In anticipation of the 10th annual Be Local Coupon Book release coming up the week of November 20, Local First is happy to introduce you to our first-ever official Localists. A Localist is our fancy word for an individual who lives and thrives in La Plata County, walking the talk of supporting our local economy and inspiring others to do the same. They’re business owners, entrepreneurs, media gurus, restaurateurs and outdoor adventurists, just like you.


How did we choose them, you wonder? We asked the community to nominate 10 folks they thought best represented our local scene. Out of 58 responses, our Localist Committee then chose 10. Here are two more of this year’s Localists:

Rachel Landis: The Adventurer  

As soon as she was able, Rachel Landis shook off the Midwestern plains of her youth and headed west. Always a seeker of grand adventures, Rachel is one of those souls who sinks her teeth into her passions, pouring every ounce of energy into making things better than she found them. La Plata County is lucky to have such an eager spirit invested in the community.

From leading high school girls on backpacking trips through her nonprofit, SOLES, to directing the Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College, Rachel’s commitment to the next generation of leaders is invaluable to building a Localist mentality. When she’s not on her own personal epics above treeline in the San Juan Mountains, the District 3 LPEA representative works as a ski patroller at Telluride Ski & Golf.

“To be a Localist means that you are consciously living in a way that builds and strengthens all aspects of our community,” she says. “From social capital to sense of place to politics and the economy, a Localist’s job is to weave this wild and beautiful net together.”

Ryan Lowe:  Foodie with a Smile

Born and raised in Durango, Ryan Lowe has the incredible gift of hospitality combined with a deep commitment to excellence. He pours this charm into Durango’s longest-standing restaurant, the Ore House, making sure every detail reflects the flavors and freshness of Southwest Colorado.

As co-owner and general manager, Ryan is dedicated to sourcing as much food as possible from local farms and ranches. He’s a firm believer that food procured close to home not only tastes better but also supports local farmers. The acclaimed chef knows how important it is to have the community at your side and touts this as being one of the key pieces to creating sustainable businesses in La Plata County.  

“Look out for your fellow neighbor by choosing to support them and the things around them, every chance you get,” he says.  

For more from our interviews with Rachel and Ryan, pickup a copy of the Be Local Coupon Book starting November 24th at your go-to retail shop or learn more about Local First at