Since 2015, the board and members of Poudre Valley Community Farms have worked to keep farmland in our community and connect farmers to that land through affordable, long-term leases. In the course of this work, the PVCF board realized that, while essential, farmland and farmers are just one part of a vibrant local food economy. To better support the full food system, PVCF led the creation of the Northern Colorado Foodshed Project. Though PVCF was instrumental in the launch of the Foodshed Project, it is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with its own board of directors.
The Foodshed Project’s mission is to comprehensively grow the local food economy in Northern Colorado from farm-to-plate and everywhere in between. It will approach any community need as an independent challenge and project, and work to bring together community stakeholders to identify the best solution.
Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture shows that only about 1.0% of agricultural products produced in Larimer County are sold locally. Comparable counties with strong local food economies have local sales ranging from 10-20%. The Foodshed Project’s vision is to increase local agricultural sales in Larimer from 1% to 10% by 2027. Achieving this goal will benefit both farmers and our community at large, from healthier, more food-aware citizens to increased food entrepreneurship and a more vibrant restaurant scene. One of the first projects the Foodshed Project (with some support from PVCF) embarked on was to re-vitalize the Winter Farmer’s Market, and we are thrilled to see that come back to life.
PVCF and the Foodshed Project’s first project was born out of a request for proposal released in June 2019 by the City of Fort Collins. The request was for a comprehensive proposal to manage a sustainable agricultural project on 250 acres of city-owned land. The Foodshed Project and PVCF submitted a proposal and learned in October that they were selected to move forward. The proposal calls for PVCF to hold the land lease and place established local farmers on about 100 acres. The Foodshed Project will then work with city staff and PVCF to build out important food system elements on part of the property. Stay tuned for more information in the new year and check out the location of the properties here.
We, on the PVCF Board, are thrilled to see the Foodshed Project get started and are eager to work together with this new organization and hope we can be a solid foundation for the important projects our local food system may need.
To learn more about The Northern Colorado Foodshed Project and how to support it, please visit https://foodshedproject.org/.