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February 28, 2021

OSCAR Newsletter | February 2021

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February 2021


Welcome to Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resilience (OSCAR) newsletter. This newsletter is emailed once a month and contains stories and information about our work and ways the public can get involved in sustainability and climate action initiatives.


Tim Broderick

TIM BRODERICK

Senior Sustainability Strategist, Boulder County

This February, Boulder County selected the 2021 recipients of Sustainable Food and Agriculture Funds. At its core, this funding aims to further the vision of a sustainable, local, healthy, and community-supported food supply that is accessible to all. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, this vision has not dimmed: farms across the county saw increases in demand. Sky Pilot Farm, a 2020 grant recipient, saw a 200% increase in direct to customer sales between 2019 and 2020, while Aspen Moon Farm, another 2020 grant recipient, saw a quadrupling of participating CSA members.

OSCAR recognizes the importance of supporting the Boulder County farmers and producers creating a sustainable food supply for local consumption. Last year's fund recipients used their grants to implement regenerative agriculture practices such as perennial planting, cover cropping, regenerative grazing, no-till drilling, and smart irrigation; all while increasing local food production. These practices increase soil nutrient levels, foster healthy ecosystems, sequester carbon, and help crops become more resistant in the face of climate change.

Below are the farms and organizations whose projects were selected for 2021 Sustainable Food and Agriculture Fund grants. You can follow OSCAR on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more in-depth information about these exciting projects in the weeks to come. Congratulations to this year’s recipients! — Tim

2021 Sustainable Food & Agriculture Fund Projects:

  • Boulder Mushroom | Fungal Inoculation of On-Farm Biomass for Carbon-Negative Farming Best Practices: Pilot to build biologically active soil by transforming waste carbon material through the planting of edible strains of fungi.
  • Boulder Valley School District | Farm to Institution Processing Innovation Planning and Pilot: Pilot to procure and process local food for institutional buyers like schools, universities, and hospitals.
  • Community Table Farm | Mushrooms and Composting on Small Farms: Pilot of on-farm mushroom production; mushroom composting as a soil amendment for garden beds.
  • Dharma’s Garden | Outdoor Education Shelter: Building of a seasonal shelter for outdoor education focused on regenerative agriculture and soil health.
  • Earth Table | Demonstrate Regenerative Agriculture Techniques for Six Vegetable Gardens: Program to initiate minimum till and cover crop techniques to grow garden vegetables for local food banks.
  • The Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition | Educational Curriculum for Resilient and Sustainable Young Farmers: Creation of an educational curriculum that focuses on animal husbandry, soil restoration, business fundamentals for farming and ranching, and the production and distribution of small-scale grains.
  • Garden to Table | Outreach and Training for Sustainable Growing Practices in School Gardens: Development of a garden-based learning curriculum for school gardens with an emphasis on sustainable growing practices and bilingual education.
  • Growing Gardens | Long Gardens Conservation and Agricultural Plan Implementation: Implementation of a comprehensive ten-year agricultural management plan on a 25-acre urban educational farm.
  • Isabelle Farm | Regenerative Grazing on Forage & Cover Crops Project: Conversion of 300 acres of cropland from a traditional hay, grain, and silage rotation to a cover crop-grazing system.
  • Kilt Farm | Land Regeneration Pilot Project for Public and Private Lands: Mineral balancing, biological inoculations, and cover cropping to turn 13 acres of degraded soil into productive agricultural land.
  • Red Wagon Organic Farms | Increasing the Local Winter Food Supply for Boulder County: Increased production of winter root crops for CSA members, local restaurants, and wholesale customers.

Sustainable Food and Ag Fund

Longmont's Sky Pilot Farm used their 2020 Sustainable Food & Agriculture Fund grant to advance their regenerative and mobile grazing practices.


Boulder County Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) hosted an informational webinar about Restore Colorado earlier this month. The webinar featured a presentation by local restauranteurs participating in the program, Philip Taylor, Co-Founder of Mad Agriculture, and Anthony Myint, Co-Founder of Zero Foodprint, winner of the James Beard Foundation's '2020 Humanitarian of the Year' award.

Restore Colorado is a voluntary program that gives participating restaurants the opportunity to fight climate change and support local agriculture. Restaurants that choose to participate can add an optional 1% surcharge to the customer receipt. This surcharge revenue will be used to support carbon farming on regional farmland.

Watch the webinar below or visit Zero Foodprint for more information about the program.

AnthonyMyint


PACE Small Business Equity Program

When Cilantro Mexican Restaurant’s old ice machine broke, they lacked funds to replace it. For months, Cilantro’s owner Lucy and her staff had to haul in heavy bags of ice. With the support of Partners for a Clean Environment’s (PACE) Small Business Equity Program, Lucy was able to apply for assistance in purchasing a new, energy efficient ice machine.

Not only did this ice machine upgrade help Lucy save time and money on daily ice purchases, it translated into significant savings in energy costs and usage; estimated at $1,386 and 15,398 kWh annually.

PACE’s Small Business Equity Program helps small businesses like Lucy’s replace outdated restaurant and grocery equipment. Updating equipment with newer, more efficient models means lower energy usage, smaller electricity bills, and a reduced impact on climate change.

Want to learn more? Opportunities to participate in the 2021 PACE Small Business Equity Program will be available soon on the PACE website.

Cilantro


Watch: 2020 Sustainability Grants Presentation

Boulder County’s Environmental Sustainability Matching Grant Program provides an opportunity for municipalities in Boulder County to undertake environmental sustainability initiatives within their communities. In addition, the Grant Program also enhances collaborative efforts and leverages resources across Boulder County for a more regional approach to environmental sustainability.

Watch the video below to see highlights from each municipality’s projects in 2020. Learn more about the 2021 recipients and projects here.

MunicipalityGrantsPresentation


Recent News


Climate-Lawsuit

Boulder County lawsuit against oil giants to continue in local court

Boulder District Court will hear Boulder, Boulder County's climate liability suit against ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy.

“After a year of climate-fueled wildfires and poor air quality, it is clear that the climate crisis is profoundly impacting Boulder County,” said Commissioner Matt Jones, “Our communities will continue to face the rising costs associated with climate change. As such, we believe that these companies’ roles in altering climate should be considered by a Boulder County jury.”

Read more in the Daily Camera, Boulder County News, and Colorado Politics.


covidoutcomes

State health department analysis links air pollution, communities of color, and COVID-19 outcomes

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released an analysis that shows an increase in long-term exposure to fine particle air pollution is generally associated with more COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths at the census-tract level in Colorado. The analysis also underscores the well-established association between communities of color and COVID-19 outcomes. Read more.


Air Quality and Public Health


Air commission adopts landmark rule to cut methane from oil and gas pneumatic devices

This February, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) unanimously approved a landmark rule requiring oil and gas operators to install zero-bleed or zero-emission pneumatic devices for both new and existing operations.

After months of negotiations that began in November, Boulder County joined other local governments, environmental groups, and industry to put forward a consensus proposal that became the foundation for the AQCC rule.

Pneumatic controllers – devices that open and close valves to regulate temperature and pressure at production facilities and well sites are the second largest source of methane emissions from oil and gas operations in Colorado.

They also release volatile organic compounds that contribute to the Denver Metro Area’s high ozone, as well as cancer-causing benzene and other hazardous air pollutants.

"After a year of explosive wildfires and dangerous air quality, it is clear that Colorado communities are already paying the costs of the climate crisis. Millions of Front Range residentsespecially those in historically marginalized and disproportionately impacted communitieshave been suffering from exposure to ozone pollution due to these sources. While there is still much more work to be done to tackle the ozone problem, this new rule will mean improved conditions for Coloradans all over the state,” said Jeff Zayach, Executive Director, Boulder County Public Health.

Learn more about what the AQCC's new rule means.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap and climate equity

The Colorado Energy Office released the final version of the Colorado Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Pollution Reduction Roadmap in January and briefed the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission on the final report in February; the presentation can be viewed here. Colorado’s approach under the Roadmap for GHG reductions is through a sector specific strategy, meaning that emission reduction plans focus individually on major sectors such as transportation, oil and gas, electric utilities, and buildings rather than an economy-wide plan. As an alternative to this approach, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently petitioned the AQCC to start a rulemaking process on an extensively researched economy-wide plan. On February 19, the AQCC rejected this petition, but did commit to continuing this conversation and asked staff to research some key questions.

Boulder County and CC4CA supported moving forward with a stakeholder process to consider EDF’s proposal because it may be more cost-effective and more efficient at reducing near-term GHG emissions than the current approach. Colorado is making great strides, but under the current plans, we will need greater reductions to meet the goals set out for the state. Boulder County continues push for big and bold measures to combat the climate crisis by engaging in all aspects of these climate and air quality plans.

Colorado’s climate equity principles are also considered under the GHG Roadmap, including public listening sessions and stakeholder meetings and the development of a Climate Equity Framework. The Framework and accompanying Data Viewer will guide the state’s engagement of communities disproportionately impacted by climate change to ensure rules benefit these communities.

Both the Draft Climate Equity Framework and Draft Climate Equity Data Viewer are open for public comment now. Your input is welcome by April 5, 2021. Take this survey or email comments to climatechange@state.co.us — make sure to include "ATTN: Data Viewer" in the subject line.


Meet the Team

Matt Hannon, Business Sustainability Advisor

What do you do at OSCAR? I’m a Business Sustainability Advisor that works with businesses in all towns, cities and sectors in Boulder County, minus the City of Boulder. I also help manage the various Green Business programs throughout the county.

What do you like most about your job? Seeing the sense of gratitude and “a-ha!” moments with businesses when we help them afford energy efficiency upgrades, educate them about zero-waste practices, or provide them with offerings or an understanding of how they can incorporate win-win situations into their buildings and businesses.

Hometown? I’m a full blooded Canadian that spent most of his childhood splitting time between New Canaan, CT and Sugarbush, VT. I’ve also had two years stints in Jackson, WY, Washington D.C., and Missoula, MT before settling down in Colorado in 2014.

Hobbies? Long hikes in the summer and deep powder days in the winter, with soccer being my main year-round activity.

What are you watching right now? I’m an avid wildlife enthusiast and CPW just released a fantastic 4-part short series on mountain lion populations and behavior in Colorado.

Favorite musician? Ever since 8th grade, Rage Against the Machine. Though a bit too “heavy metal” for some, they have one of the world’s most brilliant guitarists and all of their songs are about social injustices, human and environmental rights, and debunking some of America’s longstanding hypocrisies.

Favorite movie? I’m a huge fan of comedies, so Dumb and Dumber takes the cake, but The Shawshank Redemption and The Shining are honorable mentions.

MattHannonMatt Hannon Faves

Favorite book? The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

What are you reading right now? I just finished Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Events Calendar

Jack's Solar Garden Artist on the Farm Application Deadline

March 3, 2021

Selected artist will receive $1000 stipend to highlight solar garden's connection to the community through visual art.

Submit an application here.

Colorado GHG Roadmap: Climate Equity Input Deadline

April 5, 2021

Deadline for submission of public comments on the Colorado's GHG Roadmap Climate Equity Framework and Climate Equity Data Viewer.

Take this survey or email comments to climatechange@state.co.us with "ATTN: Data Viewer" in the subject line.

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