Spring Kite Farm owners and partners, Meghan Williams and Michael Baute, have plenty to be excited about. 2013 marks the second year of their successful CSA, July rains have encouraged abundant vegetable production, their turkeys are gobbling up unwanted grasshoppers, and, on Sunday, July 21, their farm will welcome more than 200 people to the first-annual Bike-In Music Festival, benefiting the FoCo Cafe.
As Meghan Williams sat in the audience at the TEDx CSU event this past winter listening to Kathleen Baumgardner speak about her new social venture, the FoCo Cafe, she became determined to help any way she could. The Cafe’s inherent values—social justice and equity through healthy food—align with the values of Meghan and Michael’s organic, urban farm business. Meghan introduced herself to Kathleen after the event, telling her how much the vision and goals of the Cafe meant to her, and the two set out to organize a fundraiser for the FoCo Cafe at Spring Kite Farm.
As a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program within the Fort Collins city-limits, Spring Kite Farm promotes active, healthy lifestyles and clean, organic and biodynamic produce. The farm’s CSA program appeals to many bicycle enthusiasts, partly due to its location just off the Spring Creek Trail. This is even reflected in the names Meghan and Michael gave the two sizes of its CSA shares: “Bike Trailer” and “Bike Basket.” So, it seemed a logical fit to have the fundraiser a “bike-in” only event.
“We’re so excited for the festival to raise awareness about FoCo Cafe and how our entire community can join efforts to make this dream a reality,” Meghan says.
Guests of Sunday’s event will get a first-hand look at how Meghan and Michael are slowly and deliberately building a resilient food production system, from the small flock of pasture-raised chickens to rows of succulent tomatoes interlaced with marigold.
Although Spring Kite is not USDA certified Organic, absolutely no synthetic fertilizers or chemicals are used. Michael says that in 2012 the farm didn’t even use organic pesticides. “Instead, we use cultural practices, crop rotation, biological control, and inter-planting to reduce crop losses from disease and pest pressures,” he says.
Through the proper pasturing of chickens, turkey, and a neighbor’s alpaca herd, much of the nutrient needs for Spring Kite are produced on site and continuously improve soil health. The pastured poultry help keep insects and other pests in check and reduce weed pressure to minimum. New this season, Spring Kite is working with researchers at Colorado State University to begin production of additional nitrogen on the farm using cyanobacteria. “Our goal is to create a closed-loop system,” Michael says.
Spring Kite Farm was part of a historic homestead in the 1890s and was farmed by the Mead family from the 1970s until just a few years ago. In early 2012, after months of seeking the perfect land, Meghan and Michael connected with the Mead family to lease their five-acre farm on South Taft Hill Road.
“The land is the perfect fit for us,” Meghan says, “and we hope to be the perfect fit for the land.”
Together, Meghan and Michael have over 7 years of experience growing organic and biodynamic vegetables on the Front Range. This last year they used their combined experience and passion to help form a new group, the Young Farmers on the Front Range, which will be managing the 2013-14 Winter Farmers Market at the Opera Galleria. The group is a coalition of young (www.springkitefarm.com, to learn more about CSA shares and upcoming events, including a fermentation workshop with Ursula Holmes on August 22, and a farm dinner with Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar in September.