We’re fortunate to live in a place known not only for its extraordinary natural beauty but also for its vibrant culture. At Fortified, we’re steeped in that sense of place. We bring the best of Fort Collins—beer, bikes, food, farms, music, art and nature—to every collaboration and project. Where we live is why we started this company. It’s what inspires us and shapes who we are.

My story and the story for each of us begins right at home in our own community—and with our own capacity to recognize and protect what we truly care about.
— Judy Wicks

Our Mission

To strengthen community through purposeful collaborations and partnerships that create authentic connection and fortify our local economy and the living systems that sustain us.

 

Our Values

Keeping it Collaborative. We believe that we’re “better together.” We actively work with members of the community on matters of common interest and shared values.

Keeping it Local. We believe that the core of a restorative and resilient economy is a commitment to place. We actively support local businesses, local farmers and local households.

Keeping it Positive. We believe in seeking out the best of the best. We look for positive examples, methods and ideals around our community and around the world to emulate and share.

Keeping it Innovative. We believe that the true test of an idea is in its implementation. We believe in continual learning and continual improvement through action and work that exemplifies the kind of world we want to live in.

Keeping it Fun. We believe in good friends and good times. We strive for balance with a playful spirit and open hearts and minds.

Keeping it Real. We believe in speaking from the heart and honoring the innate value in everyone. We listen to each other and we stay honest, candid, positive and flexible.

 

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KRISTINA CASH - FOUNDER & CHIEF CONNECTOR

Born and raised in rural southern Colorado, Kristina is a farm girl at heart. Daily chores that included care for her younger siblings, cows, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and plants gave her a sense of connection and stewardship that has motivated her lifestyle and work to this day. After earning her Bachelor’s in Language Arts and Cultural Anthropology, Kristina then hit the road. She worked for an Alaskan fishery, spent time on the West Coast and backpacked through Europe before landing in Fort Collins. With aspirations of becoming an educator, she got her Teaching Certificate and Masters in Education Administration, but set teaching aside for an opportunity with a new company in town called New Belgium Brewing. As “Resourceress” she wore many hats during her seven years with the company and was instrumental in helping to build the New Belgium brand and tie it to Fort Collins culture.

 After taking a break to focus on being a mom, Kristina was asked to helm the Rocky Mountain Sustainability Fair. In three years she grew fair attendance from 6,000 to 12,000 and built the event into the premiere sustainability fair in the West, drawing celebrity speakers from around the country. Kristina’s work as a community advocate and leader takes many forms. She’s served on the boards of the Fort Collins Food Coop, Bike Fort Collins, Global Visionaries and The Growing Project. Before founding Fortified she served as Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator at Be Local Northern Colorado and worked closely with the national Local Living Economies initiative. For Kristina, Fortified is the manifestation of a lifelong vision and an intrinsic desire to learn, connect, build and nurture.

 
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Cathy Jones - Project Manager

Cathy has been a marketing professional in Fort Collins ever since she graduated from CSU (Go Rams!) and has spent the 15+ years since building networks, making friends, and connecting the community. With extensive experience in marketing, social media, websites, sponsor recognition and more, she brings a new set of skills to the Fortified table, and she’s excited to help Fortified make even more magic for this wonderful city! Cathy is the mother of two rambunctious boys, loves the craft beer scene, and FoCOMX is her favorite weekend of the year. She also runs a knitting group for beer lovers (find it here). Cathy is Fortified’s resident junk food eater and struggles when goat cheese is on the menu.

 

Samantha Bergonia - Event Coordinator

Sam believes in riding her bike, growing her own food, and being kind to Mother Earth (and all that inhabit it!) She finds that the best conversations are shared with a cold beverage in hand, and the best way to honor ourselves is to first honor each other. 


Sam went to school at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale for Sports Administration, where she spent time as part of the American Marketing Association, Saluki Entrepreneur Corps,and The Women’s Business Association. Sam has called Fort Collins home for 5 years. She has been involved in the food and beverage industry since then, and has been lucky enough to make lasting connections with people who make this community what it is. While serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Equinox Brewing Company, Sam planned and executed events in the taproom as well as in the community. Her work there ranged from connecting with small business owners to promoting events through word of mouth, print, and social media. Sam is a working member on a local farm, currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Food Co-op, and teaches alignment-based yoga at a local studio. 

She is so excited to learn and grow with Fortified Collaborations, and continue to stoke the fire that keeps this town alive. 

 

EMILY ZAYNARD - ART AND DESIGN

Emily is a creative director and a graphic, print, and web designer. She is the Creative Director for Rocky Mountain Publishing; producers of RM Parent magazine, 50 & Better magazine Bounty magazine and Ride magazine. She also works with Fortified Collaborations using print design to unite and engage lovers of local food, farms and Fort Collins. Emily never begrudges herself a visit to a museum and is passionate about bringing a creative flavor to local community. 

 

Emily Holmes - intern

Two activities that Emily loves most are planning and crafting. In her spare time, you can find her making lists in one of her two planners or starting a new art project while enjoying a cup of tea. Since first getting involved in community events in her hometown of Santa Cruz, California, she has been able to combine her obsessive need for scheduling and artistic abilities to create some truly unique events, like a Harry Potter themed wedding. With a desire to gain more skill in the industry, she has taken advantage of all volunteer opportunities, including participating in parades, fundraisers, and races. She has also been fortunate enough to work for a venue that hosted weddings and retreats. Taking these hands-on experiences to the next step, she recently earned a Master’s degree in Tourism Management from Colorado State University to expand her knowledge of the business-side of event organization. Emily is excited to be a part of the Fortified Collaborations’ team and cannot wait to help build community through local engagement and events!

 

CONNECTOR CONTRACTORS

 

AMY ALCORN - MARKETING DIRECTOR AT ASPEN GROVE MARKETING

Amy Alcorn is the marketing addict, social media nerd and queen of collaboration and connection that makes Aspen Grove Marketing the premier Northern Colorado digital marketing superstar that it has become.
A social butterfly with a heart of gold and a mind like a steel trap, it’s Amy’s affinity for creating and fostering connections and her love for good people and local business that give depth and heart to a realm primarily powered by RAM and algorithms. There is nothing she would rather do than help local businesses connect with their customers and target markets through social media and email marketing… except maybe go for a run, take a stroll through Old Town or enjoy a tasty beverage and a local band.
In addition to her kind, colorful, and entrepreneurial spirit, Amy is also dedicated to volunteering her time and efforts to local causes that she is passionate about. She has been the Social Media Coordinator with the Sustainable Living Association since 2008 and is also the Co-Founder and Director of Marketing and Events at the NoCo Rebuilding Network.
Her love for the Northern Colorado community is palpable as is her desire to provide Aspen Grove’s customers with the utmost in digital marketing services, creating new connections, and promoting businesses in her network. The life of the party and enterprising powerhouse, you’ll definitely want Amy in your business’ corner.

 

SONJA SALZBURG - SONJA K PHOTOGRAPHY

Sonja wants to live in a world where Red Vines are a health food, love really does conquer all, and unicorns can fly (because we all know they exist).  As a portrait, wedding, and fine art photographer, she’s been showcased in international gallery shows and flown around the country to document weddings.  When she’s not drinking wine and crafting, you can find her furiously traveling the globe, painting this life in watercolors, or drinking coffee in her backyard next to her beehives. Her latest project – a piece of elastic- hits the airwaves very soon. Find out how to listen in or get photographed at www.sonjakphotography.com

 
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Jesse Anne Lee (Goin) - Jesse Anne Lee, LLC

Jesse Anne Lee (Goin) is a full-charge bookkeeper, specializing in small businesses and non-profits in Northern Colorado.

When she's not crunching numbers and helping local businesses with their day-to-day financials, she can often be found strolling around Old Town, heading up the Poudre, or hanging out on the front porch playing music.

 

Organizations We Support

 
 

  • Attending a Fortified Collaborations event is guaranteed to give you a feeling of being nourished — both physically and emotionally!
    — Carol Cochran, Horse & Dragon Brewing
  • Fortified brings dedication and flair to our local food work through its heart-filled events that bring good people and causes together with wonderful food and drink. Thanks - our community is richer for your efforts!
    — Gail Marie Kimmel, Resources for Resiliency: Land, Water, Food
  • Fortified Collaborations plays a key role in the Northern Colorado food community...assuring deeper connections a nd relationships through engaging events, community-driven promotions and thoughtful networking activities. Our region is lucky to have this innovative player on our team!
    — Dawn Thilmany-McFadden, Professor, Extension Economist-Labor & Agribusiness Management, Colorado State University
  • At White Balcony we celebrate genuine connections on a daily basis, like laughing over an inappropriate card. There's nothing quite like sharing a meal to bring people together. Being part of that is pretty magical.
    — Justine Reed, White Balcony
  • One of the things I love most about the Farm Dinners is how many smiles are shared around the table....alongside the delicious food and beverages. It's one of those special events where you leave with more energy than you came with.
    — James W Mitchell, Renewablue