When we traveled around the country looking at communities that had successfully integrated a working farm into their community plan, I learned three critical things.
1. Put the farm on the best soil, no exceptions.
2. If you don’t have an operator with ownership, you are toast.
3. Create ways to connect everyone to the farm, intentionally.
We have been very blessed to have found the most incredible partners in Nic and Katie with Native Hill Farm as well as the team that leads the Poudre Valley Community Farms COOP and many of its incredible members.
On a snowy day in Fort Collins, I want share more details about how our farm will function. This approach comes from lessons learned in our model communities like Serenbe, Willowsford Farm and Agritopia; as well as the experience of our amazing farming team who have been fighting for local food production in Northern Colorado for many years.
Every resident of Montava will support the farm with $10 per month that they will receive in 100% farm credit. If you move to Montava, you will be part of the farm. While this isn’t much money, it creates a connection to the farm that these agri urban communities wish they had done from the beginning. Not only will it create a natural connection, but it will also create a nice foundation for our farmers to both plan for production and have money to take care of equipment and growth.
A community app you will show what is available at the farm stand daily, and what’s coming off the farm soon. It will also remind everyone of upcoming community events. We intend to build facilities around the farm stand that allow for events like
Thursday Night Pizza where we make pizza outdoors together as a community with locally grown ingredients. These will be ongoing community activities that will support family, friendship, and bring people together in ways that we don’t seem to have enough of today. Additionally Katie is famous for sharing ways to prepare a variety of vegetables in healthy and yummy ways. It's a teaching farm as well! Do you want to learn how to juice organic vegetables for a healthy lifestyle? Yep, we will cover that too......
The plans for the farm stand/store include an indoor/outdoor place where we can offer our vegetables to the community much like the current Native Hill farm stand but much larger and a bit more refined. We plan to including a number of glass reach in coolers stocked with various seasonal produce items that need to be refrigerated.
Native Hill grows almost 60 different veggies and a good number of them can be grown and stored in our cold storage facilities through the winter as well as various ongoing fresh greens from the high tunnels.
We also plan to have freezer/coolers to offer products from producer/farmer friends of ours. This would include other PVCF COOP partners like Jodar Farms which is just up the road a bit North from Montava. Kevin has a wonderful operation of organic raised chickens, eggs, beef and pork. (Jodar web site)
The focus of the farm stand is intended to mainly sell/distribute our produce from the farm and add on complimentary agricultural products as it makes sense. As community demand grows, we can stock an amazing variety of produce for most of the year.
Below are some details of the over 125 varieties of vegetables that Native Hill grows for customers along with items that the expanded farm at Montava will allow us to add.
Each of these listed below would have 2-5 or more different varieties or sub types (such as "Peas" Sugar Snap Peas, English Shelling Peas, or "Beats" Red Beets, Golden Beets, Chiogga Beets etc.)
Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Chicories, Collards, Swiss Chard, Kale, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Arugula, Spinach, Salad Mix, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Pac Choi, Turnips, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Onions, Shallots, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Chiles (frozen roasted for winter), Potatoes, Winter Squash, Radishes, Rutabaga, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Herbs, Flowers. BOLD-can have available well into winter or all the way through winter.
We also intend to add a number of things once we have the space at Montava such as asparagus, sweet corn, melons, popcorn.