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Fozzie's Farm: Growing a Culture of Conservation

10/13/2021

Fozzie’s Farm, an 83-acre farm in Lewis, Colorado, demonstrates sustainable practices while building a culture of conservation and stewardship in the next generation. Interview with Outreach and Education Coordinator Jay Loschert. Sponsored by Express Employment Professionals and TruWest Auto

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Rather than thinking of conservation as removing people from land, we really think about conservation as being a human endeavor and a responsibility and a mandate that we have.

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We're in Lewis, Colorado. This is Fozzie's Farm. We're just about 12 miles north of Cortez. And Montezuma Land Conservancy was given this farm back in 2016, really to serve as a hub for our outreach and education programs. And so since 2016, we've served close to 1500 youth and almost 400 adults who have come through the farm and been part of our programs and stuff. So it was really an effort by the Montezuma Land Conservancy to start to create a culture of conservation. We have school groups come out here for field trips, and we do summer programs with high school kids, and we do internships, and all sorts of great stuff. And service learning projects. And folks come out to the farm and camp, and work, and learn. And so it's been a really fun experiment for us. And on top of all that, it's a working farm and ranch. Well, we grow forage. I grow microbes. We focus a lot on soil healthier, and we've come to realize that if we provide the right habitat and the right conditions for the soil bacteria, the fungi, the nematodes, the protozoa, all the things that drive the fertility of the farm. If we focus on that, everything else kind of falls into place. We have grazing leases with a couple of different producers and they come and bring their animals here. And we practice rotational grazing. And that also boosts soil fertility and makes those microbes happy. We do everything from, you know, more soil health things. Like we have a big composting project going on. We do biodiversity projects like planting seedling trees. We've planted over 200 seedling trees just this year across the farm, as well as some bigger species that we get from a local nursery. We have bees here. We have an observation hive inside of our education center. And the bees can come and go in inside and out. We built a pollinator garden with them. And some first graders last year came and planted a bunch of flowers and herbs in the pollinator garden. So we just try to do projects around here that, you know, kind of try to put our farm more in balance, and more connected to nature. They're free programs through our funding through the Montezuma Inspire Coalition. All the programs for local groups are free. You know, conservation has to involve people. The more we can start to shift that notion that conservation is just setting things aside and keeping it, keeping people off. We really want to welcome people back to the land, have them form a relationship with the land. You know, people aren't going to save or want to conserve or protect a piece of land or anything that they don't have a relationship with. That they don't love. So we're really trying to build that love affair really, between and the natural resources. The beauty, the open space, the views, the wildlife, all the wonderful things that make Montezuma County such a great place to live. And, you know, really shift their thinking about their role in protecting it.

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