Local Aquaponics Nonprofit Recovering from Loss of Facility

Copyright: Tien Tran

Nonprofit startup in Greeley Blooming Health Farms has lost its recently acquired facility as a result of an inability to come to agreeable terms with the landlord.

The loss of the facility comes as a setback to Blooming Health Farms’ mission of providing the community with sustainable agriculture along with counseling and job skills training to at-risk youth.

“We wish we could have worked things out but we still have our eyes on the prize,” said Director of Operations Sean Short. “We’ve re-strategized and found ways to be just as efficient in half the space,” Sean said.

The 2,000 square foot facility was intended to grow and supply local businesses with 1,500 pounds of vegetables per week through aquaponics. Aquaponics is a type of agriculture that mimics the ecosystem in order to produce more food with 93% less water and 90% land than a traditional farm.

The plants growing at the facility were moved to a separate system where they are continuing to grow despite losing the farm’s equipment and fish along with the facility. Another system is being built in Director of Programming Ryan Smith’s basement while utilizing a temporary 400 square foot facility along with a 300-gallon fish tank for production.

“The situation is not ideal– we’re not producing quite as much as we would like to, but we’re doing our best to come up with creative solutions to the problem,” said Ryan. “At the end of the day, our mission is to serve our community and serve the youth of Northern Colorado,” Ryan said.

The farm is currently searching for a benefactor to provide a new facility so they can return to producing fish and vegetables at their intended volume. They will continue to produce sprouts and microgreens for pre-sale to restaurants and distributors in the meantime, searching for large purchasers of these products while selling leafy greens and sprouts at the Berthoud farmers market each weekend.

“We decided to just keep everything simple and live up to our promise to change our community,” Ryan said. “We’re excited to continue working with local restaurants to provide hyperlocal, fresh produce to Colorado kitchens,” said Ryan.

For more information regarding the program and sponsorship opportunities, visit: www.bloominghealthfarms.com

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