On August 16, 2022, 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.