"The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard."
― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
As another summer season begins, we are filled with excitement as the garden and educational programs continue to grow. It wouldn't be possible without the continued support of the OLT Board members, dedicated ranch staff, and the many volunteers that join us each season. We would also like to thank those who came out to the ranch for a tour, worked in the garden, and joined us for a meal. This year alone, we have hosted tours for over 200 guests! It's truly an honor to share our hard work and vision and we're all delighted to continue to see those numbers grow as summer approaches.
On Friday, April 20th, members of the ranch staff attended the AgriSummit in Salida. The day was filled with wonderful workshops, networking with the local food community, and building relationships with people throughout the region. Our gratitude goes out to all the sponsors and supporters of this wonderful event. The evening concluded with a movie presentation of Farmers For America. This wonderful film highlights the challenges facing farmers in the current climate as well as opportunities for change in the future. For example, did you know that half of America's farmland will change hands in the next 12 years? Or that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60 years old? It was so inspiring to our ranch managers, we've decided to host our own screening! Watch for more details as the summer progresses. Check out the trailer for this inspirational and educational movie here: www.leaveitbetter.com/farmers-for-america
Ranch manager Mike O'Donal strives to be on the front line of education for the next generation of sustainable farmers and ranchers. Mike led most of the tours last year showing visitors the progress and sharing ideas for the future. Cherrye O'Donal organized the Saturday afternoon barbecues and Sunday brunches in an effort to share some of the good food being produced at the ranch. She plans on hosting those again this year. This year, the Saturday barbecue will start at 1:00 pm. For 2018, Brian and Dru Ross, and their son Brook, will be helping with all the work that goes on at the ranch, particularly in the garden.
With the help of the Eiseman Grant, we are able to hire interns each summer and pass along real life skills that are bound to serve students throughout their lives. This program is open to juniors and seniors throughout the San Luis Valley and we're still accepting applications for the 2018 season.
Our volunteer program also continues to grow and we love having the help. Whether you can come for a day or a week, we're always happy to have new faces working the land. If you're interested in learning more, you can find the volunteer applications here: http://www.olt.org/olt/get-involved/volunteer
This April brought the completion of our 80 foot hoop house. Getting the plastic on the hoop house while battling the SLV winds was no small feat! Garden manager Brian is excited about the opportunities this brings to extend our growing season and increase our harvest throughout the year. Memorial Day weekend begins our summer Saturday celebrations, hosting tours and sharing a meal with our guests. Join us May 26th for volunteering in the garden from 9am-1pm, tours of the Ranch at noon and two, and lunch at 1pm.
Sunday mornings will begin at 9am with yoga class taught by Cynthia Nielsen followed by brunch with Cherrye at 10am.