-chairs Krystyn "Yy" Dennis and Jon Rodriguez at and

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Information you'll find on this page:

Protect yourself from the Colorado heat

July is Denver's hottest month of the year, with an average high of 88 degrees and low of 62 degrees. Stay cool in these upcoming weeks by:

  • doing most of your hard labor in the earlier morning and evening

  • take frequent breaks in the share or indoors

  • wear a hat with a large brim and light clothes with lots of coverage

  • wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher

  • drink LOTS of water

  • listen to local weather and heat alert information

  • consume food and drink that will give you electrolytes and energy throughout the day

  • know the signs of heat illnesses! (see below)

We know our farmers are already know many of these tips and tricks, but we also acknowledge that prevention and awareness are crucial to preventing heat stress and exhaustion. Farmers should be familiar with the signs of heat illness for utmost safety. For more information, please review these resources:

To our local food systems advocates: continue to support farmers as do the labor of love of farming in the Colorado heat! Frequent farmers markets and farm stands, and volunteer when you can to take the load off of our farmers and farmworkers -- but make sure to heed our advice for staying cool! Visit our supporting farmers page for more information on farmers markets and volunteering.

Farmer physical and mental wellness during smoke season

Denver's typical summertime ozone pollution, combined with smoke drifting in from wildfires across the Western US, has been causing widespread health problems including headaches, sore throat, itchy/irritated eyes, respiratory and sinus conditions, and physical and mental fatigue. To help keep your mind and your body as healthy as possible until conditions improve, please consider doing the following:

1. Monitor Air Quality: the Air Quality Index (AQI) is the Environmental Protection Agency's index for reporting air quality. The scale runs from 0-300+, with warnings starting at 50.

  • People who routinely work outdoors more than 6 hours/day fall into the "Sensitive Groups" designation, and should use extra caution. Learn more about AQI here.

  • Mobile apps we like for AQI monitoring: AIRNow, AirVisual Air Quality Forecast

  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also provides a daily Smoke Outlook.

2. Limit Your Exposure: when possible, shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors and avoid strenuous activities until air quality improves. Use the forecasts available on the websites an apps listed above to plan your days accordingly!

  • Tip: Ozone levels tend to be lower in the mornings, and often rise with temperature. So try to get your most strenuous work done early in the day.

  • Wildfire smoke poses a serious threat because it contains very small particles that can penetrate deep into your lungs and even slip directly into your bloodstream. If you must do strenuous work outdoors when smoke levels are high please consider wearing an N95 or P100 mask to protect yourself.

  • Tip: Mile High Farmers has received 500 N-95 respirators from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that are available free of charge to our farmers. Distribution is first come, first served. Email for more information or to schedule a pick up.

3. Minimize Your Impact: Keep an eye on local conditions and reduce your emissions on Ozone Action Alert Days and when smoke levels are high. Consider carpooling, skipping or combining car trips, and delaying use of gas-powered tools until after 4pm. Click here to learn more.

4. Manage Indoor Air Quality: Ensuring your indoor air is clean will give your body a break and help minimize the effects of bad outdoor air.

  • If you have an HVAC system with fresh air intake, set the system to recirculate mode, or close the outdoor intake damper to prevent polluted air from entering your home.

  • Use a portable air cleaner or high efficiency HVAC filter.

  • Avoid activities that create more fine particulates indoors, including:

    • Smoking indoors

    • Using gas, propane or wood-burning stoves/furnaces

    • Frying or broiling food

    • Burning candles or incense

    • Vacuuming, unless you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

  • Learn more here. 

5. Work to Actively Manage Eco-anxiety: (see below)

Actively managing eco-anxiety

While climate change anxiety may feel too demoralizing to address, Arthur C Evans, Jr., CEO of the APA says there are practical ways to manage that stress. It's particularly important to gain a sense of control; research shows that when people lack a feeling of agency, it can increase their psychological distress. Instead of letting climate change and wildfire smoke overwhelm you, experts recommend getting a handle on your eco-anxiety with the following approaches:

  • Get educated about climate change. There's still time to prevent — with drastic action — the catastrophic effects of climate change, but people may hear only the most pessimistic reports and then hopelessly tune out. Instead, learn as much as possible about it. That includes understanding what's at stake and how average people can make a positive difference. Otherwise, it can be easy to make false assumptions about the consensus on the worst-case scenarios while missing positive stories about activists pushing politicians and corporations to step up. Educating yourself will help you see both climate change and courses of action more clearly and that can reduce anxiety.

  • Find concrete ways to make a difference. An APA survey found that half of adults didn't know where to start in order to combat climate change. While it's true that governments and the private sector have the power to make the most radical changes, the average person can alter their habits in important ways.

    • Reducing your food waste, for example, can reduce carbon emissions.

    • Participating in strikes and protests, like those held by Greta Thunberg's Fridays For Future, draws attention to the issue and helps inspires others to act.

    • Calling your elected official, whether at the local, state, or Congressional level, and pressing them to do more on climate change makes it harder for them to ignore the outcry.

    • Do things in your own community! Letter writing campaigns, volunteerism, and political and public advocacy are all ways to get involved in climate change activism.

  • Reframe negative thoughts. In general, research shows that reframing negative thoughts can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. Try to rethink the issue, even though it may seem big and amorphous and putting it into proper context.

    • If thoughts of climate change and fire smoke keep creeping into your mind, or even prevent you from making future plans, it may be helpful to focus your attention on the present moment while finding something positive about those circumstances. People who develop this skill tend to cope better than those who find it difficult to regulate their thinking, actions, and emotions.

  • Address all the stressors in your life, not just climate change. Eco-anxiety may feel unique compared to other sources of anxiety, but it's important to think of climate change-related stress as part of your overall mental health. You may also be experiencing financial, relationship, professional, or physical stress, which can exacerbate your feelings about climate change, and vice versa. It's critical to address other stressors and to seek professional help if necessary. 

  • Build your personal resilience. Increased resilience can help you weather eco-anxiety. Experts recommend boosting resilience by continuing to develop a social network of friends, family, and community (like Mile High Farmers!). Strong social and emotional support has been linked to well-being, material aid during times of adversity, and lower rates of psychological distress following a disaster. These strategies can be helpful no matter the type of anxiety you might be feeling, but can be particularly useful when trying to combat eco-anxiety by restoring or gaining a sense of control.

  • Take care of yourselves and each other! And know that Mile High Farmers is here to help. Always feel free to reach out at

Asbestos information for farmers

Agricultural workers and farmers are exposed to asbestos in farm equipment and building materials. Vermiculite, a mineral that's safe in its pure form, can also pose a risk if asbestos contaminated the vermiculite mine. Asbestos has been found in vermiculite soil mixes and conditioners. Learn more and access resources here.

Community wellness resources

The 2022 Mile High Farmers Producers Summit's theme was community health and wellness. Learn more about Mile High Farmers community wellness efforts through our 2022 Producers Summit report

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Colorado Heat
smoke season
comm wellness
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