SAN LUIS VALLEY – SOL Sangre de Cristo membership granted its second round of interest-free Badger Creek Ranch and Jumpin ‘Good Goat Dairy farm / ranch loans on March 14. To date, SOIL Sangre de Cristo has awarded $ 20,000 in the first year.
Dave and Chrissy McFarren, and Andrea Evers, owners of Badger Creek Ranch, purchased the ranch in 2015. Their goals are to practice regenerative agriculture and raise livestock in a humane and organic way. The ranch had been overgrazed in previous years. The goal now is to restore pastures through managed grazing on the land.
The McFarrens will use the $ 5,000 loan to purchase a used small tractor for a new farm garden project hauling compost and spreading it. It will also be used to drag pastures and do “the heavy lifting” to save on manual labor. The garden will be cultivated using regenerative farming methods without plowing or plowing.
Badger Creek Ranch sells its produce at the Salida Winter and Summer Markets and through their online store. www.badgercreekranch.com
Jumpin ‘Good Goat Dairy was founded in 2002 by Dawn Jump as an on-farm goat cheese dairy with three does and a goat. By 2014, she had grown to a herd of over 200 milling does, producing 35,000 pounds of cheese per year. Today, Jumpin ‘Good Goat Dairy has partnerships with two Amish dairies that provide quality milk produced from animals raised without cruelty. They shifted their focus to maintaining and expanding the artisan dairy with the same quality Colorado milk supply and breeding methods intact.
Loan funds will be used in conjunction with other funds to add an additional 320 square feet. on the south side of the existing store. Specifically, they will be used to finish the interior of the prefab building and retail accessories such as shelves and coolers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site dining has declined, moving to the retail market. This market will continue to grow until 2021 and beyond. The expansion of the store’s retail area will contribute to this growth.
SOIL Sangre de Cristo members voted at the membership meeting to disburse the funds, which come from membership contributions. Local farmers and food producers who are members of SOIL can apply for interest-free loans. Loan application finalists presented their proposals live at the virtual meeting on March 14. The loans are repayable over three years and, as they are repaid, the money will flow back into the funds available for future loans.
Farmers and food producers can join SOIL for $ 25 per year. General memberships start at $ 250 per person and include a vote on loan distributions. The loan fund is generously supported by The Mighty Arrow Family Foundation with a 50% match for each contribution.
SOIL Sangre de Cristo’s mission is to unite communities in south-central Colorado through direct support to local farmers, ranchers and food producers, thereby improving food security and resilience for all residents.
The zero rate loan model funded by SOIL Sangre de Cristo members is based on the Slow Money principles developed by author and activist Woody Tasch. In Colorado, SOIL-affiliated groups are creating more resilient food systems in communities around Boulder, Durango and Carbondale, with more than $ 900,000 in loans for crucial items such as tractors, worker housing and irrigation , season extenders and other agricultural aids to achieve maximum success.
To find out how to become a member, visit www.soilsangredecristo.org/. You can also join PJ Bergin [email protected].