Boulder County's EAT LOCAL! Resource Guide & Directory

 

Boulder County’s EAT LOCAL! Campaign

Editor

By collectively demystifying the contents of the global pantry and by sourcing, growing and producing food independently of centralized, fragile and detrimental food trades, we are rediscovering our own worth as community members—people capable of interacting with and shaping the food landscapes around us. We are bringing our food culture home because we have to. And while we know we can’t move mountains, we are remembering that we can plant seeds.”

— Rob Hopkins and Tamzin Pinkerton, Local Food: How to Make It Happen In Your Community

In 2006, a Boulder County Local Food Working Group estimated that given the state of local agriculture, were the globalized systems to fail, the county is completely unprepared, with local food production only able to accommodate an estimated 20,000 of the county’s 300,000 residents. With greatly expanded individual/community plots, increased farming for food, bio-intensive methods, reduced calorie intake and simplified diet, the food group projected that this could possibly be increased to ~185,000 people.

In 2007, recognizing the need to increase support for our local foodshed, Transition Colorado—then known as Boulder County Going Local— launched the ten-year Boulder County EAT LOCAL! Campaign. The Campaign took a multi-pronged focus, simultaneously increasing public awareness through publications, events, classes, workshops, and documentary film screenings; involving businesses, farmers, and local government in discussions about the resilience of our foodshed; and forging strategic relationships to accomplish key projects.

A cornerstone of the Campaign was the first edition of Boulder County’s EAT LOCAL! Resource Guide, of which 25,000 copies were distributed throughout the county. [See sidebar about Campaign Elements.]

(photo by Abbondanza Organic Seeds & Produce)

In 2008, along with Everybody Eats!, we hosted a Boulder County Food Summit, bringing farmers and citizens together with key decision and policy-makers to discuss local food issues and coalescing an increased level of support for the vision of a local, organic food economy.

The Boulder County EAT LOCAL! Campaign presents positive pathways of engaging citizens, communities, businesses, and local governments to take the far-reaching actions that are required to strengthen the local food system. This ten-year Campaign is working to expand the capacity of our local food system and to promote closer connections between community members and those who grow our food.

Since the start of the campaign, the following changes in Boulder County have arisen either directly or indirectly from our efforts:

  • Restaurants using locally-grown food increased ten-fold
  • Boulder County formed its first Food and Agriculture Policy Council
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions increased exponentially
  • The Boulder County Farmers’Market is now one of the top 10 in the country
  • Boulder County is now a major hub for Permaculture training and practice
  • Citizens blocked recent attempt to grow GMO sugar beets on county open space land
  • The waiting list for the Boulder County Community Gardens has tripled
  • Transition Colorado alone provided over 7,500 people hours of Great Reskilling classes and courses

We are learning from our work in Boulder County, and plan to use it as a model for other areas of Colorado and for other communities across the country.

The prospects of a declining dollar imply that very shortly we will not be able to get all the oil-and-gas based “inputs” that have made industrial agriculture possible over the past century. Along with peaking of fossil fuels, the consequences of this—the end of industrial agriculture—are so unthinkable that we simply have not been thinking about it.

But it’s time for us to think about it. And it’s time for us to rise to the occasion and respond. You can be assured that the County Commissioners have been thinking about it, and that the members of the Boulder County Food and Agriculture Policy Council have been thinking about it. And we have surely been thinking about it at Transition Colorado. It’s high time for very focused and committed action, something like a wartime mobilization.

The focus of the 2010 EAT LOCAL! Campaign is the 10% Local Food Shift Challenge, encouraing individuals, families, restaurants, businesses, and institutions to devote 10 percent of their food budget to local food.

Mission and Goals of the EAT LOCAL! Campaign

Ongoing EAT LOCAL! Campaign Elements

10% Local Food Shift Challenge

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