Northern Colorado Regional Food Assessment Flyer (printable PDF)

Final Report

The food system is like any other system — it has a lot of parts. A Northern Colorado Regional Food system assessment looks at the various components of the food system and determines where it is working well and which parts need strengthening. Generally, the components of the food system are:

  1. food/agricultural production
  2. food processing and distribution
  3. marketing, consumer choices and access
  4. consumption and public health

The Northern Colorado Regional Food System Assessment will study the food system as it exists. Using that baseline, recommendations can be made for enhancing the food system for our community’s benefit.


  • Larimer County
  • Boulder County
  • Weld County
  • Colorado State University & Extension
  • Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority

Who will do the assessment?

Larimer County is the lead agency on the project. Boulder and Weld Counties, the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority and Colorado State University also have leading roles. Members of the public throughout the region will be directly involved.

How long will it take to complete the project?

The groups needed to conduct the assessment will be organized by late January 2010. The final report will be completed by the end of 2010.

What are the goals of the assessment project?

  • Understand the local food system as it relates to public health, economic development and the quality of life
  • Identify economic development opportunities resulting from current gaps in the food system
  • Document needs and possible projects to strengthen the local food system

How will the assessment benefit the community?

The food system touches many aspects of people’s lives – from economic diversity and strength, to the availability of productive agricultural lands, to the social aspects of food supply and quality – the food system influences our quality of life.

A stronger food system will benefit everyone and can be achieved by reinforcing existing robust components and establishing new connections.

Community Involvement

A Project Advisory Team (PAT), made up of citizens, will be formed in each of the three counties:

  • Boulder
  • Larimer
  • Weld

The citizens’ advisory groups will provide information to the technical researchers and offer advice on how the study should be conducted.

The public can get involved in many ways:

  • Focus groups – Several focus groups will be held to gather information directly from the public.
  • Telephone interviews – Researchers will interview ‘key’ players in the food system.
  • Public meetings – Multiple workshops and/or open house gatherings will be used to gather public comment.

Introduction fo Food Assessment Project

4 Elements of the Food System – Data Presented at Open House Meetings

1. Inputs to Agriculture

Natural Resources   CSU Handout

  • water
  • land use trends

Labor, Purchases   CSU Handout

  • agriculture production expenditures
  • economic impact


2. Agriculture Production


  • farm production trends
  • market value of crops sold

Today’s Farmers


3. Processing, Distribution, Marketing

Tracking Our Food Dollars   CSU Handout

  • retail vs direct-to-consumer markets
  • Northern Colorado’s food economy

Food Consumers   CSU Handout

  • share of dollars spent on local produce
  • food buyer values


4. Public Health, Nutrition, Food Security

Food Security and Food Access   CSU Handout

  • distance to food markets
  • food assistance programs

Health Outcomes   CSU Handout

  • trends in obesity and cardiovascular disease
  • economic cost of health outcomes