Young farmers, GIS, and farm dinners – oh my!

By: Gailmarie Kimmel

Location: Northern Colorado

Happy almost October!
While we wait to hear news of our GOCO grant, which would enable the purchase of the conservation easement by Colorado Open Lands for our pilot land of 50 acres, Poudre Valley Community Farms ( PVCF) is 1) reaching out to other young producers locally to start discussing how PVCF might help stabilize their farm operations with community-ownership of the farmland.  I’ve developed a “Producer Intake” form and we are now using it and getting helpful feedback. We will link it to our website once it feels more complete.

We are also 2) now working with GeoSpatial Centroid at Colorado State University to undertake a more comprehensive evaluation of candidate farmland properties in the Fort Collins region using GIS.
 We have asked our GIS team member to pull together:  size (perhaps 5-200 acres); water rights, ditch proximity and/or downhill location from ditches, etc.; agricultural zoning and history of agricultural uses; 
historic farm properties
;  appropriate soil types; 
proximity to Fort Collins
 and major roads; and last purchase price and current property taxes (County).  We’ve been able to point to various single sources of much of this data and look forward to the magic of GIS layering to deliver up a speadsheet of potential farmlands to reach out to.  This is a semester-long project so I’ll report back in couple of months.

Meanwhile, a farm dinner was hosted on the pilot land last Sunday.  Over 140 guests enjoyed a balmy late afternoon 4-course meal with paired local brews et al…!  Here’s the quiet moment before the crowds, and a silly one of me leaning into my husband, Bill, and our compatriots from CCC: Rick and Heather Knight (on either side of us) and yep, Robin Reid next to Heather but disguised by hair.  A good time was had by all.