2022 Sustainable Food & Agriculture Fund recipients announced by Boulder County – Boulder County

2022-sustainable-food-&-agriculture-fund-recipients-announced-by-boulder-county-–-boulder-county

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Projects will  support local food production, soil health, regenerative practices, and farm workers

Boulder County, CO — The Boulder County Commissioners announced the recipients of 2022 Sustainable Food & Agriculture Funds to the following farms and organizations: Bridge House, Eco-Cycle, Grama Grass & Livestock, Jack’s Solar Garden, Light Root Community Farm, MASA Seed Foundation, Project Protect Promotora Network, Suarez Market at Mariposa Farm, and additional small budget recipients.
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 food and agriculture in Boulder County.
This funding opportunity was provided to impact five broad areas:

On-farm regenerative agriculture and soil health practices

Farmer/producer education, conferences, and workshops that focus on sustainable and regenerative agriculture demonstrations

On-farm and farmer’s market infrastructure

Sustainable local food and crop production

Programmatic and resource support for frontline farm workers and organizations

This year’s fund recipients will use their grants to develop educational programs, support local food production, provide food and safety equipment for frontline farm workers, implement regenerative practices, preserve heirloom grain seeds, and create pollinator habitats. These projects will increase soil nutrient levels, foster healthy ecosystems, sequester carbon, and help crops become more resistant to climate change.
“We continue to experience the devastating impacts of the climate crisis and we also saw how COVID-19 has raised costs due to supply chain issues and worker shortages here in Boulder County,” said Boulder County Commissioner Marta Loachamin. “Creating a local, sustainable, and resilient food system has never been more important. These projects help our community fight and adapt to climate change, increase food security, and grow our local economy.”
This year, for the first time ever, selected projects include initiatives that provide resources for frontline farm workers and organizations.
“Climate change devastates frontline community members first and worst,” continued Commissioner Loachamin. “We are excited to expand funding to projects that support our own Boulder County farm workers. These essential workers now face increasing climate challenges including rising temperatures and more days of extreme heat.”

The Sustainable Food & Agriculture Fund is supported financially by 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 $405,000 — was set aside to address the priority needs of local farms and agricultural producers. Of this year’s $405,000 budget, $380,000 was set aside for large projects over $40,000. $25,000 was allocated for smaller budget requests of no more than $5,000.
Selected large fund projects:
Bridge House: Mission Meals for Casa De La Esperanza Community | $21,000 — Bridge House’s Mission Meals program will provides frozen, precooked meals-in-a-bag to food-insecure households within Casa De La Esperanza Community, a residential community dedicated to helping agricultural workers. Prioritization of sourcing locally grown food will be made when cost effective and available.

"Bridge House's Community Table Kitchen social enterprise is excited to provide Mission Meals to the residents of the Casa De La Esperanza farming community in Longmont," said Brenda Pearson, director of development and evaluation at Bridge House. "We appreciate all that these residents do to contribute to the food life cycle in Boulder County and cannot think of a more deserving community to help."

Meal distribution at Casa De La Esperanza Community
Eco-Cycle: On-Farm Composting and Compost-Use Demonstrations | $37,000 — Eco-Cycle will provide aerated static pile on-farm composting systems to several high-profile farm partners. They will test a variety of finished compost blends to meet the needs of local regenerative farmers.

"Eco-Cycle is partnering with local regenerative farmers to design and build on-farm composting systems to both demonstrate making quality compost and to trial innovative uses of finished compost," said Dan Matsch, manager at Eco-Cycle. "We are excited to work with some of our most innovative local farmers to put our organic waste resources to use and to build a community-based compost system that will help us make Boulder County soils more resilient to climate change."

On-farm composting system. Photo courtesy of O2 Compost.
Grama Grass & Livestock: Regenerative Livestock Infrastructure | $56,500 — Funding will go towards the purchase of equipment to enable the efficient transportation of cattle, an agroecological impact evaluation to quantify the impacts of their regenerative grazing program, and community outreach and education. Grama Grass & Livestock will implement regenerative practices on publicly held and privately owned land to help build native food resiliency.

"This funding will provide the infrastructure for us to move cattle from one property to another based on the needs of the land," said Andy Breiter, steward/owner of Grama Grass & Livestock. "Additionally, this funding will allow us to study our holistic management techniques on the cattle and soil."

Cattle grazing at Grama Grass & Livestock
Jack’s Solar Garden: Agrivoltaics Equipment, Infrastructure, and Education | $40,000 — Jack’s Solar Garden is the country’s largest demonstration project of agrivoltaics, which is the co-development of land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture. Through partnerships with Sprout City Farms and the Colorado Agrivoltaic Learning Center, Jack’s Solar Garden will use funds to invest in on-site farm infrastructure and equipment to further their regenerative agriculture practices.

"It's amazing to live in a community with a local government that creates opportunities like the Boulder County Sustainable Food & Agriculture Fund," said Byron Komineck, owner of Jack’s Solar Garden.

Alexa Hapgood and Byron Komineck at Jack's Solar Garden
Light Root Community Farm: Soil Health Resiliency with Holistic Farm Management Practices | $40,000 — Light Root Community Farm will build soil health and farm resiliency through fertility management systems within the farm. This includes expanding compost production, multi-species grazing systems, cover cropping, and reduced tillage.

"We are excited about this farm project because it takes a multi-faceted approach to supporting the overall health of our farm," said Daphne Kingsley of Light Root Community Farm. "This project is a way for us to give back to the land and the community by building a healthy and diverse farm ecosystem."

Light Root Community Farm
MASA Seed Foundation: Building a Local Grain Movement from the Ground Up with Soil, Seed, and Diversity | $75,000 — This project will advance Colorado's ancient and heritage grain movement by bringing a wider diversity of grains into production, using regenerative practices, and working with a community of regional partners to share best practices through a series of fun educational events.

"This grant will help fund the purchase of a world class Research Plot Combine," said Richard Pecoraro, founder of MASA Seed Foundation. "MASA Seed Foundation is building a bioregional seed bank and we will utilize this crucial piece of equipment to stabilize local, organic agriculture with the use of regionally adapted and improved open pollinated seeds for Front Range farmers and gardeners."

Richard Pecoraro, Founder of MASA Seed Foundation
Project Protect Promotora Network: Boulder County Resource Distribution | $42,500 — The Project Protect Promotora Networks serves frontline farm workers across six different agricultural regions of Colorado. Funds will be used to purchase safety resources for frontline farm workers in Boulder County.

"The Project Protect Promotora Network is excited to partner with the Boulder County Sustainable Food & Agriculture Fund to support Boulder County's agricultural workers," said Hunter Knapp, development director at Project Protect Promotora Network. "The funding will provide workers with the clothing and supplies they need to remain safe while working in extreme temperatures throughout the year. Protecting workers from the escalating effects of climate change will ensure Boulder County producers remain sustainable and resilient."

Project Protect Promotora Network
Suarez Market at Mariposa Farm: High Density Apple Orchard | $68,000 — Mariposa Farms will establish a high-density apple orchard to produce apple products. Orchard design will focus on energy and water conservation using existing on-site solar power, under-tree mulch strips to conserve soil moisture during periods of drought, and subsurface tiling to encourage deeper root growth. By year two, the project is estimated to produce 10,000 pounds of fruit per year and sequester approximately 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

"We are thrilled to be a large-fund recipient of the Sustainable Food & Agcriculture Fund," said Lisa Suarez-Tadus, owner of Mariposa Farm. "The money will help establish a high-density apple orchard generating fresh produce, juice, and wines for our new community here in Boulder County."

Lisa Suarez-Tadus, Owner of Mariposa Farm

Selected small fund projects:

Milk & Honey Farm will implement no-till farming and cover crops to sequester carbon, maintain soil health, and increase the efficiency of their educational farm. Funding will be used for tools, compost, silage tarps, and perennials.
Boulder Valley Honey: Pollinator Education and Hotspots | $4,948

Boulder Valley Honey will leverage raw, local, and recycled materials to build pollinator presence throughout eastern Boulder County. Boulder Valley Honey will purchase local rough-sawn lumber to process into beehives while providing hands-on educational opportunities to to further public understanding of beekeeping and honey production.
Citizen Science Soil Health Project: Website Plus Grower Video Profiles | $2,700
The Citizen Science Soil Health Project helps growers measure soil improvements by providing free Haney and PLFA soil health tests. This funding will be used for creating a website that will feature annual group findings, reporting templates, and instructional videos.

Harvest of All First Nations and Drylands Agroecology Research: Harvest of All First Nations Festival | $5,000

The Harvest of All First Nations festival will foster cultural and ecological regeneration by reconnecting BIPOC communities with their traditional foodways. This event will bring together diverse groups to share locally-grown heritage foods and Indigenous Knowledge through workshops and classes.
Kelly Enterprises: Supporting Low-Income Voucher Programs at Boulder County Farmers' Markets | $4,920
The Erie and Louisville Farmers’ Markets, frontline farm organizations run by Kelly Enterprises, will participate in low-income voucher programs starting in 2022. These programs will advance equity and inclusion at these farmers’ markets and in their host communities by aiding frontline farm workers and providing local, and sustainable food to residents.

Simply Bee Organics will create a chain of conservation pollinator gardens, native bee habitat, and living classrooms in collaboration with local farms, schools, non-profits, community gardens, municipalities, local businesses, HOAs, neighborhoods, and private residences.
For more information about this program, contact Christian Herrmann at [email protected] Follow Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to learn more about our work.

Mission of the Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience
Our mission is to advance policies and programs that conserve resources, protect the environment, and safeguard our climate in order to build a sustainable, just, and resilient community.

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