A Conversation on the Future of Agg in Aspen
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Aspen T.R.E.E.'s Eden Vardy
by Skippy Mesirow
Aspen T.R.E.E. has a mission to empower youth and build community with solution-oriented education that connects people to place, inspiring a positive bond with their food-shed and environment.
Get to know Eden Vardy as he shares what the future of the Aspen T.R.E.E has the possibility of becoming. Check out the video and our Q&A with Eden below.
So… Your RFP, are you done with it!?
I think so. I think the RFP is complete. We heard from the Selection Committee and Austin White that they chose Aspen T.R.E.E unanimously and we are now the selected agricultural operator for Cozy Point Ranch. So we can check that box!
What happens between now and you fulfilling your plans?
That's the part that I am not 100% clear on. My understanding is that we negotiate the lease through the Parks Department Staff. Once that is approved we go for approval before the Parks Department Board, which is typically the third Thursday of each month, August 17th I believe. Then it moves on for final approval by City Council, likely August 28th as a content item on the agenda. Then we start implementation immediately, the only question is at what rate.
What does this mean for the broader community?
We are now as a community not just do lip service to the local food economy, but actually, take the steps to make the local food economy what we want.
Specifically, the major components of our plan that we intend to implement are more robust and usable educational infrastructure to serve youth and the greater community on site. We will be able to handle much more effectively school groups that come out any time of the year and be much more equipped for workshops, events, meetings, gatherings and presentations for people of all ages.
Another part of our infrastructure will be a commercial kitchen that will allow us to do community events, like the farm to table meals we are best known for, more often and on site. This will also have far broader benefits for our community as this kitchen will become a public amenity for food entrepreneurs of all types, helping us to resolve our challenge of affordable kitchen space for determined individuals serving the environmental and health benefits of our community.
Part three is that we will be able to grow, and therefore have, more food for our community to be able to purchase on site, in an on-site farm store selling both products grown by us, by farmers on micro-leases in our farmer incubator, as well as products from the entire RFV, Glenwood - Aspen. Combined with our commercial kitchen we can create what we call a “food-hub” where we can store bumper crops, things that are more difficult for local farmers to sell.
We will also continue to operate on start where our farm park will continue to be an accessible resource for schools, families, and anyone in between.
What does this mean to you personally?
To me personally, it means I can continue my commitment to my children, to the future generations that I’ve not met, that are not even yet born. To ensure we have a beautiful and habitat place when we return the Earth to future generations, so they can enjoy it as we have. It is the most tangible way that I can take action alleviate some of the challenges provided by climate change and pull others along to do the same, given that food is something that everyone does, and what binds us as a culture.
Aspen T.R.E.E. teaches sustainable living workshops to all ages, builds edible gardens and compost systems for individuals and communities, and hosts community events, meals, and festivals. They are dedicated to renewing our society's connection to food and nature while empowering youth to take care of themselves and the environment.
Check out www.aspentree.org for more information and to get involved. We highly recommend meeting Eden, checking out the farm, and enjoying a conversation about how you can participate and help change the world!