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Rural Wealth Creation: Exploring Food Systems-Led Development Strategies

In December 2016, the City and County of Denver released its draft of the Denver Food Vision. The Denver Food Vision includes 12 winnable goals under the pillars of inclusive, healthy, vibrant, and resilient. A team of interdisciplinary researchers at Colorado State University is working to understand the rural and farm-level impacts associated with the achievement of Denver Food Vision’s winnable goals. The team is building a model of the food system to assess the impacts of targeted interventions. The model will provide detailed information about the economic and consumer health outcomes and trade-offs.


  • Plan and implement a national conference for researchers, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Rural Policy Research Institute and others that both furthers rural wealth creation as a dominant rural development paradigm and establishes CSU as a leader in this area of growing importance.;
  • Test the empiricization of the rural wealth creation framework using a case study of the Denver Food Vision and hypothetical ways in which they could implement their 2030 winnable goals; and
  • Build partnerships with key Departments, foundations, and industry to develop a Center (Institute) at CSU focused on food systems and rural development (wealth creation).


Michael Carolan, Co-PI Becca Jablonski, Co-PI
Libby Christensen, Project Manager Michael Martin
Laura Bellows Paul Meiman
Alessandro Bonanno Michael Pagliassotti
Randall Boone Elizabeth Ryan
Perry Cabot Meagan Schipanski
Gamze Cavdar Dawn Thilmany
Becky Cleary Jason Quinn
Andrew Jones Mark Uchanski
Olaf David


CONTACT: Becca Jablonski,