We are open to the public. REGISTRATION IS OPEN for garden plots and Summer Camps.

April  TUF Snapshot

 

 

From The Executive Director

Spring is here and you have to love the crazy: in the animals, the weather, and the changes at the Farm. The projects are moving forward. The new goat and sheep pens are almost done. The hoop house begins its transformation to a green house this month. Trees are coming from The Park People. The community garden will get a renovation through Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).  With the completion of the animal pens, the goats and sheep are arriving, as we rebuild the program. Our first beautiful new goat has arrived, her straight back and her coloring gives her a literal red neck. She is quite special. Four lambs were born at the Farm in March. We are very grateful and thank you for all your support.

We are hosting our first Town Hall Meeting, see below for details, we hope to see you there.

Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, and the snow that comes with a Colorado spring. We look forward to seeing you at the Farm soon.

Mike


Town Hall

We’re going to host our own Town Hall on Saturday April 8, 2017, at 12:30 PM. And you are invited!

Two years ago we began the process of rebuilding, restructuring, and planning for change at The Urban Farm. And now we want to share those plans with you so that you’ll have access to what’s new, educational, and just darn fun at TUF.

We want to hear from you. Please join us for an informational exchange of ideas!

We’ll talk about:

  • What we are building at TUF
  • What’s happening with current and future programs

We don’t want to do all the talking!  We want your ideas about:

  • What you’d like to learn
  • Your concerns
  • How we can improve
  • Whether we on the right track

No RSVP necessary and yes, there will be snacks. See you there.


Farm Days, Fun Days

Farm Days Fun Days
Saturdays: 10:00am-12:00pmAPRIL 15  Poultry and Rabbit Fun Day – Join us in the chicken pen with our poultry and rabbit experts. Learn chicken and rabbit facts, pet our feathered and furry friends, feed the roosters and hunt for Easter eggs all around the pen, real and chocolate ones. *Free chocolate eggs. Limited supply of real eggs $6/dozen.

 


Program Manager Update 

Well, it’s been a whirlwind six weeks but I think I’m getting the hang of this. First, a big thank you to our TUF family. Everyone has been incredibly patient and helpful as I’ve been learning the ropes.

I’d like to share the major things I’ve been working on:

  • Mike and I have met with several groups in our GoWild Coalition and established exciting new partnerships. The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver will be sending 14 students every week in April to pilot our “All Around the Farm” program. We will be in Aurora Public Schools this summer to run Storybook Farm by bringing the animals to them in our new trailer. Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) of Denver have been coming out every Wednesday to work with our lowline cattle, Cadmiel and Charisma.
  • Helping Youth Pursue Excellence (HYPE) of Denver Public Safety Youth Programs continues to visit every Thursday as we embark on our H.Y.P.E.- Hens program (with support from The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and Maximus Foundation). We are near completion on our first chicken coop and have started framing the walls of the second one. I have developed the six-week personal finance curriculum to go with the chicken husbandry lessons and it has been approved by the H.Y.P.E. director.

Look for more program updates in future newsletters or feel free to reach out to me at any time!

Michelle


Fairy Garden Classes 

Indulge in the magic of creating your own fairy or farm garden.  Learn the basic elements of design and magic as you create your mystical garden. All materials provided.

Child and Parent team – April 22 at 10:00 am, $30 per pair.
Adults and children (age 12+) – April 22 at 1:00 pm, $30 per person.

Space is limited, enroll now.


4-H Update


April 8 – Egg Scramble: Rabbit Project will have animals at the TUF booth from 9:30am-11am.April 11 – Stapleton Chipotle Fundraiser 4pm-8pm

April 15 – Farm Fun Day with Rabbits & Poultry 10am-12pm

April 22 – NO RABBIT MEETING

April 29 – Pike Peak Rabbit Breeders Association Show, 500 Fairgrounds Road, Castle Rock, 80104-2679. 8:30 am. Must register by April 26 here.  Please coordinate with April Chase, rabbit leader, if you want to attend and are not part of the rabbit group.

For more information about 4-H email Meri Moller, TUF 4H leader.


 Get To Know Us

Welcome to the Urban Farm at Stapleton’s staff members. These souls work tirelessly to keep our Farm running, animals healthy and happy, and to bring quality programs to our community and children. We look forward to getting to know you better too.  

Michelle Crites – Program Manager


Why did you choose to work for / volunteer at The Urban Farm and what has your journey been like?
As TUF has grown and moved toward being an educational campus, I was brought on as Program Manager. My background is in agricultural education and construction trades, so my job here is to create quantifiable learning targets and establish curriculum for our Storybook Farm, All Around the Farm, and Divergence programs. My teaching experience began at a small non-profit in northern Illinois. HorsePower Therapeutic Riding was a program designed to assist children and adults with both mental and physical disabilities get out on a farm setting and use riding and other horse interactions as therapy. After moving out to Colorado to go to college, I pursued a career in high school agricultural education. I chose to work at TUF because public education wasn’t a great fit for me. I didn’t enjoy teaching crammed classrooms of 40 students at a time with little support from the faculty and community. However, the setup at TUF is much more conducive to meaningful interactions with small groups of all ages and abilities. I am passionate about increasing agricultural literacy in young people.

Where did you go to college and what degree do you have? 
I attended Colorado State University right out of high school. I have a bachelor of science in agricultural education and a bachelor of science in equine science. During my junior year I was concurrently enrolled in Aims Community College where I achieve an associate’s in welding for agricultural educators.

What is your favorite Farm noise?
I love the sound of water pounding out of a hose, hitting the bottom of a freshly scrubbed trough, and then easing back to a gurgle as the pressure decreases.

What are your hobbies / passions outside of the Farm?
I am an outdoors enthusiast. I like road cycling, riding my horse, paddling kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and backpacking and camping. I completed a 2,181 mile backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail between high school and college.

What is your favorite book / movie / music?

 
I love a good mystery book. Tom Clancy is one of my favorite authors. Super hero movies are probably my favorite right now.  I’m a big fan of bluegrass, jazz, and blues: anything from Ella Fitzgerald, to BB King and Muddy Waters, to the Steeldrivers.

What is your most memorable moment at TUF?
I am inspired by the new construction going on right now.  Seeing the cleared sheep and goat pen, ready for a new fence was super exciting. Putting the last piece of siding on the new chicken coop seems like it’s signaling a new era out here.  We are right on the cusp of better buildings and better programs.

What do you love about TUF?
I love that this is an accessible place for urban youth to come experience eastern Colorado agriculture.  When I was reading the job description for program manager it hit every single one of my passions in education. One of my friends stopped me while I was reading it aloud and asked “Is this place real?” like there was no way it could be a real place and not some fantasy I made up to fit my ideal career. Let me tell you, it’s real. And get ready, because we’re about to change the face of agricultural education.

Thank you Urban Farm

 


Tomato Girl

Tomato Girl Fesses Up

We all knew the day would come when Tomato Girl would have to count the tomato varieties. The count is in, an exciting line up of 47 varieties for 2017 (only 3 more than 2016) promises to fill your tomato fantasies! There are several new types to try out this year, two new Heirloom Marriages (Garden Gem and Garden Treasure), early favorites return (Bloody Butcher, 4th of July, Early Girl) as well as a promising new one (Plainsman).

Beefsteaks are typically late season tomatoes, but after much searching new beefsteak varieties for the main season (shorter days) is here; try Belgium Farmer, Crnkovik Yugoslavian, and Dester.  Wrapping up the late season is Brandywine, also known as the “worth the wait” tomato; also try Zapotec Pleated whose flavor is described as sweet and intense.

The Urban Farm Plant Sale continues to provide its specialty: Black, Purple, Brown, and Barred varieties. You may be familiar with Cherokee Purple and Pink Berkeley Tie Dye, try them in green this year (I am very excited about Cherokee Green)!  We will have new varieties and ones that we hope are becoming your favorites too.

A complete listing is available here.

Annual Plant Sale

It’s time to start your garden planning. The Farm’s Annual Plant Sale will be held on May 18 and 19, 10:00am–7:00pm and Saturday May 20 from 10:00 am–6:00 pm. There will be new varieties (that Tomato Girl is incorrigible!) and many of the favorites you have come to love. This year we have focused on increasing the number of peppers and cherry tomatoes. A few new black varieties are being offered this year, try something new!

As always, we feature Heirlooms, F1 Hybrids, non-GMO seed, organic seed, use organic products and methods (non-certified organic), and offer a wide variety of plants that you won’t find in retail markets. Mark your calendar!

Members are invited to a pre-sale on Wednesday, May 17 from 4:00–7:00 pm. You can become a member too, click here.

Garden Plots Available

Garden plots available for lease are still available at The Urban Farm’s Community Gardens. Our gardens have only utilized organic practices since inception in 2000. Come join the fun and grow healthy, nutritious, and delicious food! Plots are first come, first served, lease your plot today. New and seasoned gardeners welcome. Apply for a 2017 Garden Plot here.

Co-Op Gardens 

Learn and share your experience and meet new people in a co-op setting. No experience necessary. The Urban Farm at Stapleton now offers a Co-Op gardening option. Participants will meet as a group to prepare the garden beds, plant, weed, tend and share the harvest. You will garden with a Colorado Master Gardenersm, receive basic instruction, and all the seeds and plants will be provided. Register is currently open, $75 plus registration fee.

Field Trips

Field Trips at the Farm are a great way to learn about agriculture, animal husbandry, and horticulture. We have may custom options for the many aspects of Farm life for all ages. We host groups from schools, organizations, agencies, businesses, and private groups. You can even gather up your neighbors and we will create a customized tour. Field Trips are led by our trained Farm leaders who will guide you through the activities. We are currently receiving many advance requests so schedule your group’s Field Trip today.

Summer Fun On The Farm

Registration NOW OPEN for TUF Summer Camps. The Urban Farm at Stapleton is where your child can ride horses, care for cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, grow food in soil and in water with alternative growing techniques. Ages 4-18, (11) half-day camps during 8 weeks in June and July. For full schedule and registration visit here.

Farm Hours 

Our new public hours are Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm and Wednesdays from 10:00am-2:00pm.

Members can visit the Farm for free as part of their membership benefits. Consider a Family Membership for $60/year. Learn more here. 

Member hours: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
March 1–September 30: 10:00 am–6:00 pm
October 1–February 28: 10:00 am–3:00 pm


TUF STUFF

Visit our website for latest information and follow us onFacebook.

 


 

Update on the Goat the Sheep Rebuilding Initiative

As you know from our newsletter, or from the recent media attention, we have suffered a great loss to our animal population and to the programs they supported. We intend to fill that void with new life and a directed focus on our responsibility to our new animal residents, to those who care for them, and those who learn from them.

We have received an outpouring of support from our community that has heartened us and given us strength during this difficult time. We have received over $10,000 in contributions to help us rebuild. This will greatly help toward covering the cost of a completely new fenced enclosure and will start us down the road to replacing our animals.

With over 40 volunteers helping, we have constructed a temporary secure fenced area for our remaining goats and sheep, and were able to bring them home last weekend.

Construction of a new, secure fence and gates will begin shortly.  

We will replace our goats and sheep with particular types of high quality animals that can help us fulfill our mission in the most effective way. Our goat herd will consist of two specialized types of goats—Boer Goats and Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Each type of goat brings special qualities to the Farm. They will be used in our Field Trips, Storybook Farm, Fiber Arts, Animal Husbandry, and 4-H Programs. (Look for Goat Yoga in the future!) 

Prices vary, but here are some parameters on what it costs to replace our herd:
• Nigerian Dwarf Goat: $300-$600 each, our goal is 5 goats.
• Boer Goat: $400-$900 each, our goal is 4 goats.
• Shetland Sheep: $600-$1000 each, our goal is 3 sheep. 

With a donation of $1000 or more you get to name one of the new animals!

Looking Forward. In addition, our goal is to build a birthing barn to allow our animals to give birth in a safe, quiet, heated shelter. This will also allow our program participants and visitors a new and unique visitor experience at TUF. We estimate the cost of such a facility to be in the $30,000 range. We will keep you advised on our plans for the birthing barn.

We are also considering the addition of  Livestock Guardian Dogs who have been used for centuries to protect flocks of sheep and herds of goats, calves, poultry and other livestock. Livestock Guardian Dogs stay with the group of animals they protect as a full-time member of the herd. They blend in with the flock and/or herd, watching for intruders. The mere presence of a guardian dog is usually enough to ward off predators. Livestock Guardian Dogs could also be integrated into our educational programs to teach how dogs can have a career as working animals.

HOW YOU CAN DONATE. We have made it simple! Click at the DONATE button. You will be able to specify if you wish to donate to the goat and sheep initiative or you can make a general contribution to our operations. With a donation of $1000 or more you get to name one of the new animals!

Other fun options: take a page out of Swigert International School’s fifth grade classes and organize a group donation—Bake sale? Car wash? Pledges? Whatever works for you!

Thank you so much from all of us, from the kids and families we work with, and from the animals. We are glad to have you aboard!

 

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