We are delighted to announce two additions to the PVCF Team – Stacy Lischka and Gabi Graves. Stacy and Gabi are coming on board to aid in growing PVCF’s fundraising opportunities, community awareness, membership outreach and events, and more. Please join us in giving them a warm welcome!
Stacy Lischka, Grant Writing
Stacy Lischka is a passionate advocate for the potential of local foods to connect human and ecological communities. Her interest in the connection between local food and conservation began during her childhood on her parent’s hobby farm in northern Wisconsin, and has grown as she moved around the US, observing the power of food to connect people, land, water, and wildlife. For the past 15 years, she has worked as a conservation professional in state and federal wildlife management agencies with a focus on understanding and changing human behaviors that have conservation impacts. In 2019, she started Social Ecological Solutions, a conservation social science consultancy aimed at increasing community capacity to encourage individual and collective action to support conservation goals. Stacy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, an M.S. from Michigan State University, and Ph.D. from Colorado State University, all in Wildlife Conservation. In her spare time, Stacy enjoys cooking, gardening, and hiking, typically with her 2 kids and husband in tow.
Gabi Graves, Events & Communication
Gabi is a recent Fort Collins transplant by way of Houston. She holds a B.S. in Business Management and previously worked as Program Director for a Texas-based non-profit teaching farm. She specializes in marketing, event planning, and strategic business development and is passionate about regenerative agriculture, food access, and supporting Northern Colorado food producers. When not writing or exploring the farmers market, you’ll find Gabi reading, gardening, or in the foothills hiking with her partner and their pup.
Since 2015, the board and members of Poudre Valley Community Farms have worked to keep farmland in our community and connect farmers to that land through affordable, long-term leases. In the course of this work, the PVCF board realized that, while essential, farmland and farmers are just one part of a vibrant local food economy. To better support the full food system, PVCF led the creation of the Northern Colorado Foodshed Project. Though PVCF was instrumental in the launch of the Foodshed Project, it is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with its own board of directors.
The Foodshed Project’s mission is to comprehensively grow the local food economy in Northern Colorado from farm-to-plate and everywhere in between. It will approach any community need as an independent challenge and project, and work to bring together community stakeholders to identify the best solution.
Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture shows that only about 1.0% of agricultural products produced in Larimer County are sold locally. Comparable counties with strong local food economies have local sales ranging from 10-20%. The Foodshed Project’s vision is to increase local agricultural sales in Larimer from 1% to 10% by 2027. Achieving this goal will benefit both farmers and our community at large, from healthier, more food-aware citizens to increased food entrepreneurship and a more vibrant restaurant scene. One of the first projects the Foodshed Project (with some support from PVCF) embarked on was to re-vitalize the Winter Farmer’s Market, and we are thrilled to see that come back to life.
City of Fort Collins Partners with PVCF On Land Leases
PVCF and the Foodshed Project’s first project was born out of a request for proposal released in June 2019 by the City of Fort Collins. The request was for a comprehensive proposal to manage a sustainable agricultural project on 250 acres of city-owned land. The Foodshed Project and PVCF submitted a proposal and learned in October that they were selected to move forward. The proposal calls for PVCF to hold the land lease and place established local farmers on about 100 acres. The Foodshed Project will then work with city staff and PVCF to build out important food system elements on part of the property. Stay tuned for more information in the new year and check out the location of the properties here.
We, on the PVCF Board, are thrilled to see the Foodshed Project get started and are eager to work together with this new organization and hope we can be a solid foundation for the important projects our local food system may need.
To learn more about The Northern Colorado Foodshed Project and how to support it, please visit https://foodshedproject.org/.
We are excited to announce that starting August 15, PVCF has a new Executive Director.
Clinton relocated to Fort Collins in 2017 from Seattle. For the previous 6 years he worked as a director at FareStart an organization dedicated to training people experiencing homelessness in commercial cooking skills and assisting them to find work in the food service industry. Prior to that Clinton was the owner/ operator of The Park Pub a neighborhood pub in the Phinney Ridge area of Seattle. Clinton holds a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and a Masters in Theology and Culture. He is a big fan of cooperative business and local food. He loves local coffee, beer and any opportunity to collaborate and discuss how a community can come together to create a place where everyone (land and water included) thrives. He lives on 5 acres just north of Native Hill Farm with his wife, Constance, and their three school-aged kids as well as a handful of dogs, cats, goats and chickens.
You can contact Clinton at email@example.com.
After two years as a Cooperative, and over three years of total effort since the idea of PVCF was born, we are the proud owners of 110 acres of farmland north of Wellington. The closing was June 27, 2018.
We have already leased the house on the property and are finalizing the land lease with small animal producer Jodar Farms. For more details on the property see our project page: Jodar Farms at Dixon Station.
More importantly, PVCF is rolling out a new fundraising drive to replace the generous bridge funders that made the timely acquisition of this property possible. As this real work begins, we hope we can count on the diverse skills among our members for some help as we make repairs and improve the property.
Poudre Valley Community Farms (PVCF) has been pursuing a particular piece of farmland for the last two years. We have been preparing for and investing in organic certification on that property for over a year and in February 2017, we went under contract for purchase.
In January 2017, a concrete batch plant was proposed on a property just west of the farmland that PVCF was under contract to purchase. Over the past couple of months, it has become increasingly clear that this concrete batch plant could pose a threat to our goal of making this a thriving organic vegetable farm. The potential impacts of dust on the plants (resulting in reduced photosynthesis and lower yields) and adverse impacts to farmers’ health alone may be enough to eventually make this farmland less suitable for food production. The outcome of the concrete batch plant application, the public process, and any legal action that may follow will not be known for many months. Given the significant unknowns and risk to the future of our project, the Board and our project partners – Colorado Open Lands and Larimer County Open Lands – mutually decided in late April to terminate the contract to purchase this farmland.
On the surface, this appears to be a huge setback, and there is no doubt that this will significantly impact PVCF’s timeline for acquiring farmland for long-term lease to our first farmers, Native Hill Farm. We will lose at least two years (last growing season and this one) toward the eventual organic certification of a property and the ramp-up of food production that was planned. However, all is not lost.
Much of the work we’ve done over the past two years will be applicable to another property. We will leverage our partnerships, conservation easement funding support and PVCF’s capital to seek out and purchase a new piece of farmland. While finding another suitable farmland property is time-consuming and by no means guaranteed, this course of action allows PVCF to focus its resources and time on finding a property that is much more likely to fulfill the Cooperative’s mission.
Thank you to all of our Members for their patience and dedication to the vision. And thank you to all the interested folks out there that have contacted us with well wishes and support as we continue to move forward.
Nic and Katie from Native Hill Farm – our first Poudre Valley Community Farms producer – will keynote the 2016 Front Range Beginning Farmers Conference.