Colorado College wanted a place for students to plant a garden and learn about sustainable agricultural practices, organic farming methods and the food chain. But a 3-acre plot on the Venetucci Farm near Security was too far away for many students.
So CC President Richard Celeste offered the students use of the rear portion of the three-acre yard behind Stewart House, the school-owned mansion on Wood Avenue, where he lives with his family.
Four students, under the supervision of Professor Miro Kummel, cleared the brush, tilled the property by hand and planted about a half-acre of vegetables. They also built a small coop for nine chickens and put in a beehive so they can study pollination and harvest honey.
Several neighbors love the garden. One was concerned about losing privacy in their backyard when students were in the garden. So Kummel offered to plant bushes to shield their yard.
Another neighbor across Wood, Libby Pitman, just doesn’t like the idea of CC having a “farm” on the property. She said she likes the students and the school. And it’s not a matter of her being bothered by the activity. She can’t see the garden or the students from her home.
She contacted the city to report a possible zoning code violation.
Here is an aerial photo from FlashEarth.com of the property.
Dick Anderwald, the city’s land use review manager, toured the property Wednesday with one of his staff, Ryan Tefertiller, to see what the CC students are doing. Kummel led the tour. Here are some photos of the tour:
Students park their bikes under the trees, above, near the garden. Pitman was upset that students were parking in front of her house so Kummel ordered them to walk or bike to the garden from campus.
Miro Kummel, left, shows the main garden to Ryan Tefertiller and Dick Anderwald of the city land use review department. The two huts in the background are small greenhouses.
Tefertiller and Anderwald inspect the chicken coop. Nine chicks were huddled in the corner.
Kummel describes how a smaller garden is being used for research by a student studying the interaction between tomatoes and lettuce for a senior thesis.
Anderwald said he would study city codes to see if there were any restrictions on the school using the property as a garden or to bring classes over for field work. He also suggested the college meet with the Old North End Neighborhood Association to explain what is going on with the garden and mediate any disputes.