It all started in 2000, when the Hamilton-Gordon family, consisting of Susan, Patrick, Sarah (8 at the time) and Clare (4) moved from Colorado Springs to a small, five acre farm in Canon City. We named our new farm Learning Ground Farm, and learn we did as we planted a huge market garden and tended it with a team of Halflinger draft horses. Despite the learning curve and challenges of life on Learning Ground Farm, we loved working outside together, learning from the land, and growing, eating, and sharing delicious and nutritious food.
After seven years of living at Learning Ground Farm, Patrick and Susan were hired as the farmers at Venetucci Farm, a 200 acre historic farm on the southern outskirts of Colorado Springs that was entrusted to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation by the Venetucci Family. Ready to put everything they had learned at Learning Ground Farm to work on a bigger scale, our whole family jumped into life at Venetucci Farm, where we grew organic vegetables and practiced wholistic livestock management. We enjoyed meeting and working with so many wonderful people during our time at Venetucci Farm as we built on the farming foundation we had established at Learning Ground.
In 2016, the wonderful legacy of Venetucci Farm as a working community farm was put on hold due the emerging issue of water contamination due to toxic chemicals leached into the aquifer by Peterson Air Force Base. (https://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/23/tainted-water-cancels-harvest-sales-venetucci-farm/). As it became clear that the future of Venetucci was uncertain, Sarah began wondering how she would continue working in agriculture if the farm closed down. In 2017, this led her to start New Roots Farm, with her childhood friend Ellen Kerchner.
Leasing land from the former Country Roots farm in Pueblo, CO, Sarah and Ellen began New Roots by selling vegetables at the Colorado Farm and Art Market, and through a 30 member CSA. Thanks to much support from their community and farming mentors, their first farming season was a success, and they decided to continue on with New Roots Farm.
This is where the story comes full circle. At the beginning of their second season at New Roots Farm, Sarah and Ellen decided to move their operations from Pueblo to the original Learning Ground Farm land in Canon City. They were joined there by Susan and Patrick, and thus Learning Ground Farm was given new life in the form of New Roots Farm. At the end of the 2018 season, Ellen and Sarah decided to go their separate directions as business partners (but not as friends!) and Ellen left New Roots to start her own locally grown flowers business, Ellen's Flowers (https://www.ellensflowers.com).
Sarah joined forces with Susan and Patrick, and they have been running New Roots Farm as a family operation ever since. Clare is pursing a degree in Environmental Design at CU Boulder, but helps out at the farm with her woodworking and mechanical skills whenever possible. As a family, we make our living through farming, and love being a small part of feeding our local community.
The original Learning Ground Farm crew- Patrick, Susan, Sarah, Clare, Duke, and Duchess
New Roots Farm featured for the Inspired Future Award by Palmer Land Trust, 2018.