Member Spotlight: The City of Alamosa
By Julie Mordecai, Rio Grande Farm Park director
The newly established Rio Grande Farm Park (RGFP), located within walking distance of downtown Alamosa, is a sight to behold — especially in the summer when the Guatemalans are farming with their babies and children in tow; the incubator farmers working together to bring their vegetables, flowers, and honey to market; and countless volunteers helping to clean up the riverbanks and land during monthly community workdays, which are held the last Saturday of every month. This very special park provides a sense of place, ties people to the land, and allows young people to experience the origins of their food.
In 2016, the land was purchased with the help of The Trust for Public Land and is owned locally by a nonprofit, The San Luis Valley Local Food Coalition. The conservation easement for the land is held by Colorado Open Lands, and the purchase of the property was a community effort with more than 300 donors, plus large contributions by the LOR Foundation and Great Outdoors Colorado. At the time of the purchase, the Local Food Coalition donated trail easements to the City of Alamosa to ensure the continuity of the trail system, which transects the park and has amazing views of Mount Blanca juxtaposed with the beauty of the Rio Grande as it meanders on its way to the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge.
Current plans for the park include expanding the orchard, building the soil on remaining acreage, and developing the Blue Trail (river use) with the City of Alamosa and Adams State University. An environmental education curriculum also is being developed that will be available for local young people to learn about stream and water ecology, organic agriculture, and soil ecology.
In the near future, a barn, parking area for river access, places to sit and picnic, and housing for artists in residence or for individuals who want to live and learn on organic farms will be built.
The Rio Grande Farm Park will be built out in phases: Phase I will focus on agricultural uses, including aspiring farmers, a greenhouse, and educational opportunities; Phase II will focus on the recreational aspects, including assuring access to the Rio Grande River and providing opportunities for river recreation; and Phase III will focus on the build-out of the events space and business park.
Everyone is welcome to get involved with the park and all of its possibilities. The Rio Grande Farm Park is a program of the San Luis Valley Local Food Coalition and is part of the Enterprise Zone. For more information, contact Julie Mordecai at 719-580-0379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.