Local Food Systems
The production, processing and distribution of food and food products on a local level increases community resiliency and sustainability. Smaller scale operations that produce diversified crops and engage in a variety of marketing channels are not well served by existing resources designed to serve a more traditional agriculture producer. A Northern Colorado Food Assessment showed that over 70% of those defined as farmers were not operating at a commercial level that could benefit from using conventional production, budgeting and marketing models. A 2012 Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council issue brief also noted the increasing demand for technical assistance by those engaging in direct market sales.
Colorado State University Extension in El Paso County is addressing the need for improved technical assistance for smaller, more diversified producers who engage in a variety of innovative production practices and marketing channels by providing education and networking opportunities. CSU Extension seeks to support producers and processors by engaging the community in discussions around the interface between food and agricultural issues, as well as the broader social issues of public health, food safety, the environment and community development.
In El Paso County, we offer the Colorado Building Farmers program and the Cottage Foods Certification training in support of local agriculture related enterprises.
Local Foods Program Coordinator