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Central Colorado Foodshed Partnership

Putting Colorado Food on Colorado Plates

About the Partnership

The Central Colorado Foodshed Partnership—including public and private entities—share a mission “to put Colorado food on Colorado plates” in pursuit of a more resilient and equitable regional foodshed. Our goals include: 

  • strengthening cross-sector communication
  • developing strategic alliances 
  • improving the understanding of food system assets and gaps as well as past and current initiatives 
  • bolstering economic viability for regional agricultural producers

The Central Colorado Foodshed Partnership is composed of El Paso County Public Health Department, Colorado State University-Extension, El Paso County, JH Consulting, LLC, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and City of Colorado Springs Office of Innovation.

Vision, Mission, and Values

The Partnership co-created a Team Charter in order to align our individual and collective goals, needs, and expectations and clarify our mission, vision, and values. 


To Put Colorado Food on Colorado Plates


To build and strengthen a resilient and inclusive regional food culture through strong communications, resilient food systems, and strategic alliances.

What is a Foodshed?

Similar to a watershed which bounds the flow of water within a particular region from waterways to particular populations, a foodshed is a geographic region where food flows from the place that it is produced to the place it is consumed—where it comes from and where it ends up. 

This food flow is regionally distinctive and encompasses the land where the food is grown or raised, the natural water sources that support food production, the facilities that process and distribute the food and the markets that buy it, and the locations and communities where the food is consumed. A foodshed is made up of populations of agricultural producers, processors, aggregators, retailers, consumers, composters, and other food system actors facilitating the flow of food from land to grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and communities.

Critically, a foodshed is intricately linked to other natural and social boundaries including waterways and water availability, land use policies, transportation routes, viable market channels, and more.

Find Your Foodshed, American Planning Association.

What is a Food System?

A community food system is one in which food production, processing, distribution, and consumption are geographically integrated and benefit the environment, economy, and social and nutritional health of a particular community.

About the Project

The Central Colorado Foodshed Project is broken into two phases – one focused on information gathering and assessment, and one focused on convening stakeholders and strategizing for future implementation efforts.

Phase 1: Discovery
In Phase One, the Partnership will 

    • Gather information for a historical review of past projects undertaken by organizations, entities, and individuals to reveal successes, failures, and areas of opportunity. 
    • Begin working on a strategic, community-focused communications plan targeting consumers and farmers, including creating a website and developing additional methods for sharing partner and food system updates and opportunities.
    • Conduct a comprehensive food system resilience assessment—across food availability, food accessibility, and food utilization issues—to better understand existing food system knowledge, assets, and vulnerabilities. 
    • Review and leverage secondary data sources to better understand both the history and current state of the food system, with further ground truthing through targeted focus groups and interviews.
Phase 2: Convene, Share, and Strategize
In Phase Two, the Partnership will 




    • Plan and host the inaugural Central Colorado Foodshed Gathering for reporting preliminary findings collected during Phase One and soliciting feedback on the assessments, reviewing collected and collated primary and secondary data, and sharing evaluation themes and summaries. This regional Gathering will complement the Colorado Food Summit hosted annually by Colorado State University Food Systems Institute by providing our region’s voice for statewide food and agricultural policy. 
    • Develop an action plan based on the data and feedback gathered throughout Phase One. The action plan will include specific strategies to:
        • Increase Central Coloradan access to affordable, nutritious, culturally-relevant, and regional food
        • Increase Central Coloradan consumer awareness about the scope and value of food grown, raised, harvested, and processed in a resilient regional food system
        • Increase sustainable, viable market opportunities and access points in the food supply chain for Central Coloradan farmers, ranchers, food businesses, processors, and distributors

    For more background about Central Colorado’s foodshed and the CCFP, read the grant proposal [insert PDF link here].

Additional Information/Resources

Guiding Questions
Our guiding questions best capture the core areas of learning and understanding for the Central Colorado Foodshed Project. As the CCFP team moves through Phases I and II, these guiding questions will ensure we stay on track with our objectives and develop an action plan rooted in the realities and needs of Central Colorado’s food system stakeholders.


    • What can we learn from the history of prior community initiatives to inform our coordination across sectors throughout the entire foodshed?
    • How can we develop and/or strengthen cross-sector communication and collaboration throughout our food system?
    • How can we develop a strategic, community-focused communications plan targeting consumers and farmers?
    • Where and what are the gaps, deficiencies, or limitations within our food system?
    • What and where are our food systems assets and vulnerabilities?
    • What are the capacities, resources, and technical assistance needs?
    • How can we determine readiness  around (or are we ready for) a future local or regional food coalition?
Project Updates
The Central Colorado Foodshed Project team is busy planning and preparing for many of our Phase I activities including both farmer and consumer focus groups as well as our food system resilience assessment. Our continuous learning approach aims to create a culture of understanding and reflection as data is reviewed, while remaining flexible and responsive to emerging issues and insights. Check back soon for more details and updates!
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USDA Grant Statement

Funding for the Central Colorado Foodshed project was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM22RFSPCO1051-00. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.