Jock Gilchrist, Research Fellow
This is Part 3 of a 5-part blog series about regenerative economics in Colorado.
Natural Capitalism Solutions is completing a 6-month process of research about the Colorado economy. Before we started, we suspected that Colorado is already supported by industries that are more regenerative in nature – ones that do no harm to the planet, and even restore it, while simultaneously improving social wellbeing and economic prosperity.
Our initial suspicions were correct. Colorado has many regenerative industries like outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and natural foods that support hundreds of thousands of jobs and contribute to Colorado’s prosperity. This isn’t common knowledge – which is why we’re sharing these stories on our website. Our first two blogs in this series described the Outdoor Recreation industry and the Craft Brewing industry.
Another sector that is quickly growing is organic agriculture. Between 1997 and 2015, Colorado’s organic farmland grew from 3,716 acres to over 151,000 acres – a total of a 4000% increase, and an over 220% average increase every year.
This remarkable growth reflects an increasing demand from Coloradans, Americans, and others around the globe to know that their food is grown chemical-free and with farming methods that are friendlier to surrounding ecosystems and wildlife.
Beyond providing increased jobs and revenue, the growth in organic land in Colorado is also good news for the economy in another way. According to research by the Organic Trade Association, a high level of organic agriculture activity boosts a county’s median household income by over $2,000 and decreases the poverty rate by 1.35%.
As a sector that reduces pollution and provides increasing prosperity to Colorado, the growth of organic agriculture is a welcome trend.