The Crowded Acre: Maybe

By Jennifer Welch

Maybe being a farmer is akin to being a glutton for punishment. As farmers, we take on nearly insurmountable tasks against the worst odds and try to make a living out of it. We watch animals die and crops fail and weather reign supreme over our best fought intentions. Collectively, we’ve seen it all. We watch our friends get their hearts broken again and again, and we tell each other it will be okay, that this is how it goes. Entire seasons lost, the feeling of a lifetime of wondering how we can do it better, different. We tell our families, we tell ourselves, that next year will be our year. It’s coming, we just have to get up and make the coffee, keep our heads down, plow through the work, and patiently wait.

Read more

Ring-A-Ding Farm: Organic Greens in Western Fremont County

Photo by Julia Michel
Photo by Julia Michel

By Ericka Kastner

It’s a tale of two brothers, Adam and Noah Ring. At one time they were each deeply entrenched in their own careers on the Front Range. Then one day they both realized they didn’t like where their lives were headed and set out together to buy 35 acres in Howard, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Range and begin farming.

Read more

The Bearded Lady

By Jennifer Welch – The Crowded Acre

“The wheels on the bus go round and round …”

It was mid-summer when we purchased the 1984 65-passenger Bluebird school bus. At that time, it had been almost a full year since I had broken the news to my husband – I wanted to go back into the food service industry. I can’t be sure if he fully believed me then, but I am certain he believes me now. “If I can fit it down my winding driveway, I’ll take it,” I exclaimed to the previous owner of the school bus, despite being utterly unsure of where this adventure might take me. But it fit down the driveway like it was meant to be, and it hasn’t left our property since. After some explaining and very little coercing, my husband nodded for me to go ahead with my plans and insisted he be allowed to come along for the ride.

Read more

Death of a Farmer

by John Mattingly

A front page headline of the June 3, 2009 Denver Post decried, “MORE FARMERS LOSING HOPE, Suicide hotlines field calls as prices fall and money woes mount …”

An early paragraph pointed out: “In the past year, economics and inclement weather have crippled operations, pushing countless farmers to the emotional breaking point, say industry experts.”

Read more

A Farmer Far Afield

John Mattingly

We’ve heard a lot recently about Peak Oil, Peak Phosphorus, and even Peak Zinc. According to a Wall Street Journal article last fall, the smart money is investing in zinc (anybody know a good zinc company?). But seldom do we hear about the decline in the U. S. farmer population, a demographic reality that can be legitimately called “Peak Farmer.”

Read more