People across the nation are turning their televisions off and turning soil instead. These backyard homesteaders and urban farmers have found empty windowsills and community gardens to grow edibles. There is so much potential for our community to learn the story of food. The first step is acknowledging where your food comes from and the energy involved in growing, harvesting, transporting, and landfilling. It’s all about education and hands-in-the-dirt experiences. Whether it’s growing your own food or making sustainable food choices, we’re here to help you find the resources.
Summit County currently has FIVE active community gardens! With requests for future gardens, the Summit County Food Policy Council determined a garden network would benefit all gardens by providing gardeners, visitors, teachers, youth, and families with a one-stop shop for local food resources specific to our mountain community.
The Summit Community Garden Network connects gardeners to gardens, needy families to food banks, youth to healthy food, and visitors to local farm stands. Under one umbrella, all of our gardens can share resources, funds, events, workshops, volunteers, and tools.
It may be challenging at 9,000 feet but our mountain gardeners are hard core. From peas to carrots, we’re here to show you how to garden in the heart of the Rockies. Now supporting five community gardens across Summit County, the SCGN is your place to discover where your food should and could come from – your own backyard! Get started here!
Urban Farming Code Amendments
As of 2013, the urban farming code amendments have been adopted by Summit County for unincorporated residents. The draft food policy regulations can be accessed here. HC3 will serve as the educational hub for these urban farming regulations including workshops and online resources for chickens, goats, and bees. For specific questions, please contact Jessie Burley.
Urban farming can involve backyard homesteading, aquaculture, forest gardens, community gardens, agro-forestry, horticulture, permaculture, and edible gardens and landscapes. Whether it’s gardens, goats, chickens, or bees, people are finding ways through good ol’ self-sufficiency to feed themselves and their families. The key to urban farming is that it isn’t taking place on the outskirts of town or in Podunk (i.e. the middle of nowhere). It’s taking place in large cities like Portland, New York, and Denver.
Even more exciting, this urban farming fever is spreading throughout suburbia to the mountain towns. From Fort Collins to Littleton and Steamboat to Leadville… and now Summit County!
Summit CSA is a collaboration of two exceptional programs: Community Supported Agriculture and Cultivating Students of Agriculture. Together, the programs give Colorado Mountain College students the opportunity to coordinate a farm-share program that provides locally-produced food to Summit County families.
Summit CSA – Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between local farmers and members of the community. The farmers agree to provide high quality produce for members, who in turn agree to support the farmer by purchasing a share for the entire growing season. Our CSA runs 15 weeks during the summer and includes a weekly box of amazing, organic produce – heirloom varieties of common vegetables, grown here in Summit County.
Summit CSA – Cultivating Students of Agriculture
Summit CSA provides Colorado Mountain College students with a summer internship and hands-on experience in local food production. In exchange for completed projects and internship hours, students receive scholarship funds to further their learning experience and professional development. Summit CSA allows students to gain experience as farmers, volunteer managers, and entrepreneurs through a sustainable food operation that directly benefits our community. Stay tuned for 2017 Intern Applications.
Keeping backyard chickens is a rapidly growing hobby, with more and more families choosing to raise their own birds for their eggs. Many of us decide that we’re going to build our own coops, whether to save money, for the customizability or just because it’s fun! But knowing where to start can be difficult and unless you have DIY experience it can be difficult to build without some quality. You do not need a rooster for the hens to lay eggs. Because chickens are social animals, you must have more than one chicken. Our county regulations allow for 6 hens.
It’s suggested that you try and give each of your birds around 6 feet squared of room, so decide how many birds you want to keep and then find out which style of coop is best for your needs. With good materials, trust-worthy plans and a bit of patience, you’ll be shocked at what you can accomplish!
Backyard Chicken Basics:
Recommended Chicken Breeds:
You can find pullets, which are young, domesticated hens that are typically less than a year old at front-range feed/supply stores and the market at Denver Urban Homesteading.
Beyond the basics, there are other things to think about such as what if your chicken gets sick; where will you compost the manure; and how will you care for the end-life of the chicken. Probably the most important consideration of all is whether or not you can even keep chickens in the first place. Even though Summit County now allows unincorporated residents to keep chickens, HOAs and incorporated towns do have the last say.
Be sure to check with your HOA and/or town before you start the process.