Connecting people to agriculture – CALF
By Lynne Marsala Basche; photos courtesy of CALF
In 2002, lifelong Douglas County residents and ranchers John and Bea Lowell saw the tremendous pace of growth happening along the front range and felt that people and especially children needed a place to learn about agriculture. Together with a group of like-minded citizens, CALF began with a belief that children needed a place to raise livestock, learn about where food comes from, and experience all things agriculture firsthand.
With a mission to connect people of all ages and abilities to agriculture through authentic educational programs and community projects, CALF staff and volunteers have a passion for agriculture and educating people. It is easy not to think about how important agriculture is in everyday life, but CALF is bringing awareness to the community one program at a time.
CALF offers a variety of programs, including Camp CALF, which is a summer agriculture day camp and CALF kid program, which provides facilities for 4-H or FFA members to raise their livestock projects. CALF also has a partnership with Wellspring Community where they work collaboratively to provide meaningful opportunities, including leading field trips for youth and adults with special needs and gardening for Wellspring STARS. Also, the “Day on the Ranch” program, which is led by CALF kids, is designed for inner-city youth, and it was launched with The Bridge Project at the University of Denver to serve youth in Denver Housing Authority housing to experience a variety of agricultural activities.
Currently, all programs are at Lowell Ranch, but the board has a long-term vision to host programs throughout Colorado. Programs range from free to $10 per person, and CALF provides weekend tours for $5 per person. CALF’s “Connecting Kids to Agriculture Learning in the Field” programs are between $5.50 and $10 per student.
“CALF is one of a very few ‘working educational ranches’ that provides quality agricultural information and authentic experiences,” said CEO Brooke Fox. “CALF is not a petting zoo; rather, it is a place for people to experience with all five senses how and where food comes from all within the backdrop of the Lowell Ranch’s historical setting.”
CALF has many volunteer opportunities, such as feeding livestock, gardening and special event help. As with any nonprofit, CALF relies on donations to sustain its programs. Tax-deductible donations, as well as information about volunteering and programs, can be found at www.thecalf.org. Also, be sure to take a look at CALF’s calendar for upcoming events, such as the Legends of Agriculture fundraiser in July to kick off the Douglas County Fair.
We invite readers to send suggestions for nonprofit organizations to feature. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to learning more and sharing information about nonprofits in our community throughout the year.