First, we are sad that we are not able to all meet in person right now and look forward to rescheduling for a time later this year for us to gather and lift a glass to all the things that PVCF is doing and has done over the past year. Regardless of our ability to meet in person, your contributions and participation in allowing PVCF to exist speaks loud to this time of social distancing and the power of people coming together to make an impact for good on this planet and our community. We also want to celebrate and make sure you saw the announcement in February about the birth of Evan Price-Jenson. Welcome to the PVCF family Evan.
If you have been out Taft Hill lately you have seen all the beautiful rows of vegetables that are “Springing” to life at Native Hill farm. After a year of rest and soil replenishment, we are very happy that Native Hill produce is once again available for CSA and community purchase. Thanks to four members that provided interim financing for the new storage and processing barn. Also excited for the expanded farm stand and greenhouse that will enhance the growing and shopping experience this season. Summer shares are all sold out, but fresh produce will be available daily 10 am-6 pm at the farm in the new farmstand and at Larimer County Farmers Markets every Saturday through Oct 31st from 9 am-1 pm. Please visit Native Hill website for the most current updates.
If you head a few miles further north up to Dixon Station, you will find Jodar Farm full of life with chickens and pigs frolicking in the green pastures and basking in the Spring sun. Lots of pork and pasture-raised chicken and eggs are available. There are a number of purchasing options. Jodar has added organic pasture-raised chicken back in the mix this year and a reminder that chicken is only available to CSA members. They have also added an online store, as well, where you can purchase pork and eggs, with a few different pick-up options. Check out the Jodar website to sign up for their summer CSA and for more details on how to order and pick up fresh locally raised meat and eggs.
A few further updates related to Dixon Station and Jodar. As was shared in previous newsletters, the Dixon station House and feed yards are currently on the market along with 35 acres. It is currently under contract with a proposed closing date of July 16th. This sale will allow PVCF to pay off the bridge loans that made the purchase of the Dixon Station farm possible. We are excited that the prospective buyers raise cattle and will continue using the property for agricultural uses. The board has been in constant communication with Aaron and Ria during this process to ensure a smooth transition to a new farm headquarters with new out buildings and yards that will be located on the north end of the 74 remaining acres. This new infrastructure will provide a significant upgrade to the current outbuildings and will help support Jodar as they scale their pasture-raised chicken and pig operation, and continue to grow good quality hay and alfalfa on the 70 acres of irrigated pastures throughout the growing season. Aaron and Ria have recently purchased a home in Fort Collins that was owned by Aaron’s family and moved out of the Dixon Station house the beginning of June.
One last note about Dixon Station is that after two years of working with Colorado Open Lands we have finally submitted the grant application to NRCS that will hopefully provide funding for up to 50% of the conservation easement on the remaining 74 acres. This will keep the land conserved as working farmland into perpetuity. This has been a long process and we are very appreciative of our Bridge Funders that extended our loans making this application possible. There is a chance that we will need each member to sign off on this grant, so please stay tuned to future emails for updates and requests.
Many of you have been following the progress of the Montava development over the past couple of years. After a few big city council meetings (both big importance and big crowds) Montava was given the support and approval they needed by City Council to continue moving all processes forward. Due to the COVID -19 outbreak, the timeline has been extended a bit, but the Montava team is still working full time to get all things in order to bring this new community and agriculture centric development to Fort Collins. Native Hill’s transition will most likely be pushed back a year to begin growing in the spring of 2022. This will allow for another year of cover cropping and preparing the soil for a smooth transition to a thriving vegetable production. For the most recent updates on the Montava development, please visit the Montava website.
Another fun update is the ongoing conversation with the City of Fort Collins for PVCF to manage up to 200 acres of city-owned natural areas. Last fall we received word that our proposal had been chosen by the city to begin using these properties for agricultural use and development. Julia Feder is heading up the process for the city. We are hopeful that this will result in PVCF being able to offer access to this land for the 2021 growing season. Please stay tuned to future monthly newsletters for updates to this project. In addition to the City of Fort Collins the conversation we have also been approached by Larimer County and a few private landowners in the area about the opportunity to manage their land for agricultural use as well. This is a bit of a pivot from our original business model. However, it provides a more affordable entry point for us to fulfill our mission of providing affordable land access in our community. By expanding to land that we manage but do not own we are able to keep more farmland in agricultural use.
The last update that hopefully you read about in the December newsletter is about the launch of the Northern Colorado Foodshed Project. The Foodshed Project is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The aim of the Foodshed Project is to support the comprehensive growth of our local food economy by collaboratively improving infrastructure, organizational capacity, and demand while cooperating with PVCF and others to continue the all-important work of ensuring we have enough farmers and farmland. PVCF has been instrumental in the launch, but the Foodshed Project is an independent entity with its own board of directors. The PVCF Board is thrilled to see the Foodshed Project come to life and we are eager to work together with this new organization on the important work of growing our local food economy, from farm to plate and everywhere in between. To learn more visit the Foodshed Project website to see what they are already working on!