As we move into spring I would like to thank everyone for their support in January and February. You are helping us move the farm forward this spring. The goat and sheep pens are being re-built, the community garden will receive an upgrade to the fence, and an application has been submitted to Denver Digs Trees to make it a little greener at the Farm.
We are getting ready for spring and summer. We hope to have safe places for all of our animals by early May. Eight of our sheep have returned home, two are expecting this month. We look forward to lambs. Also, our school programs are starting to pick up after a lull during the winter months and our Summer Fun camps are filing up.
Finally, we have added a new staff person for the spring. Welcome Michelle! Keep reading for an article in this newsletter about her. She brings energy, agricultural education, and a smile. Her background will help us build an agricultural campus.
We can’t wait to welcome spring.
We look forward to seeing you soon,
We have voted in the young officers for the club. They are a great group of kids and ready to work. The 4-H General Meetings are on the 2nd Saturday of each month from 11:30am to 12:30pm. There were 42 people in attendance last month. Everyone is welcome to come. We get to know each other, take care of business, and have game and clean up time all in that hour. Our goal is to learn about basic care and safety for every animal on the Farm. In February, the Rabbit project is going to teach us about rabbits. At every meeting, one of the kids from each project shares what is going on in their project. Come and see what kind of young leaders we are molding!
The incubators are being rolled out. Soon we will be hatching our very own, home grown, Barred Rock Chickens! This will create 21 days of anticipation before we see the new hatchlings. These birds are great egg layers so the Farm will have even more farm fresh eggs this fall.
March is lambing month. The sheep have been sheared in preparation for the coming births. We don’t know exactly when the lambs will arrive and sheep are pretty secretive when they are giving birth. We will all have to keep an eye out for the new arrivals.
Addison Stauffer is working on her sewing project for the fair. Sewing Project meets on Monday’s between 4:00pm and 7:00pm
For more information about 4-H email Meri Moller, TUF 4H leader.
Farm Days Fun Days
Saturdays: 10:00am – 12:00pm
APRIL 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.)
MAY 6 – Sheep and Goat Fun Day – Meet our goats and sheep and their new babies. Witness sheep shearing, spinning and weaving, and learn how fleece becomes a sweater.
JUNE 3 – Gardening, Aquaponics, Aeroponics, and Bees Fun Day – Work the soil with our Master Gardener and learn about plants as you plant seeds for a “sunflower wall” and provide important food for our feathered friends. Learn about alternative gardening and join our beekeeper at the bee hives to learn how bees make honey.
JULY 1 – 4-H Showmanship Demo – In the Indoor Arena – TUF 4-H members will demonstrate showmanship with goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits as they prepare for Adams County Fair in August.
AUGUST 5 – Cattle Fun Day – Meet our cattle as we walk with them and groom them. Learn about milk cows and meat cattle.
SEPTEMBER 2 – Horse Fun Day – Enjoy riding demonstrations by our expert, youth riders, the TUF kids. Meet our mule, miniature horses, and donkey and learn about their talents and purpose.
Michelle Crites was hired at the beginning of February as the new Program Manager. Her main priority will be establishing curriculum for programs through GOCO, focusing on getting young people out of their urban environment and out into the open by working on the Farm. The two main programs, All Around the Farm (for older students) and Storybook Farm (for young kids), will teach students about eastern Colorado agriculture in an interactive way. She will also take the lead on school group field trips and service learning projects.
Michelle is from a small farm town in northern Illinois where she worked for a non-profit therapeutic riding program called HorsePower. She also worked on stewardship projects with The Nature Conservancy reestablishing tallgrass prairie and reintroducing a bison herd to the preserve. There she worked with Turner Enterprises under the supervision of Dr. Temple Grandin to design animal-specific handling facilities for The Nature Conservancy.
Michelle moved to Fort Collins in 2011 to complete her degrees from CSU. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s in agricultural education, a bachelor’s in equine science, and an associate’s in welding technology for agricultural educators.
Since graduating she has taught agricultural education and FFA at Greeley West High School and is looking forward to getting back into a non-profit program. Michelle is dedicated to improving agricultural literacy in young people through experiential learning and real-world applications.
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.
Why did you choose to work for / volunteer at The Urban Farm and what has your journey been like?
I have always loved horses. I ride whenever I get a chance. When I first came to the Farm, I wanted to take riding lessons which I did for three years. To help with my knowledge of horses, I started helping with the beginner classes. I loved helping young people learn about horses and master their fear/riding challenges. I also have a degree in Early Childhood Education and taught pre-school for 20 years. I also have a certificate in Floral Design.
What is your favorite Farm noise?
My favorite farm noise is horses nickering.
What are your hobbies / passions outside of the Farm?
My hobbies are floral design, gardening, guitar, singing, and ( if I could) more riding opportunities.
What is your favorite book / movie / music?
My favorite book, there are so many. I generally like epics. The longer the better. I loved the “Bicentennial ” series by John Jakes. My favorite movies are also epics like Laurence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Gone With the Wind. I love all music, except improvised jazz, it just doesn’t give me joy! I have a love of old “cowboy” music that I inherited from my dad.
What is your most memorable moment at TUF?
Most memorable moment at Urban Farm was my 60th birthday party in the indoor arena with Rudy Grant and the Buffalo Riders playing and farm animals in attendance!
What do you love about TUF?
I love having farm animals that I can interact with just 10 minutes from my home!
Thank you Urban Farm
It’s time to start your garden planning. The Farm’s Annual Plant Sale will be held on May 18 and 19, 10:00–7:00pm 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!
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.
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!
No experience necessary, or learn and share your experience, meet new people, in a co-op setting. 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.
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.
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 whom will guide you through the activities. We are currently receiving many advance requests, schedule your group’s Field Trip today.
Tomatoes, why do thee forsake me in the bleak winter months? And yet tease me with 70 degree days attempting to lure me into foolish action?
Spring will be here soon enough and we will again see our love in the garden. In the meantime, we must content ourselves with the scent of potting soil and the tiny seedlings that will emerge. We know that I try to reign in on the number of tomato varieties grown for the Farm’s Annual Plant Sale (we also know that I fail miserably). This year, however, I didn’t even attempt to reign anything in and that I am afraid to count! Stay tuned for more tomato news and tips, and a final (gulp) count on the varieties I am growing this year!
Beginning March 1 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.
March 1 – October 31
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday 10 am – 1 pm
November 1 – February 28
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10 am – 3 pm
Saturday 10 am – 1 pm
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.
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!