The Colorado Department of Agriculture is celebrating 20 years with a new push to show the community what it means to be Colorado Proud.
“Colorado Proud for us symbolizes solidarity with other farmers and with our kind of heritage of agriculture here. It basically is the glue that holds the entire structure together,” said Roberto Meza.
The MIT graduate student wasn’t happy with the impact he was making on the East Coast. He wanted more. His longtime friend convinced him to move to Colorado to make an impact in a completely different way — in farming.
“We realized that both coasts of the United States were already pretty saturated with local food and hydroponics, and Colorado was just beginning to bud in that arena.”
Meza moved to Bennett where he and his business partner, David Demerling took a giant leap of faith into first generation farming. In 2017 they opened their farm, Emerald Gardens where they established a plan to work on microgreens.
The response from the farming community was one of disbelief.
“’If you’re in it for the money, you’re just going to waste it all on equipment and basically everything goes downhill,’” Demerling said one farmer told him.
“Everybody told us that ‘You know, farmers are cash poor, but asset rich,’ and we decided to challenge that notion to see what kind of innovative ways we could develop to build viable farming business,” said Meza.
The pair looked into bio-dynamic principals of farming — a more holistic approach. They have an automatic watering system for their greens and are in the process of building a greenhouse that is almost completely self-sustained.