Plans are moving forward on a study of the drivers of the local economy in Santa Cruz County. The Study will look at all the traditional economic sectors and will also include sectors and subsectors within the nature based and the restorative economy.

Included within the broad category of the restorative economy are tourism that builds on cultural, historic, and nature-based resources; ranching; farming, including the wine industry, and efforts to grow and distribute healthy foods locally; educational programs that prepare people to thrive in the local economy; restoration services that conserve water, restore habitat for native plants and animals, reuse and recycle waste, and expand the sequestration of carbon. 

The idea for a study was conceived by a small number of residents who formed an informal planning group in Nov. 2020. From the planning group, a management group was selected to handle selection of an administrative entity, selection of the consultant team, approval of the consultant contract, and liaison with the administrative entity. Management group members are Chuck Klingenstein, Linda Shore, Jonathan Lutz, and Damien Rawoot.

The Town of Patagonia has become the administrative entity for the study. The Town will contract with the selected consultant to complete the study; receive, hold, and disperse funds raised to support study costs; and post and distribute study findings electronically. 

A request for proposals has been prepared and sent to a list of consultants who have been encouraged to share it broadly. Eleven firms participated in a bidders’ conference held on March 10. Proposals are due April 15. The consultants will be chosen by the study’s management group the end of April. 

The planning group’s fundraising effort to cover the costs of consultants and the administrative entity is now close to reaching its target of $52,500. Sponsors have been asked to contribute between $250 and $5000 to support the costs of the study. Many thanks to the following sponsors who have done so: Arizona Trails, Biophilia Foundation, Borderlands Restoration Network, Circle Z Ranch, Debra Paterson, Dos Cabezas WineWorks, Friends of Sonoita Creek, Gregg Gorton and Pamela Sankar, Hummingbird Monitoring Network, Patagonia Area Resource Alliance, Sky Island Alliance, Sonoita Propane, South32, Sue Archibald, Terry L. Root, The Nature Conservancy, Tony Sedgewick, Tucson Audubon, Wildlife Corridors LLC, and two anonymous sponsors.

There is still time to become a sponsor. Please email to learn how. Study results should be available to the community this fall.