Our Story

aerial-hlpOur land, and our connection to it, is disappearing.  Whether rural or urban, there’s a constant struggle between conserving and developing a rich and beautiful piece of land.  Fortunately, the property that was the Polston Elementary school has become the Rio Grande Farm Park.

When it was a school, the vegetable garden taught students about growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating vegetables. In the future, the farm and other aspects of the land can teach all of us.

It all started when…

a community group from all walks of life came together with a vision of having a place to gather in a beautiful and healthy setting, preserve alluvial soil, grow food, and learn about farming and the environment, and share resources.

It began coming together when …

a group of people, from an area with limited financial resources, was able to purchase the property with the help of the Trust for Public Land and the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition.  Few communities in our country have such an accessible, rich farm space so close to downtown.

As it is now …bridge-323

folks can stroll across the Rio Grande from downtown across a pedestrian bridge. From there, they can take a lot of trails to view the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, watch water fowl, and breathe fresh, clear air. During the summer, you can watch the progress of crops grown by the Guatemalan community using traditional Mayan farming techniques and explore the apple orchard that was planted last summer. Frequently, groups of volunteers gather to improve and enjoy the land.

Planning phase is going strong…

as business, marketing, and capital campaign programs are under development. The master plan is heading into the design phase with substantial help from community input.

Economic development is part of the plan…

There are a number of ways to encourage economic development.  Our approach is to provide a public entity that draws people to the community and incubates a number of small businesses. This year the focus is on farmer incubation.

Each year there are new programs and activities.  This year …2015-whats-growing-09

  • the farm will support 5 farmers with plots of one acre or less. They will learn to farm in our environment and share equipment; and
  • there will be community workshops on topics such as organic farming, building soil with green manure, and permaculture techniques.

In the future…

  • kids will enjoy the farm through educational programs in conjunction with existing youth programs;
  • infrastructure, such as benches, will be created by local artists;
  • the farm will host recreation, environmental, and ecological events; and
  • enterprises such as a community kitchen, an events center, business park, and a farm to table restaurant will generate revenue for the farm.