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News Archive

February 25, 2020

Boulder County Awards Sustainable Food and Agricultural Funds


Boulder County, Colo. - On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Boulder County Commissioners announced the recipients of the 2020 Sustainable Food and Agricultural Funds to the following farms Ollin Farms, McCauley Family Farms, Cure Organic Farms, Aspen Moon Farms, Cottonwood Farm, Black Cat Farms, and Skypilot Farms.

Boulder County invited farmers, agricultural producers, the private sector, and non-profit organizations to apply for funding to accelerate and launch environmental sustainability projects that benefit the food and agricultural system of Boulder County. The funding opportunity was provided to impact four broad areas within local food and agriculture including:

  • on-farm regenerative and soil health practices;
  • farmer education;
  • conferences and workshops;
  • on-farm and farmers market infrastructure; and
  • sustainable local food and crop production.

The Sustainable Food and Agricultural Fund in 2020 will be supported financially by the Sustainability Tax revenue. In November 2016, voters approved the Sustainability Tax ballot initiative to allocate a portion of sales and use tax revenue to fund sustainability infrastructure and programs. From the Sustainability Tax a portion (roughly $305,000) was set aside to address the priority needs of local farms and agricultural producers.

The 2020 grant recipient’s projects are primarily focused on farm infrastructure and equipment specifically that is needed to adopt cover crops, perennials plantings, pasture cropping, and regeneration, grain production, no till operations, and regenerative grazing practices.

“It’s impressive to see all the efforts Boulder County farmers and producers are already taking to promote soil health and support regenerative agriculture,” commented Commissioner Elise Jones. “Through the local food and agriculture funding, we are able to celebrate these current practices and encourage even more innovative, sustainable agricultural practices on Boulder County lands.”

Despite this being the first year for the Sustainable Food and Agricultural Fund the county received 42 applications and a total of $2.5 million dollars in requests. This high interest level demonstrates the need for this fund across the county.

Recipients and projects selected for award:

Ollin Farms Project 95 | $40,000: The mission of Project 95 is to turn the south side of Longmont into a demonstration of what is possible when farmers, scientists, community members, students, and neighbors work together with the common goal of building health and resiliency into our agricultural lands. The funding of $40,000 is geared to support five on-farm demonstration areas including conservation plan implementation, sustainable carbon cycling, community-based learning opportunities, pollinator and bird sanctuaries, and eco system data collection.

Multi-Species Pasture Regeneration at McCauley Family Farms | $40,000: The McCauley Family Farms project of $40,000 funds infrastructure to facilitate regenerative production and soil-building efforts. Specifically, the funds will go to two multi-species pasture regeneration units: two shade structures, two water trailers, and two solar trailers. These regeneration units will facilitate soil building on 80 acres and also be used for on farm demonstrations hopefully spreading the practice across the county.

Increasing Agro-Ecological Diversity at Cure Organic Farm | $41,416: Cure’s Organic Farm’s funding of $41,416 is supporting the increase of agro-ecological habitat of the farm by adding regenerative agriculture practices and in turn increasing soil health. Cure plans to use funds to plant wind breaks to decrease soil erosion and create native pollinator habitat. The farm will also increase soil organic matter and microbiology by increasing use of irrigated cover crops paid for by the fund. Currently the farm has no way to intercrop green manures into their production beds or irrigate cover crops beyond drip irrigation. Purchasing of equipment and irrigation infrastructure through the fund will allow the farm to grow soil health throughout the season.

Heritage Grains & Cover Cropping = Soil Health and Valuable Crop at Aspen Moon Farm | $55,000: Aspen Moon will use $55,000 of this grant to increase edible grain production and address the need for good, regenerative agriculture and soil health practices through the purchase of equipment. This multipurpose equipment meets three specific needs: rotational cover cropping for soil health, production of local heritage grains, regenerative seed saving. The production of local heritage grains also seeks to address the need for sustainable local food and crop production. The project will double Aspen Moon’s cover crop acreage from 13 to 26 acres and allow for an estimated 45 tons of heritage grain production. Aspen Moon will also offer on-farm training for local farms demonstrating how the equipment can be used to improve soil health while producing a sustainable local crop.

Brown to Green Soil Health Project at Cottonwood Farms | $46,300: The Cottonwood Farm “Brown to Green Regenerative Soil Health Project” funded at $46,300 represents a shift in vision from seeing the beauty of brown freshly tilled soil to seeing the promise of covered and undisturbed soil with all of the unseen life underneath for the farm. Through this funded project Cottonwood Farms will test and demonstrate the use of basic soil health principles and their adaptability to our local climate using methods and tools that are scalable to both larger and smaller operations. The goals of the project are to demonstrate viable agricultural production while (1) minimizing soil disturbance, (2) keeping soil covered as much as possible, (3) keeping a living root in the ground as long as possible, and (4) add diversity through cover and companion crops. To implement these principles Cottonwood Farms will have funded equipment in the form of a no till drill, cover crop roller, modifications needed to subsoiler, and to convert row crop planter to no till.

Pasture Cropping: Organic Grain Production in Perennial Pastures at Black Cat Farms | $43,500: Funding of $43,500 to Black Cat Organic Farm will trial the regenerative agricultural practice of pasture cropping, an innovative agricultural growing system new to Boulder County. Pasture cropping integrates annual cereal grain or vegetable production into perennial sod fields with maximum diversity and as little disturbance as possible. The funding will be used for farm infrastructure, equipment, and supplies to make this new project a reality for Black Cat Farms.

Regenerative Grazing Project at Sky Pilot Farms | $40,000: For Sky Pilot Farms to increase regenerative grazing the funding of $40,000 will go to more mobile fencing, water transport, and access to shade. Sudden changes in weather, carrying capacity of a paddock, or seasonal trends can change what these movement need to look like on a year-to-year basis. SkyPilot Farm needs to have enough infrastructure to set up several movements worth of paddock to have the ability to act quickly on arising information in the field such as weather and general health of the pasture. This project benefits Boulder County sustainability goals in three key areas: health of riparian areas, a focus on pollinators, and encouraging native grasslands and wildlife.

Boulder County is proud to have so many members of the agriculture and food community interested in projects to create a more sustainable food system for generations to come.

For more information about Boulder County’s sustainability mission and to learn about other programs, visit www.boco.org/Sustainability. For questions about this grant funding in particular, please contact Tim Broderick at tbroderick@bouldercounty.org or 720-564-2238.