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ACES Launches Rock Bottom Ranch Kitchen Campaign

Posted in Bulletin Board

Fundraising campaign to support sustainable agriculture education.

Basalt, CO, December 4, 2013 — Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) is launching a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign to build a new kitchen at Rock Bottom Ranch (RBR). The campaign runs from December 5th through January 5th on rbrkitchen.org, with the goal of raising $30,000. A new kitchen at Rock Bottom Ranch will empower ACES to teach children and adults how to prepare locally raised products.

The current kitchen at Rock Bottom Ranch is in need of renovation.  To meet the increasing demand for sustainable food production and education in our valley, we need the community’s help in building a kitchen that is suitable for safe, healthy food preparation, and which will double as a productive learning space. The new kitchen will be a classroom for cooking demonstrations, educating students on how to turn local products into food. The new kitchen will also be a place to prepare, wash, and package RBR products for farmers’ markets and other events.

Rock Bottom Ranch, a site of ACES, is located in Basalt, Colorado.  The 113-acre property is a working ranch that demonstrates models of sustainable agriculture, showing that nature and agriculture can co-exist, and enhance each other.  The site is also a place where thousands of students in the Roaring Fork Valley come to learn about environmental science and sustainable food systems.

In 2013, agricultural production was greatly expanded under the guidance of new RBR Director, Jason Smith.  A multi-species rotational grazing system was implemented, allowing every animal on the farm access to fresh pasture, sunlight, and plenty of room to roam. This included: 150 laying hens, 300 chickens, 30 pigs, 40 ducks, 10 sheep, and 5 goats. 300 sheep were raised in partnership with Crystal River Meats.  Both egg and pork production were certified as Animal Welfare Approved, a third party certification that ensures animals are raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S. Agricultural operations will continue to expand in 2014, with more chickens, pigs, turkeys, and vegetable production.  Two greenhouses are currently under construction where RBR will grow a variety of crops to take to farmers’ markets and restaurants next spring.

Also in 2013, Rock Bottom Ranch hosted several Farm-to-Table dinners highlighting Ranch products as well as other locally sourced ingredients and libations.  The site was a destination for community food programs including Meatless Mondays and the Humane Society of the United States.

For any questions related to this project, please feel free to contact Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.

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