This blog is the fourth in a series featuring local farms. We are lucky to have a great group of farmers investing in our community, while providing local food to the FoCo Café, and families in the Fort Collins area.

Buena Vida Farm: A Higher Calling

Buena Vida Farm (5)How do you define social justice? For Laurel Smith the answer comes down to equitable access to food and other resources. This devotion for social justice has led Laurel to a join forces with her father at Buena Vida Farm. Currently, the farm specializes in tree and pumpkin production, with hopes of more vegetable production in the future. Her ultimate goal is a commitment to high-quality food.

Buena Vida Farm has been in the family for over 20 years. Laurel returned from the Pacific Northwest to help her father run the farm. However, her work in social justice runs much deeper than the recent years she has been farming with her father. As a young Girl Scout, Laurel first became interested in social justice issues while making crafts with the children of migrant farm workers. In Washington State, Laurel connected volunteers with local farmers after harvest to glean the farm of leftover produce.Buena Vida Farm (6) This was mutually beneficial for both the farmers and those who did not have access to fresh vegetables. But, as any good farmer might say, Laurel missed working with the soil. After culinary school, a rewarding career connecting volunteers with agriculturalists, and a co-authorship on the book Beyond Inclusion Beyond Empowerment: A Developmental Strategy to Liberate Everyone, Laurel’s love for the outdoors ultimately brought her back to the family farm.

Buena Vida Farm (8)In addition to pumpkin farming, Laurel is currently working with goji berries and amaranth in her personal garden. Although amaranth is not commonly found in food production, it is gluten-free and a source of complete protein. Above all, Buena Vida Farm is committed to growing healthy food that is both herbicide- and pesticide-free. Like many family farms, the city creeps ever so closely to Buena Vida Farm, yet Laurel’s work keeps her family farm in production.

At the end of the day, connecting soil quality, fair labor, and healthy food are all important to Buena Vida Farm. Laurel hopes that her family’s 35-acre plot of land can contribute to the greater good of the community.

To learn more about Buena Vida Farm, visit their website at Information on CSAs and pick up information in Fort Collins can be found at