On August 16th, PVCF hosted Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Kate Greenburg, and members of her staff to showcase our innovative conservation agriculture collaboration with the Natural Areas Department of the City of Fort Collins. Also in attendance were Larimer County Commissioners John Kefalas and Jody Shadduck-McNally, as well as Jeni Arndt, Mayor of Fort Collins, and a number of city, county, and state staff members. As participants gathered for coffee and pastries, our Executive Director, Stacy Lischka, delivered brief remarks about the essential nature of these partnerships to both preserve land access for farmers and help the city meet its commitment to improve conservation outcomes and resident access to local foods.
Nic Koontz from Native Hill Farm gave the group a tour of Kestrel Fields before a delicious farm to table lunch provided by The Regional, after which the group moved to Flores Del Sol. There, Val Sumner of NoCo Cattle Company led a tour of the site, which included her operation and Colorado Fresh Farms’s vegetable crops and farmstand. After that, the group heard from Dennis Lacerte of Belafonte Farms about his experience with the Foodshed Project’s Farm Accelerator Project, which is also housed on the site. Finally, Commissioner Greenberg spoke about the state’s commitment to helping farmers build successful operations in Colorado.
This event was a wonderful opportunity to share the important outcomes of our partnership with the Fort Collins Natural Areas Department in supporting small, local agricultural businesses. Our innovative approaches to jointly achieving these goals while also meeting the conservation goals of the Natural Areas Department are truly cutting edge, and we were thankful to demonstrate the value of this partnership to state, county, and city representatives. This visit has spurred continuing conversations with state, county and city partners on how to increase our impact and support even more farmers and producers.
2022 Farm Season is here and our producers have some amazing offerings available this year!
The list of farmers leasing land from PVCF is growing! There are meat and vegetable CSA’s, beef and other products for you to enjoy all season.
Native Hill’s Farm Shares are on sale now! Enjoy 24 weeks of fresh, local, and naturally grown produce. Multiple share sizes available and you can use your share membership account at the Larimer County Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or at our Farm Stand 7 days a week. Farm Shares help support the farm upfront but anyone can shop at our Farm Stand or at our stand at the Larimer County Farmer’s Market.
Purchase your share today on the Native Hill website
Jodar Farms 2022 CSA Shares are available! Sign up to receive locally raised chicken, eggs, and pork. Create a personalized order that fits your family’s needs and pick up at convenient locations in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, or Longmont.
Learn more and purchase your share at the Jodar Farms website.
Colorado Fresh Farms is located at the Flores del Sol property (8101 S. Timberline Road, Fort Collins, CO 80525). Colorado Fresh Farms sells plant starts, produce, eggs, bread, fruit and products from other local farms. Check out all the details and hours on their farm stand page!
Learn more and purchase your share at the Colorado Fresh Farms website
NoCo Cattle Company provides grass-fed and grass-finished beef focused on quality, environmental sustainability, and humane animal welfare practices. We work directly with PVCF and the City of Fort Collins open spaces to practice sustainable grazing while protecting the native animal habitats.
NoCo Cattle Company sells 1/4, 1/2, and whole sides of beef which is grass-fed and grass-finished with no growth-hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. We also have processing options for grain-finished for anyone interested! For more information check out Beef | NoCo Cattle Company
St. Michael’s Farms is your local Fort Collins Bee and Berry Farm, specializing in INFUSED Honey, Elderberries, Elderberry syrup, Goji Berries, Blackberries and Lavender. The elderberries are grown at Fort Collins Flores del Sol property.
Find out more at the St. Michael’s Farm website and follow on Instragram:@st_Michaelsfarms
Please join us in welcoming PVCF’s newest producer, Colorado Fresh Farms, owned and operated by Haydn Christensen. They are the first producer on Flores del Sol and will be farming on about 30 acres. They are currently building a farm stand on the property, so save the date for opening day, May 7, 2021! The stand will be open May 7 – October 31 and will have plant starts, local produce, eggs, and bread. When in season, they’ll also have potatoes from White Rock Farms in Mosca, CO, and Palisade peaches. Check out all the details, address, and hours on their farm stand page.
A little bit more about the farm: “From seed to harvest, we are dedicated to providing sustainably grown produce. We believe in incorporating new and improved farming techniques whenever possible and eliminating chemical pesticides to better the health of our environment. Our hydroponic greenhouses save energy, facilitate faster production, and allow us to use less water than we would in the field! For field operations, we like to take a responsible and intelligent approach to conventional farming by applying the newest and safest techniques possible.”
PVCF and Colorado Open Lands (COL) are thrilled to officially announce the conservation of the 72-acre Dixon Station farm in Wellington, CO. The conservation easement on Dixon Station was completed on March 25th and was supported by the Larimer County Natural Resources Department’s Help Preserve Open Space sales tax funds. From COL’s press release:
“A key method to make land affordable for the co-operative is the conservation easement. PVCF has partnered with COL to permanently protect this land for agriculture, which often results in tax benefits for the landowner. In this case, by restricting the Dixon Station property uses to productive agriculture, PVCF will qualify for funding from the Larimer County Help Preserve Open Space tax program as well as receive a tax credit that can be used to put towards future land purchases.
The Larimer County Commissioners and Open Lands Advisory Board saw the community value in protecting this farm and thereby supported this innovative agricultural model with a contribution of $150,000 towards the purchase of the Dixon Station property.
Larimer County is pleased to partner with Colorado Open Lands to complete this conservation easement acquisition that conserves both important agricultural values and a visual backdrop to the west of I-25,” said Daylan Figgs, Director of the Larimer County Natural Resources Department. The Dixon Station farm is just the first property that PVCF has conserved in perpetuity for agriculture. PVCF will continue to grow their cooperative membership and look for opportunities to leverage community-based ownership of farmland. They are hopeful that other communities will follow their lead in increasing local land and food access across the state.”
To read the full press release, click here. Thank you to Colorado Open Lands, The Larimer County Commissioners and Open Lands Advisory Board, and our PVCF members for making this project possible.
2021 CSA Season is here and our producers have some amazing offerings available this year!
By signing up for a CSA, you are making a commitment to directly support a small, local farm. This early season investment guarantees a source of income for farmers and enables them to secure the resources needed to grow delicious, nutrient-dense produce for you and your family.
Native Hill’s 2021 Summer Farm Shares are on sale now! Enjoy 24 weeks of fresh, local, and naturally grown produce. Multiple share sizes available and you can use your share membership account at the Larimer County Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or at the on farm Farm Stand 7 days a week.
Jodar Farms 2021 Summer/Fall CSA Shares are available! Sign up to receive locally raised chicken, eggs, and pork from June – October. Create a personalized monthly order that fits your family’s needs and pick up each month at convenient locations in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, or Longmont.
Please join us in welcoming PVCF’s newest producer, Colorado Fresh Farms. Stay tuned for an update email soon with more details about the awesome work they’re doing.
Starting May 7, visit their new Farm Stand at the Flores del Sol property (8101 S. Timberline Road, Fort Collins, CO 80525). Enjoy a unique selection of fresh, locally-grown produce and food from Colorado family farmers. Check out all the details and hours on their farm stand page!
Support our local farmers & small businesses! It is so important this season to support our local farmers, ranchers, food producers, and small businesses. Here are a few ways you can shop locally this season and support the people in our community:
Native Hill farm stand is open this winter! Visit weekdays 10 am to 4 pm to purchase local, fresh, naturally grown produce. You can also give the gift of locally grown food with their new gift card option, on sale now. And, before we know it, it will be time to sign up for summer CSA shares. Save the date for January 18, 2021, when shares go on sale.
Looking for meat and eggs? Jodar Farms has an online farm store! Pick up spots are offered throughout the Fort Collins – Longmont – Boulder – Denver area. Check out all the locations, dates, and times here.
The Fort Collins Winter Market is back again this year and has an extended season from November – May. Their new location at Foothills Mall is the perfect place to safely shop all your favorite local food producers (including Jodar!). This month there are markets on December 5th, 12th, and 19th. Visit focomarket.org for all market dates.
Don’t forget to support the restaurants that support our local farmers. This is a very challenging time for the service industry, so please considering ordering to-go, dining outside, or buying a gift card to use in the future.
– Through December 23rd, The Regional is offering a “buy some get some” gift card deal. Buy $50, get $10 additional or buy $100, get $25. Stop by during business hours or call to purchase (970-689-3508). They are also offering the #beatbobbyflay Turkey Pot Pie throughout the month. Call ahead to preorder for pick up on Fridays, 4-8pm.
– little on mountain offers a delicious daily family meal for takeaway. To order, click here. They are also now accepting reservations. You can join them for brunch Wednesday- Sunday 8 am-1 pm and supper 3 pm-close every day of the week.
It’s official! We are delighted to announce that PVCF has signed two long-term agricultural leases with the City of Fort Collins! The leases began on November 1st and include 150-acres on South Timberline Road, known as Flores del Sol, and 30 acres on West Vine Dr, called Kestrel Fields. These projects represent a great leap forward for PVCF, and we are grateful to all who have worked over the years to make it possible! Special thanks goes to the City Natural Areas staff, who have patiently stewarded this project through many ups and downs.
Our vision for this land is to continue to relocalize food production in Northern Colorado, focusing on access to farmland for local producers. This includes providing infrastructure as well as partnering with other organizations to increase producer capacity, develop education programming, and grow demand. We will begin by subleasing at reasonable lease rates to core tenants – established, successful producers committed to sustainable agriculture and local marketing of their products.
We are very excited that after five years of PVCF work, our first tenant on these properties is Native Hill Farm. While they continue to collaborate on the Montava project, Native Hill will immediately expand on to Kestrel Fields, the 30-acre parcel on West Vine Dr. This is part of the old Smith Farm and is adjacent to the wonderful community at Grey Rock Commons. There is also a beautiful barn where we will host lots of fun events (that day will come!).
The southern parcel of land, known as Flores del Sol, is much larger and will be more diversified in its use. First, we will sublease some of the land to established farmers through our Farm Commons program. Then, we are working with The Northern Colorado Foodshed Project to launch other opportunities on the remaining land, the first of which will support beginning farmers ready to start their own business via a Farm Incubator. Over time, and with our partners on the property, we will build other essential, exciting elements, including a community garden, multi-farm CSA, meat locker, educational programming, and a food hub. All producers, including those within the Farm Commons, Farm Incubator, and Community Gardens, will use sustainable best practices, with the goal of building and maintaining healthy soil, managing water wisely, minimizing air, water, and climate pollution, and promoting biodiversity.
We are working diligently to begin structuring programming and finalizing partnerships. Native Hill has already broken ground at Kestrel Fields, and Flores del Sol will be up and running by Spring 2021. Stay tuned!
One More Board Member Needed
It is truly an exciting and pivotal time for PVCF, and we need your help! The new land projects will be a massive undertaking, and we won’t be successful without your energy, knowledge, and passion. Regardless of your background or skill set, every bit of support is welcome.
We are still looking for at least one more Board member to help support the leadership of PVCF. This individual does not need to be a PVCF member but must be passionate about the Cooperative’s mission of providing affordable land access to producers in our community and vision of Community Supported Farmland. Elections will be held in January.
Now is the time! Please don’t be modest. If you or someone you know is interested in supporting PVCF in this way, please let us know. Email email@example.com if you would like to discuss the opportunity and be more involved in this pioneering relationship with the City and growing our cooperative model of providing local farmland access in our community.
We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season, and we will keep you updated on these exciting developments as they continue to evolve!
PVCF is excited to open up nominations for three (3) Board seats. The Board seats in this election are for two (2) household members and one (1) at large member or three (3) household members. The Board looks forward to the new energy and thinking that these Board members will bring.
Nominations will be accepted from September 18, 2020, to October 18, 2020. An electronic vote will be held in November. Nominees shall have an opportunity to address the entire membership via a written statement distributed by email.
Members may nominate themselves or another Member. Current members of the Board with expiring terms have opted to step down and are not seeking reelection. Candidates must:
– Be Members in good standing
– Provide a written statement of introduction
– Accept all the responsibilities of a Director
– Familiarize themselves with PVCF (including formational documents)
– Attend Board meetings (usually monthly, during intense workloads may be biweekly)
– Be prepared for a 2-year term
As mentioned at the Annual Member Meeting, several other exciting opportunities are in motion that we will keep you updated on. Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any further thoughts, questions, and feedback.
CITY OF FORT COLLINS LAND
Last June, the City of Fort Collins released a request for proposals for 250 acres of city-owned land in south Fort Collins, seeking interesting ideas for agricultural development on the land. In response to this exciting opportunity, PVCF put together a comprehensive proposal for the land, including a farm commons for established producers, community gardens, a farm incubator, farm stand, educational programming, and more. We were delighted to receive word last fall that we have been selected by the city to manage the land for agricultural use and development.
Since then, we have been growing an incredible partnership with the city and city staff, particularly the Natural Areas Department. Currently, we plan to convert 150 acres for agriculture use including a variety of projects that contribute to a range of city goals. This project is a new use for city land, so we are working diligently to build support among important entities at the city, as well as with the citizens of our community. This includes bringing together local organizations, such as The Growing Project, to lend their expertise in making the project’s ideas come to life.
We are targeting 2021 to begin building out the land for use. The remaining 100 acres is a bit more challenging in terms of conservation, though it is still part of the conversation. Our goal is to build a vision for what agricultural conservation looks like on publicly owned lands, and use that as a model for other properties in the future. There is already an opportunity for this on city-owned property in northwest Fort Collins. We are pursuing the land in partnership with Native Hill and will be submitting a proposal when the RFP is released in June 2020.
Please stay tuned to future updates to the project thought our monthly newsletters and on this blog!
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!