Our Story

The Rio Grande Farm Park, along with SLV Cooking Matters, Local Foods Local Places, Valley Roots Food Hub, and the Local Roots Guide, is a program of the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition. Ever since 2008, when dozens of community members gathered out of a common desire to connect with the the the soil, the seeds, and the stories of the growers of this Valley, the LFC has stepped up to become its own non-profit.

Mission: To foster an equitable local food system that restores the health of the people, community, economy and ecosystem.

Our Story

What once was Polston Elementary School is now the Rio Grande Farm Park. When it was a school, the vegetable garden taught students about growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating vegetables. Members of the Guatamalan Mayan community used the land to grow food for their families.

It all started in 2008 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, learn about farming and the environment, and share resources. This group of people came with limited financial resources, and was able to purchase the property with the help of dedicated community members, the Trust for Public Land, and the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition.

The space was initially called the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park. Few communities in our country have such an accessible, rich farm space so close to downtown.

As it is now, you can stroll across the Rio Grande from downtown across a pedestrian bridge, follow trails and view the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, watch waterfowl, 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, explore the apple orchard, or sit in repose at the meditation pod on the Rio. The property comes to life during the summertime.

2020 – 2021 Projects

Kids Activities

The Nature Play Area is open year-round for kids to play and explore. We installed two Little Free Libraries on the land for community use.

Field Trips will continue to be offered to school groups from the SLV and beyond.

The Rio Grande Farm Park is proudly partnered with SLV Generation Wild.

Food Connections

Throughout the weeks of summer, our Farm Stand sells fresh vegetables grown by our commercial farmers.

The Main Street Project of Minneapolis will give workshops on regenerative chicken farming to all who are interested.

Our Farm-to-Pantry project brought fresh RGFP produce to the Immigrant Resource Center, the La Puente Food Bank, ASU food pantry, and the Boys & Girls Club.

Volunteer Engagement

Once a month, groups of volunteers gather to improve and enjoy the land.

Community members can sign up to “Adopt-A-Project” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ortega Middle School students will build garden beds in woodshop class that will make up our Children’s Garden.

Infrastructure

We are constructing a bathroom, a brand new Environmental Education Pavilion, and a hydroponic greenhouse.

We will install a decorative fence on our East side to protect crops from deer.

We initiated a composting operation so we can add nutrients to our commercial farmer’s plots. One day, we hope to accept organic waste from residents.

Want to take part in the amazing things unfolding at the Farm Park? Become a Friend of the Farm Park or volunteer with us!