Drought Causes Cattle Rancher to Become Organic Farmer
Just outside of Alamosa, Colorado lives an inspiring farmer who grew up as a cattle rancher, which is what his family has been doing for forty years. Due to a severe drought in the area, Jason had to sell his cattle and shift his lifestyle into organic gardening. He started his beautiful garden three years ago on the 1,000-acre property and built an 18 x 75 ft. greenhouse that cost him 3,500. With the help of his family and YouTube tutorials, Jason said the construction of the greenhouse was much easier than anticipated. “I used to be nervous about gardening and held back, but you just have to go for it. I recommend others who want to get into gardening to also build a greenhouse. It’s the best for fast results. I just planted green beans two weeks ago and the stalks are already super tall and blooming. It’s amazing,” Jason said.
Jason is growing about 15 – 20 different types of vegetables, including: kale, beets, chard, snap peas, carrots and a variety of lettuces. The produce from his garden is all grown organically and provides him with an abundance to feed his family and also the community through the local farmer’s market. “I don’t use pesticides because I don’t like the idea of putting anything unhealthy into our bodies. There hasn’t been any research done on the harmful effects from the use of those chemicals and it’s really not necessary. There are organic methods of deterring pests as well, such as using garlic. I like knowing that what I harvest came straight from the earth and there is nothing else on it.”
When I arrived at the farm, Jason’s daughter who is nearly six, gave me a tour of their gardens. I was so impressed because she knew every plant and she was eager to hand me different vegetables to eat. “I love it because the kids get to be outside with me all day,” Jason said with a smile. “I think it’s really important for them to realize we don’t need to get everything from the store. We all need to become sustainable. Everyone has a yard, so we should all be growing some type of produce. It really brings you joy.”
Jason and his family definitely put a lot of effort into their farm, but it’s a labor of love. “I just want to see how far I can keep expanding. I want to build more greenhouses and extend the garden. It means a lot to me for my children to be a part of this and I truly enjoy giving back to the community.”
If you find yourself in Alamosa, be sure to visit the local farmer’s market on Saturday (8 am to 1 pm) and support those who are taking the time to up-hold organic methods of growing food! <3
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