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.