Food & Agriculture

Success Story

Healthy Food for All

Boulder County was one of the initial sponsors of the Harvest Bucks program.

The Harvest Bucks Program provides clients who rely on federal nutrition assistance programs with a way to purchase locally grown, healthy foods from the farmers’ markets. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients can double their benefits when buying fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ markets held in Boulder and Longmont.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food security means “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Currently, more than 43,000 people in Boulder County do not meet that threshold (14% of all residents and 18% of children).

The Harvest Bucks program doubles SNAP redemptions dollar for dollar (ranging from $20-40) for fresh fruit and vegetables at all Boulder County farmers markets. In 2015, the SNAP and Harvest Bucks sales were more than $76,000 – an increase of 156% from the year before. This program is an effective way to increase low-income residents’ access to healthy, local produce and also increases the customer base for area farmers.

Why It Matters
What's Being Done
Food & Agriculture
Why it Matters



Boulder County is committed to the production of locally grown food for local markets. Approximately 25,000 acres of open space is leased to 65 tenants as productive agricultural properties.

productivity increase

Crop production increases with the implementation of water efficient irrigation systems. The installation of 25 center pivot irrigation systems increased productivity between 30% and 50%, while reducing the amount of irrigation water used by 30%.


In 2015, Harvest Bucks participants were surveyed to better understand how fresh vegetables and fruit consumption and purchasing patterns may have changed as a result of the Harvest Bucks Program. Results showed that more than 85% of participants reported increasing their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and 83% of participants said they would not have come to the farmers’ markets without the incentives.

Personally [the Harvest Bucks program] has been an absolute lifesaver for my budget and diet. I am extremely grateful this program exists and hope it continues in the future!”
Boulder Resident
Why it Matters


Carbon Stocks

Boulder County Open Space agricultural lands held 1.46 million metric tons CO2e to 20cm depth at the end of 2013.

Local food reduces the greenhouse gas emissions associated with storing and transporting food over long distances.


Farmers leasing open space land implement best practices in soil health and climate awareness. Farm operations may include cover crops, reduced tillage, integration of livestock into farming systems and precision fertilizer applications.

Why it Matters



Of the 63,725 acres of publicly owned and leased open space land, 25,000 acres are leased to local farmers and ranchers, ensuring the preservation of productive land for future generations.


Increased access to local food for low income residents, with a 156% increase in SNAP and Harvest Bucks participation.


In a pilot program, volunteers gathered 2,200 pounds of produce left in Boulder County fields after harvest to donate to local food banks.

I think this program is absolutely necessary for my family. As a single mom with 2 toddlers, the importance of fresh organic food is essential in our lives and we are very grateful for the opportunity – keep it coming.”
Harvest Bucks Program Participant
What’s Being done



Agriculture has been a part of Boulder County for 175 years, and today much of the remaining agricultural land is protected in perpetuity through open space initiatives.

stays local

More than 90% of all crops grown on Boulder County agricultural land ends up in the food system.


2,416 acres of agricultural land on open space is certified or in transition to organic.

What’s Being done


Open Space Land Leased for Agricultural Purposes

Boulder County leases 25,000 acres of open space to 65 tenants as productive agricultural properties. The leases allow much of the agriculture land to be self-sufficient and self-funded, and preserves agricultural heritage in Boulder County.

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Enhancing Sustainable Farming Practices

Boulder County has invested in developing market farm sites that support local farmers to sell their products throughout the region. The county also provides incentives to help local farmers install water-efficient irrigation systems, and implements soil and water monitoring.

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Education and Tours

Boulder County Parks and Open Space offers agricultural tours and water tours designed to raise public knowledge and support of local farms.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Food Assistance program or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assists low-income individuals and families with a portion of their monthly food costs. Everyone has the right to food that is nutritious and healthy.

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Harvest Bucks program

The Harvest Bucks program doubles SNAP redemptions dollar for dollar (ranging from $20-40) for fresh fruit and vegetables at all Boulder County Farmers Markets.

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What’s Being done

Take Action

  • Do you want to support local farmers and purchase local food?

    Visit one of the many local farmers’ markets or sign-up for a local CSA (community supported agriculture) share. A CSA share provides an opportunity for community members to support a local farm and receive fresh vegetables and fruit for a season. Click here to find local CSAs.

  • Are you eligible for WIC or food assistance (SNAP)?

    Check out the Harvest Bucks program to double SNAP redemptions dollar for dollar for fresh fruit and vegetables at all Boulder County farmers markets.

  • Do you want to meet local farmers who grow local food?

    Sign-up for a farm or water tour.