Of the 24 organic farmers who started working Boulder County land in 2011, only five are still in business.
There are a lot of reasons for the roughly 80 percent failure rate, and everyone has an opinion on the definitive cause — farming in Colorado is tough, the County doesn’t give farmers enough resources, the land is not ideal, the farmers were bad farmers and on and on.
One obstacle that many farmers, particularly small-scale organic farmers, agree exists is the County’s Land Use Code, which they find restrictive, keeping them from buying infrastructure and engaging in activities that would help make their farms financially viable.
So the County, in response to complaints about the Code, reached out to the community a few weeks ago, asking farmers and members of the public to comment on how the Code can be improved. On Jan. 18, the County Land Use Department will hold a public meeting to share the results and hear more concerns.
But there’s been controversy about the process by which the County has engaged farmers and citizens in this attempt to update the Code; it’s fitting, as this is the latest in a series of controversies regarding agriculture on Boulder County unincorporated land.