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Colorado Potatoes’ video contest showcases student creativity

By taking its Colorado potato-oriented school contest from written essay to the next level of video presentation, the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee/Colorado Potatoes in Monte Vista, CO, has expanded both its message and the creativity of young participants.

The current contest brought in 42 entries from individual students and classrooms across the state, engaged all grades, and the winners were announced May 1.

CPAC Assistant Director Linda Weyers and Marketing Administrative Assistant Savannah Schlaufman said this year’s winners were teacher Stacy Libal’s fifth-grace class at Mary Blair Elementary in Loveland, CO, north of Denver, and teacher Stephanie Gillen’s seventh-grade class at Elbert Elementary School in Elbert, CO, southeast of the state’s capital. Both Elbert and Loveland are in agricultural regions.

“The exciting thing for us is that the prices for each category,” Weyers said. “Teachers of winning classrooms receives cash prizes, the school itself receives a salad bar, and the classroom receives either an all-expense paid party or a cash prize.”

The contest was structured for each entry to have a teacher sponsor, and the message was to include why fruits and vegetables are important to good health and why Colorado potatoes are a natural fit in a healthy diet and lifestyle. Maximum length of the videos was two minutes.

“We did this instead of the essay contest we used to run,” Weyers said. “It seems like the kids participating had a lot of fun and really enjoyed doing it. Some videos were done as though they were news broadcasts, and there were others that were musical presentations.”

“It was very hard to choose from among the entries, Schlaufman told The Produce News. We sent entry information to every school in Colorado, and we had two categories — elementary school and middle/high school. There were a lot of different takes on the topic. Some entries were very potato-heavy, some talked about health and disease prevention, and some talked about the different colors of vegetables and what benefits come from them. There were some that had original music. It has been really fun to see all the ways students interpreted the message.”

The videos will be embedded in Colorado Potatoes’ social media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter — and on You Tube, and the committee now owns rights to the messages for use in its marketing campaign. They can be viewed at

The marketing arm of CPAC has also begun publishing a consumer newsletter, The Perfect Potato eNews, on a monthly basis, with subscriptions available by visiting

In addition, Colorado Potatoes continues to partner with ABC in Denver to produce another three video recipes, with Colorado Chef Jason Morse developing the dishes. The “fast hands” videos will be released in several states via social media, Weyers said.

“We’re also doing online ads using the Google Network,” Schlaufman said. The videos target “foodies more than specific demographics,” she said, adding Chef Jason has developed a Breakfast Flatbread, Chicken and Waffle Hash and a Colorado Poutine, all featuring Colorado spuds. The ads will rotate throughout a three-month period beginning in mid-May.

Schlaufman is producing her own videos as well, looking at the San Luis Valley potato-growing season “From Seed to Store.” She said, “I’m following the entire growing process, hoping to reach people who’ve never been on a farm. The videos will be on Facebook and YouTube.”