This post was updated March 17, 2021 to include current information and recommendations.
Here in Northern Colorado, weekly farmers’ markets aren’t the only places to get fresh, local and sustainable produce in Fort Collins. Our city offers multiple options, whether you want to work the field yourself or you just want a guaranteed ration of local food each week.
Community gardens offer an outlet to practice your green thumb and learn how the Fort Collins community is working to promote sustainability. With more than nine different gardens in the city limits, there are several opportunities to grow your own plot or lend a helping hand in a shared one.
If you’d prefer to leave the gardening to someone else, Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA programs, are another excellent way to get local meat, veggies, fruit, eggs and more—directly from a local farmer! There’s no shortage of family farms in Fort Collins, so we have an abundance of CSA opportunities as well.
Check out our favorites and get ready for the harvest!
Whether dedicated to educating the community or simply to providing places for community members to grow their own food and flowers, community gardens can be wonderful, flourishing areas in our community. We rounded up the community gardens made for both educational and nonprofit work as well as personal gardening. Keep reading to find out how you can participate.
Photo courtesy of Gardens on Spring Creek
The Gardens on Spring Creek is the headquarters for Fort Collins’ gardening community, and it’s the best place for education, practice and garden-themed social events. As of 2021, they manage eight community gardens with a total of 158 plots. Located throughout the city, these can be found at Buckingham Park, Edora Park, English Ranch Park, Rogers Park, Rolland Moore Park and Twin Silo Park. Additional gardens can be found near the Senior Center and another is located on the grounds at the Gardens on Spring Creek.
At these community gardens, residents can grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and annual flowers in a roughly 150-square-foot plot—all within a securely fenced area. Each location has a tool shed, picnic table, compost bins and access to water and hoses, but gardeners are asked to provide their own tools, plants and other supplies.
With their program Urban Foods Outreach, The Growing Project works with Fort Collins Housing Catalyst, Habitat for Humanity, Fort Collins nonprofits, and various mobile home parks on North College Avenue to install gardens in low-income areas. These gardens function as both educational and community gathering spaces. Residents harvest the food grown and also make regular donations of extra produce to the Food Bank for Larimer County and The Family Center/La Familia.
In addition to these gardens, The Growing Project operates an educational farm called The Burrow, a 1/3-acre farm and community space dedicated to food production and education. They also operate Storybook Flower Farm where you can get flower bouquets in CSA style and host an annual seed swap which invites community members to share, take, donate and learn about different seeds.
Mulberry Community Gardens is a project of 21st Century Gardens, a local nonprofit. They provide an inclusive and community-centered environment to learn and participate in hands-on organic gardening opportunities in an effort to promote local growing and eating in the region.
Their 1-acre community garden is located at 2310 W Mulberry St where they offer 54 beds each about 4 feet by 8 feet where everyone works together to grow food, help neighbors and inspire others. At the site, they also have a neighborhood compost drop off and pick-up site, Pygora goats, a young 25-tree fruit orchard, and a hoop house.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. In recent years, this process has become more and more popular throughout Northern Colorado. In summary, paying members cover a farm’s yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest. By doing so, they make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season and assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food.
Functioning on a membership basis, you simply pay a one-time fee to reserve a fixed amount of vegetables, grains, fruits and other items then pick-up your food at the designated location and time. So, not only do you get to take home delicious, sustainable food, you still get the community atmosphere of a farmers’ market!
Photo courtesy of Jodar Farms
Jodar Farms has one of the best CSA programs for meat and eggs. And, with two main CSA programs—winter and summer—you have the opportunity to get Jodar Farms products all year long. The winter CSA is primarily used to get first dibs on the limited supply of winter eggs and the summer CSA allows members to create a custom monthly order of eggs, pork sausage and ground beef to be picked up once per month. For full details and online registration, click here.
Happy Heart Farm was Colorado’s first CSA farm and is located right here in Fort Collins. Their little urban farm has been home for three generations of families who have been growing food, fun and community spirit from the ground up for more than 30 years, and their CSA program is one of the region’s most popular.
A legend in the Fort Collins farming community, Shire CSA grows 100% organic produce in their urban garden located on the Spring Creek Trail between College Avenue and Lemay. Members receive weekly shares of produce from May through October and get to enjoy the wonderful community atmosphere of weekly vegetable pick-up nights. Shire offers two share sizes to choose from ranging from 10 to 20 pounds per week and you can get more details here.
Sunspot is a small, urban farm with big ideas about sustainable practices. Located in a residential neighborhood on the edge of Old Town, this family farm has been operating since 2008 with a focus on renewable energy and regenerative farming. Their 25 family shares go quickly and last from late July through October. For more information, click here.
Blue Barrel Farm was started in 2010 by Pam Erthal with the goal to grow seasonal produce for local families. The small farm grows vegetables, fruits and herbs using organic methods with no herbicides, no pesticides and regular crop rotation. Blue Barrel Farm offers two share sizes, the small share offered on a biweekly basis or the standard size offered on a weekly basis. Choose from two pickup locations — on the farm or their South Fort Collins drop-off location. For more information on the CSA program, click here.
Garden Sweet has been providing vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs for the Fort Collins community for more than 15 years. Their market-style CSA allows you to pick and choose the produce you want so you can take home exactly what your family needs, and it includes picking your own berries, pumpkins and flowers in the Garden Sweet fields. Essentially, members get free admission and a $200 credit towards pick-your-own berries and flowers — and apples in September, if conditions allow. For more information, click here.
Raisin’ Roots Farm began as a small operation in Laporte in 2015 then relocated to Northwest Fort Collins in 2017. Today, they cultivate several acres, grow more than 60 heirloom and organic varieties of vegetables throughout the year, and sell pasture-raised eggs from 120 laying hens as well as seasonal pork shares. The farm offers 65 seasonal CSA shares, which include payment plans and pro-rated options. For more information, click here.
Each share at Green Dog Farm is designed for a couple or a family of four as weekly supplemental produce beginning in June. By using intercropping, companion planting, the biodynamic calendar, organic fertilizers, local manure, on-site compost and Neem oil and diatomaceous earth for pest control, they’re able to offer some of the most sustainable produce in the region. For information on reserving your share, click here.
Native Hill is a small, local vegetable farm located just a short bike ride from Old Town. Their CSA program is one of the most versatile, offering small, medium and large shares. With the purchase of each, your account balance starts at $350, $450 or $550 respectively and you use that amount at the bi-weekly market where you can pick exactly the foods that your family needs. Shop until your account balance is out and you can add more to it at any time! For full details on membership, click here.
In the comments below, share your favorite gardens and Fort Collins CSA farms with us.