January 10, 2022

OOPS: Boulder County allowing farmers to grow GMOs on open space after organic utopia didn’t materialize.

County residents opposed to conventional seed engineering and pesticide use had over the years persuaded leaders to outlaw the methods on public land, hoping those acres would become a utopian garden of organic vegetable plots and locally in-demand crops.

Schlagel knows full well that farming public land in Boulder County is performative, visually and politically. As he wheels the John Deere around the cornfield he harvested in November, third-floor patients from UC Health’s Longs Peak Hospital on the east side of Longmont can watch him make the dust fly. He’s been willing to work within that constant judgment of Boulder County consumers.

But he’s not willing to lose his family farm raising crops that people won’t pay for.

“It’s hard for people living in the city of Boulder, and even on the western side of Boulder County, to understand what real agriculture even looks like,” Schlagel said. The crop bans were “a mandate from somebody that we’re going to transition to something better that is very naive. Because if there was something better, we would already be there.”


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