Boulder County’s EAT LOCAL! Campaign

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. 

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.10% Local Food Shift Pledge Logo

In 2010, 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


And this year....

2011 EAT LOCAL! Week, Aug. 27 – Sept. 4


Food has always been integral to the way we live. Nowhere are we more powerfully connected than in the daily cultivation, preparation and enjoyment of food—and food is the central component of our health, culture, environment, and relocalization/sustainability efforts.

Transition Colorado’s 2011 EAT LOCAL! Week celebrates the delights and benefits of locally-grown and locally-processed food, featuring local family farms and farmers’ markets, along with the outstanding restaurants, grocers, and organizations which support them. Please join us for nine days of inspiring and informative events—and an abundance of fresh, delicious local food!


EAT LOCAL! Week Kickoff (Saturday, Aug. 27, Boulder County Farmers’ Markets)

Come to the Farmers’ Market for a harvest-gathering celebration of those who support local organic food, offering culinary pleasure with awareness and fun! Here you can see demos and enjoy samples from some of Boulder County’s finest farmers, chefs, culinary artists, and food educators.

Tour de Coops (two Sundays, Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, county-wide)

Take a self-guided tour of backyard chicken coops, urban farms, and community gardens—and get to know the people behind them. Meet and learn from local beekeepers goatkeepers, and cultivators of delightful culinary gardens, along with those who are exploring newer forms of food production such as hydroponics and aquaponics.

Bicycle Tour de Farms (two Sundays, Aug. 28 and Sept. 4)

Join Slow Food Boulder County and local foodies on a leisurely bike ride to discover urban agriculture sites emerging within Boulder County. See innovative approaches to season extension and newer forms of food production such as hydroponics and aquaponics.

Flavor of Local (Sunday, Aug. 28, Longmont YMCA)

Join Ollin Farms, Preserving Community, and Livewell Longmont for a celebration of community centered around food, featuring multicultural cooking demos which highlight local ingredients and personal stories. The event will highlight the neighborhood-based food systems that are transforming Longmont, and provide a gathering for the next generation of cooks, farmers, and community builders.

Farmer Gathering and Dinner with Joel Salatin (Monday, Aug. 29, The Lyons Farmette)

This celebrated farmer and author will spend an informal afternoon with local farmers/ranchers and young people, candidly discussing the challenges, joys, and opportunities of the life of a dedicated “alternative” farmer. The afternoon will conclude with a farm-to-table dinner orchestrated by Eric Skokan of Black Cat, one of Boulder County’s finest locally-passionate chefs. By invitation only.

“Local Food to the Rescue,” keynote by Joel Salatin (Monday, Aug. 29, Chautauqua Auditorium)

Meet Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, the world’s most-recognized “beyond organic” and strictly local, clean food farmer, prolific author and inspiring speaker, the ethical farmer in the critically-acclaimed Academy Award nominated documentary, “Food Inc.” Co-produced by Chautauqua.

EAT LOCAL! Brown Bag Lunch Panel Series, noon – 1:30 p.m. daily, Aug. 29 – Sept. 2 (locations TBA)

Hear from and interact with some of the people who are at the front lines of the revitalization of local food and agriculture. These “local heroes” will share their views, answer questions, and engage in lively discussion of some of the issues and challenges. Topics include:

  • “Local Food for Local Health”
  • “So You Want to Be a Farmer? Agriculture-Supported Community in Boulder County”
  • “Spotlight on County Commissioner Candidates”
  • “The Farm-to-School Challenge”
  • “Building the Boulder County Local Food Brand”

The Great GMO Debate (Tuesday, Aug. 30, 7:00 p.m., Unity of Boulder)

The Boulder County conflict over GMOs has widened to call into question the use of GMOs in agriculture and a public call for labeling of all GMO food products. In this formal debate, two highly-respected but diametrically opposed experts go toe-to-toe and make their case. Whatever the outcome of the debate, the real winners will be the citizens of Boulder County. Get your tickets early, as we expect this event to be sold out!

“Building the Local Food Economy,” with Michael Shuman (Wednesday, Aug. 31, 7:00 p.m., Millennium Harvest House)

Economist and author Michael Shuman will reveal the first results of a major economic study investigating the potential impacts of 25% food localization in Boulder County and the state of Colorado. Learn how investment in our local foodshed can substantially increase both demand for and supply of local food, create thousands of new jobs in Colorado, generate hundreds of new businesses, and produce millions in revenue to support the local economy. The economic impact in Boulder County could be significant. Meet local food innovators  whose examples inspire a strategic plan for achieving food localization.

“The Local Food Shift Meets Slow Money,” with Woody Tasch (Thursday, Sept. 1, 7:00 p.m., Millennium Harvest House)

This event is designed to spark conversations and connections amongst local eaters, food and farming entrepreneurs, investors, intermediaries, and food activists. Meet the founder of Slow Money, Woody Tasch, and learn about this revolutionary approach to shifting local dollars into the local food and farming enterprises that deserve our patronage.

(photo by Abbondanza Organic Seeds & Produce)

Info above originally re-posted from these pages:



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