Moffat County chapter of Colorado First Conservation District planning educational agriculture opportunity
A national grant could bring more agricultural education opportunities to Moffat County.
The Colorado First Conservation District in Moffat County plans on pursuing a Urban Agriculture Grant through the National Association of Conservation Districts in the coming weeks. According to Moffat County’s Kacey Green, the district could request up to $50,000 through the Urban Agriculture Grant
The organization hopes to provide more educational opportunities next to the current USDA building on Commerce Street just south of Victory Motors through an orchard, cover crops, and more in an outdoor classroom open to anyone.
The grant application is due Monday, Feb. 15. The district hopes to hear a decision by March 15.
“We want to provide opportunities to learn about cover crops, soil health, water infiltration and more,” Green said. “Right now, the Conservation District focuses on technical assistance to land owners, so we are looking to expanding our reach locally and help educate. The vision is to take that lot, test plots for cover crops, and help rural farmers.”
At this time the district has not determined how much they’ll request for the outdoor classroom next to the USDA building. However, Green added that the grant requires a 25% match, which can come from in-kind donations of materials for the project.
“One of the main goals is to give more people education in agriculture, what ag looks like, and to provide some producers the opportunity to learn things that they maybe didn’t know,” said Wayne Counts, President of the local district.
Green added that the more the Conservation District learns about the Urban Agriculture Grant, the more they learn about urban agriculture education and technical assistance.
Currently, Moffat County is considered a food desert. With impending economic changes in the future, Green hopes to help get the community out in front of the changes and set Moffat County up for sustainability and success in the future.
“I feel like we could be on the forefront of the movement,” Green said. “When I realized we are considered a food desert, I think we’re going to see that food security in our local area became more important. Being able to teach people to be self-sufficient is going to be very important moving forward, and that’s what we hope to do with this project.
“A lot of communities that have gone through energy changes; they’re utilizing their place in agriculture to reinvigorate their community,” Green added. “We’re always going to be an agriculture community. It’s always going to be here, we just have to expand it to look a little different, expand it and have more niche markets available.”
Green added that the district has support for the project from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and county commissioners.
The Conservation District will have a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds pavilion to discuss soil health and more.
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