This region is uniquely situated at the interface of agricultural production and abundant natural resources. Due to their natural amenities, they are normally positioned to take advantage of the tourists drawn to the region for both outdoor recreation and agritourism opportunities, but the COVID pandemic has hit tourism in the region particularly hard. Outdoor recreation, agritourism and adventure tourism may still offer communities opportunities to diversify as it appears the pathway to recovery for the tourism sector may focus on the types of tourism that allow for outdoor, spatially extensive and drivable trips. More value-added and beverage innovations in the region complements the tourism and entrepreneurial dynamic of the region.


Create an ecosystem that encourages growth of new industries, particularly those driven by entrepreneurs in innovative spaces                 



Convene a team of regional partners that explored strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the NW Colorado region, with a focus on the creative economy, including outdoor, culinary, and arts-based enterprises


Facilitate community discussion and planning process to prioritize and coordinate stakeholders and activities in the Mountains and Mesa region


Coordinating and Strengthening the Mountains and Mesa Colorado Tourism Region                 



Host at least 1 workshop with follow-up one-on-one technical assistance on market development to key tourism assets in the region (lodging, host ranches, chefs, outfitters, and river guides)


Based on chosen regional priorities, develop and host a 1.5-day workshop to teach principles of and complete plans to target specific creative economy segments, frame strategies and create action plan


Provide technical assistance and facilitation to better coordinate the outdoor recreation, food, beverage and heritage tourism activities of the new Mountains and Mesas CTO tourism region


Assess feasibility and inform potential of 3-4 pilot food and beverage experiential tourism and production concepts that target unfilled niches in the Colorado market, providing an economic impact assessment for each


Given increasing interest in outdoor tourism, regional farms, food businesses and beverage enterprises, explore feasibility, pilot and assess experiential tourism event for region


Explore viability of various light food and beverage processing infrastructure.                  



COVID events have led producers to understand the vulnerability of national supply chains while metro institutional buyers re-evaluate the foods they buy. Given this an implementation plan for the region will be developed.


Convene stakeholders to build a model for a value-added food processing facility. Develop an implementation plan for creation of processing facility. Develop market channels for processed products

Delta County Collaboration

Originally, Delta County prioritized a feasibility study to explore an Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) plant for their producers who had seconds and were interested in creating a new value-added market. The initial study showed little promise, but we still had resources for implementation, so we decided to explore other options. Since Delta County had identified the frozen and dehydrated market as a potential new market channel for fresh products out of the region and they are looking to develop marketing and production implementation plans to bring together the right operational and ownership partners in a public-private partnership effort, we let potential producer-partners help to identify new directions.
The Food Bank was supported through a cost-share on purchase of equipment needed to expand dehydration, labeling for markets and the labor to conduct and track data on test batches. Four producers had the chance to pilot production. They were compensated for their product as a means to account for the time they spent setting up logistics and tracking data for the pilot.
The consumer feedback surveys on individual dehydrated products were conducted throughout November and December at the CSU SPUR campus in Denver (photo below). A technical report on findings is being shared with producers in Spring 2024 and stay tuned for a summary report on the CSU REDI website later in 2024.


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