About TUF

Our Mission


The Urban Farm inspires excitement for learning through practical work experience in a farm setting while fostering respect, responsibility, curiosity, caring and grit.

Our Overarching Goals

The following overarching goals underlie all of The Urban Farm’s educational programs:

  • To engage and address the needs of young people who may have difficulty finding a “home” for their interests and passions. The Urban Farm recognizes that every child is potentially at risk whether from environmental, social or family conditions and provides a setting to feel safe and accepted and have a sense of belonging.
  • To create a diverse learning community where the values of respect for people, animals, plants, and the environment are developed and strengthened.
  • To allow young people to find and develop their strengths.
  • To engage participants in exploring animal and plant science.
  • To help young people and their families to become responsible stewards of the world in which they live.
  • To impart skills and education that prepare participants to pursue post-secondary education and gainful employment in the life, natural or animal sciences, agriculture, or environmental/sustainability fields.

TUF enables urban residents to learn about food: how it’s grown, how it’s processed, how it’s distributed. We also help young people recognize agriculture as an industry that will never go away. Over 7 billion people live on our planet and they all need food. Agriculture in the 21st Century requires skills that are far removed from farming in the 19th century! Today’s “farmer” needs skills in technology, management, forecasting, economics, transportation, distribution, sociology and marketing. And, yes. Today’s farmer also needs to know how to plant a seed and treat an animal in a humane way.


Photo credit: Rachel Kemble Photography, LLC


TUF Educational Programs

Our programs are designed to develop The Five TUF Character Strengths that are the foundation of our learning goals: Respect, Responsibility, Grit, Caring, Curiosity.

In accordance with our mission and strategic plan to grow into a youth development force in the Denver metro community, we are aligning our educational programs more closely with the mission and are now offering a more structured curriculum in our equestrian program as well as in our goat and sheep program. This includes a new fee structure for those who choose a competitive path for either the Equine Program or the Goats and Sheep (GUS) Program as well as comparable fees for Goats and Sheep classes. There are also plans for programs in other farm-related areas in the near future such as Poultry, Alternative Gardening, Vermicomposting, Traditional Gardening, Beekeeping, Traditional Composting, Cattle, and more. These fee structures will allow us to deliver an offering of high quality educational programs that align with the TUF mission. Stay tuned for upcoming classes!

TUF Scholarships

TUF has always worked hard to ensure that anyone interested in TUF educational programs may do so even when finances make it difficult by offering a limited number of scholarships for participants who have a real need. With that said, TUF scholarships are limited to the funds made available by our generous donors. If you are in need of a scholarship, you must complete the application process at the time of registration for a class session. Please contact us for a scholarship application. If you would like to help make a class possible for someone else, we welcome scholarship donations!

Introducing the TUF Character Strengths

TUF recognizes the importance of building character in our youth and providing them with an opportunity to practice essential character strengths necessary for individual success and strong communities. Accordingly, TUF is introducing the TUF Character Strengths. These are now integral components of each TUF class as well as the TUF culture as a whole. We see this as a family and community enterprise where parents, staff, volunteers, and community leaders have an opportunity to grow, model excellent behavior, and change the future.


TUF Character Strengths

Respect is the personal characteristic that shows consideration and regard for individuals, animals, the environment, authority, community, and self. Respectful people strive for fairness and equality in all actions and thoughts acknowledging the value and uniqueness of each individual. They follow rules, recognize authority, and positively participate in discussions and decision making.

Responsibility is the personal characteristic of ability to be accountable for one’s own actions, behaviors, and thought processes. Responsible people determine what is expected, gain knowledge in what must be done, and follow through to completion. They are trustworthy, honest, and independent thinker and support others in being responsible as well.

Grit refers to persistence and resiliency. Those with grit finish what they start and persevere in spite of obstacles. They take pleasure in completing tasks, try again and again after failing, and are determined in the face of adversity. They are masters of their emotions, maintain self-control, face challenges and pain with courage, and maintain a positive attitude in all situations.

Caring is an active display of kindness and concern for the world including individuals, animals, the environment, and the community. Caring people demonstrate empathy through words and actions and express gratitude to others. They have purpose beyond themselves, protect those who cannot protect themselves, and seek the good things in all people.

Curiosity refers to taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake. Curious people find many topics fascinating and strive to master many skills. They love to explore and discover and embrace any opportunity to do so. Curious individuals acknowledge that many people have unique knowledge and skills and humbly seek to learn from them.

We Need You!

Accordingly, the Farm pictures a community in which youth, staff, parents, and volunteers are respectful, responsible, gritty, caring, and curious. We want to be the premier promoters of youth development and leadership in the Denver area. This is a big commitment and we are asking for your assistance. You can help by giving feedback, by modeling our TUF Character Strengths, by talking about these at home, and becoming more involved.


What Can You Do?

  • Sign your kids up for classes
  • Volunteer a little or a lot at the Farm
  • Donate time
  • Donate money
  • Donate in-kind services and talents
  • Assist in daily chores while waiting for kids in classes

Background and History

The Urban Farm at Stapleton began in 1993 when its founders started a program for 15 inner city youth to learn about horses at a private farm. It subsequently expanded its programming to include animal and plant programs.

The Urban Farm has evolved into an educational campus devoted to developing the full potential of its participants through equine education, animal husbandry and horticulture in an intimate farm setting. In addition to its educational programs, The Urban Farm also provides an important and educational visitor attraction to the Northeast Denver area, as well as a unique and attractive venue for mission related activities and events.