Since 2010, Cimarron Community Farm has been a source of fresh food and community connections for the Cimarron Park neighborhood. Cimarron Community Farm was started by Anne DeLaVergne and Dana Jackson as an initiative to bring more fresh, local produce into the area. In the beginning it hosted community garden plots, and a small farmers market stand. As years went on, it expanded into more growing space offering more community garden plots and a free youth program for kids in the neighborhood. It was founded on a passion for growing food and sharing community.
Through the winter of 2020 we dove into the impact of tilling. We are always thinking about our future with climate change and how our actions at the farm impact our environment. We found that tilling causes a loss of top soil, increased erosion, disruption of soil biology, as well as causing the soil to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. With much research we came to the conclusion that tilling is an unnecessary evil for a farm of our size.
In the spring of 2021 we transitioned into a no-till farm. Since then we use strictly no-till techniques to prepare the soil for planting and to manage weeds. This means using black plastic silage tarps to kill off weeds, landscape fabric to block weed growth around long season plants, and digging forks to open up the soil for planting into. As the two seasons have gone on we have been seeing healthy soil structure develop as well as new insect, fungal and biological activity. This makes all of our hands-on hard work feel worth it.
In 2021 we joined forces with Open Cupboard and Valley Outreach in hosting a bi-weekly food distribution. We provide fresh local produce grown on the farm during the growing season alongside the staples supplied by the two organizations.
In 2022 we looked to the success of the food distributions as well as the need that it presented within the Cimarron Park community and decided to adapt our farmers market to a similar model. In June of 2022 we had our first Free Farmers Market. We maintain that donations are always welcome, but that the amount of cash in someone’s pocket should never determine whether or not they are worthy of healthy food. By the end of our first Free Farmers Market we knew that we had made the right decision.
Our goal is to grow the best fresh food for our neighbors all season long! In the 2022 season we produced over 12,000 pounds of produce on our half-acre farm! Much of this food went directly to our neighbors in Cimarron Park.