Nature-Based Solutions (or, NBS) are strategies that combat climate change with natural resources like vegetation, soils, and watersheds. Frequently, NBS overlap with farming and other land management practices already used across the world. Boulder County hosts and funds several NBS climate initiatives; read about them below!
4 Corners Carbon Coalition (4CCC)
The 4 Corners Carbon Coalition is a groundbreaking partnership of local governments that accelerate community-based carbon dioxide removal. The Coalition was started in the Four Corners region of the Western United States by Boulder County and the City of Flagstaff, AZ. As of August 2023, members include Boulder County, CO, Flagstaff, AZ, Salt Lake City, UT, and Santa Fe, NM. The Coalition is currently tackling carbon removal in concrete, awarding innovation grants for related technology breakthroughs. The Coalition is excited to see these breakthroughs turn into real-world, scalable projects.
Climate Innovation Fund
The Climate Innovation Fund supports local projects focused on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and landscape resilience and restoration. Through a series of grants, OSCAR is supporting local projects that respond to and mitigate climate change impacts in recognition of the fact that local government resources need to be mobilized in order to advance carbon drawdown, emissions reduction objectives, and climate adaptation strategies for increased resilience. One recent grantee, Boulder Mushroom, has been making waves in national and international news, including July 2023 features in the Washington Post and BBC World Service.
In partnership with Mad Agriculture and Zero Foodprint, and with grant support from the USDA’s Department of Urban Agriculture, Boulder County helped launch Restore Colorado in 2021. The pilot aimed to foster a more circular and resilient food system by connecting food businesses to nearby farms and ranches. Participating restaurants and food businesses collect a few cents from each food purchase. These proceeds get distributed to local farmers and ranchers through “Restore Colorado grants” which support regenerative agriculture projects that improve soil health and draw down carbon. This pilot was extremely successful and garnered support from Governor Jared Polis. Now, Restore Colorado is expanding across the state in partnership with the state’s Department of Agriculture. Read more at Colorado Public Radio, Food Tank, US News & World Report, and Westword.
Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grants
Boulder County’s voter-approved Sustainability Tax funds several countywide sustainability initiatives, including $405,000 specifically for Sustainable Food and Agriculture grants. Farmers, agricultural producers, the private sector, and non-profits can apply for capital grant funding for projects that benefit Boulder County’s food system and agricultural lands across five 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; and
- Programmatic and resource support for frontline farm workers and organizations.