The natural world has always been ACES’ classroom, including the intersection between rural-agricultural landscapes and wild ecosystems. ACES’ unique brand of sustainable agriculture at Rock Bottom Ranch melds 113 acres of wild lands and pristine riparian habitats with agriculture production and education. We’re tapping the potential of our sites to serve as models for local food production, while simultaneously enhancing the natural value of the sites as habitat for native plant and animal communities.
Worldwide, agriculture contributes 25-30 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.That’s more emissions than every car, train, and plane in the world. Activities like raising dense populations of livestock in indoor facilities and applying nitrogen-rich fertilizers contribute to agriculture’s high GHG footprint and water and air pollution. The good news is that agriculture, when done sustainably, is an important part of mitigating climate change and protecting land and water resources.
ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch (RBR) is western Colorado’s “school” for teaching people of all ages how to grow healthy, local, sustainable food. This means farming using principles of ecology and natural biological cycles to satisfy human food needs while enhancing and protecting water, land, and climate resources. During the school year more than 3,000 students visit Rock Bottom Ranch for field programs on sustainable farming and ecology. During the summer months ACES' kids camps and Farm to Table events make over 2,500 contacts. Rock Bottom Ranch also hosts RBR Kitchen classes for adults featuring cooking and butchery demonstrations.
The Ranch implements a multi-species rotational grazing system, in which animals are moved frequently and sequentially through pastures. This management system protects soil quality, enhances grasses, and provides animals ample access to pasture, sunshine, and fresh water.
The Ranch’s laying hens and pork operations are Animal Welfare Approved, a third-party certification that ensures animals are raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S.
Rock Bottom Ranch grows over 50 varieties of vegetables, with a series of replicable, scalable horticultural programs. Our active solar greenhouse and “Rolling Thunder” mobile greenhouses allow us to produce seasonally appropriate vegetables nearly year-round without the need for supplemental heat.