Governor Hickenlooper Launches Colorado’s Bottom-Up Economic Development

Join the conversation!

The Governor’s Office and the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade has partnered with Colorado State University’s Office of Engagement and Extension to engage Coloradoans in a statewide conversation about Economic Development.

Governor Hickenlooper is asking for residents across the State, county by county, to share their stories, challenges, and strengths by developing a strategic economic development plan for their county. These county plans will then be rolled up into 14 regional economic development plans, which collectively will be rolled up into a statewide economic development plan.

You are invited to actively participate in your county’s economic development planning processes. Provide input and ideas and ask friends, family, neighbors and others to participate as well. Attend planning meetings, take the online survey at or send an email at

Also, please take advantage of an online economic development survey to help communicate your ideas about how to revitalize your local economy.

The results from the state’s on-line survey will be compiled by county and provided to each county. In support of the bottom-up approach, each county will determine its use and the relevance of such information.



5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by gary mahaffey on March 12, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I like the bottom up strategy. Keep me posted.


    • Posted by Shawn Martini on March 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm


      We can keep you posted but make sure you do your part as well! Take the survey and submit your comments on how the state can help your community.


  2. Posted by Scott in Boulder on March 15, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Hick’s platform, accompanied by the USDA, essentially boils down to exporting Colorado’s agri-products along with our soil nutrients. It only benefits the direct farmers and totally ignores creating a sustainable local food shed. Though I didn’t attend, several individuals among my locavore-minded friends attended. There was no discussion of organic foods in Colorado, representing a multi-billion dollar market. There was no discussion of local food. Considering Hickenlooper was there to talk about economic development, the primary pillar of his platform is exporting all our business to the benefit of a few very large farmers. Case in point, the largest potato farmer in Colorado lauded the USDA’s efforts to eliminate export barriers to Mexico. Mexico is his single largest customer followed by Canada. So, please understand this: with fuel prices rising, this potato head ships the bulk of his POTATOES out of our country. Rather than creating a local market and plowing resources, so to speak, back into our local economy, this fellow ships them away to earn a big fat profit for himself. Not that this is entirely wrong, but when Loop-man speaks out one side of his face about development and it only benefits a very few, then I think it’s appropriate to Bulls#it on his platform.

    Boulder county spends close to a billion dollars on food per year. About 1% comes from the county itself. So get this: We’re exporting a billion dollars of value to eat. What if we were to plow even 10% of those monies into producing and processing the foods grown here to stay here. A $100 MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS BORN! What if it could grow to 25%? Or 50%? Adding 500 million dollars to Boulder County would be a pretty considerable growth opportunity. Ironically, not one person on the august panel even mentioned the idea in passing. Like always, it’s up to practical minds to address the challenges at-hand. The politicians are too busy feathering beds, pressing flesh, smooching small children and angling for their next fund raiser to actually do the right thing for the majority of the citizenry. We the people must take action. Call Hickenlooper and ask him why he doesn’t support the local economy and creating a sustainable local food system? Ask him why he’s okay with genetically altered alfalfa contaminating and undermining the entire organic food system? He certainly didn’t say how he was going to do so and lamely stated “he didn’t know enough about the situation to comment.” Pathetic. Considering that in his short tenure as Governor the USDA has let three very important decisions that directly effect Colorado and Boulder County residents: Roundup Ready GMO Sugar Beets, Roundup Ready GMO Alfalfa and Roundup Ready Corn for ethanol.

    Bottom-up economic development is a misnomer. The launch was another business-as-usual affair attended by the apparatchik, bureaucrats and policy wonks along with their small band of monied special interest farmers, commodity movers and shakers. Bottoms-up, I believe, actually referred to the all the alcohol that was consumed while patting themselves on the back at what they’d done. Bottoms up folks. The drinks are being paid for by you and me while Loop and chickencoop crew mine Colorado’s soil resources and export them to the highest bidder.


    • Posted by Shawn Martini on March 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm


      Your comments started out great and you lost me by the end. It sounds like there is some real opportunity to develop a local market in Boulder. $1 billion is a lot of money to spend on food. It would be nice if you could keep more than 1% of that total in the local economy. There agricultural resources required to pull it off are certainly there. Boulder county has some of the most productive farmland in the state, not to mention a willing and able labor force required to grow the kinds of commodities needed to sustain the community.

      What are the barriers that you see to creating such a market? What would you like to see happen at the state level to help that process out?

      I would encourage you to take the survey linked above and to submit comments to the program. It is the best way to make sure that the next time this kind of Summit is called, that the local foods movement will be addressed.

      Thanks for reading the Pulse.


  3. Posted by Scott in Boulder on March 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    The biggest barriers to creating a vibrant and sustainable local food system is mental constipation and overcoming the inertia of incumbent businesses and mindsets. Industrial farming dominates here and throughout the US to our collective health detriment and at the expense of our soils and water. I personally don’t see that state having to do anything. Especially when the state, it seems, it only focused on export the state’s resources. This is a local matter and can be pushed along through citizen effort. Again, as the tenor of the meeting was industrial ag-focused, and in consideration that Boulder represents a veritable epi-center of organic consciousness, I’m quite flummoxed that local ag, organics and sustainable agriculture (minimizing and eliminating fuel and chem inputs) wasn’t on the agenda. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though. Considering the Fed-level heavies in attendance, addressing hippy organics might have spooked the stiffs. 😉


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