The Urban Farm at Stapleton’s 23-acre campus cultivates crops, critters, and community, drawing families of all ages into its one-of-a-kind, homegrown space. Founded in Firestone in the early 1990s, the farm was relocated to Stapleton in 1998 and rebuilt around an old weather station from the Stapleton Airport, which has been repurposed into an industrial barn.
The farm delivers a wide array of experiential learning opportunities and practical work experiences to its young visitors. The staff ‘s overarching goal involves instilling a love of learning in youth while simultaneously fostering all of the great attributes one’s apt to pick up on
a farm: confidence, resilience, teamwork and problem-solving skills, for starters.
“What makes us different than almost any other urban farms is the animals,” says Executive Director Mike Nicks, pointing to the farm’s 30 horses, five cows and flocks of goats, sheep and chickens. Families who volunteer at the farm get a chance to work side-by-side, tending to the animals and performing basic farm maintenance chores, along with weeding and planting in a vegetable community garden.
This time of year, there’s plenty of sowing to be done in raised beds as well as the state-of-the-art aeroponics towers, home to greens such as romaine, spinach and cold- weather kale. You won’t want to miss the site’s aquaponics garden, a truly organic system that utilizes fish to grow plants, chemical-free. “Really, you just come out and do stuff around the farm,” Nicks reiterates. On weekends, volunteers have an opportunity to get involved with larger projects: the modification of the site’s hoop house, for example, or fence building.
“We really use the farm as a tool to work with youth,” continues Nicks. The site has one of the largest, most robust 4-H programs in Colorado, and is a popular destination for school field trips, too. Non-members are invited to explore the garden on self-guided tours. “This is a great way to see the farm, and see if you want to get more involved with it,” Nicks says, noting that families are welcome to bring snacks and drinks to enjoy at picnic areas.
There are also two play structures for younger guests. Dogs are not permitted on site. And, don’t forget to wear shoes and clothes that can get muddy!
- Check it Out:
- Located at 10200 Smith Road, Stapleton
- Need to Know:
- Open to the public (weather permitting) on Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Members are welcome on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Free for members; $5 for non-members; free for children age 2 and under
- Best Kept Secret:
- The equestrian program. The Urban Farm at Stapleton has an impressive, year-round English riding program suitable for ages 5 to 18. Don’t miss the farm’s summer horse camps, which include basic riding and trail riding classes.