City to offer open space for organic farming

BOULDER – The city of Boulder wants to offer leases for two open-space properties to local farmers and ranchers for organic food production.

The city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department will conduct a bid process to determine lessees. The properties are northeast of Boulder and are suitable for vegetable production and cattle grazing.

The city will offer the McKenzie and Nu-West properties.

The McKenzie property is 38 acres on the south side of Jay Road just east of the Diagonal Highway. Ten acres of the property are suitable for diversified vegetable production while the remaining 28 acres can sustain a hay and grazing operation.

The Nu-West property is 75 acres north of Jay Road, between 51st Street and the Diagonal Highway. All of the property is suitable for a hay and grazing operation. It also has the potential for vegetable farming.

Selection of lessees will be based on their bid proposals, along with a department review of their management plans. The department will require that lessees’ operations align with its sustainable agricultural management priorities. The department wants to increase the amount of locally produced and consumed organic food and keep agricultural land healthy and productive. The department’s sustainable agricultural program prohibits the growth of genetically modified crops.

“Many people may not realize it, but OSMP has a robust agricultural program that not only provides healthy food across the community, but also gives ranchers and farmers an opportunity to make a living farming in Boulder County,´ said Lauren Kolb, an agricultural specialist for the city.

Twenty-five ranchers and farmers raise livestock, hay, grain crops, honey and vegetables on nearly one-third of the department’s 45,000-acre system.

Anyone interested in leasing either of the two properties must attend a mandatory site visit and fill out an application. The site visit for Nu-West is scheduled for 1 p.m., Monday, Dec. 2. The site visit for McKenzie will be at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3.

For more information and to receive a bid packet that contains lease applications, contact the department’s Kolb at 303-413-7663, kolbl@bouldercolorado.gov or Josh Bilbao 303-413-7643, bilbaoj@bouldercolorado.gov.

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