HAPPY HEARTS FARM HEALTHY, LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE FOOD

by C.T. ZEN

You may have seen them dancing their hearts out at any live music event in the Fort, she throwing rose petals onto the stage, he “getting down” as only he can. They, of course, are  local icons Bailey and Dennis Stenson, owners and caretakers of Happy Heart Farm.

Happy Heart was Colorado’s first community-supporting agriculture, in 1983, before the words “organic” or “local” were being used as buzz words, and is one of the oldest biodynamic farms in Colorado. Using the old-school community model, people participate at the farm, building community from the ground up; Happy Heart believes in the “sacred relationship with the earth,” says Dennis Stenson.

Dennis questions the health of the standard American diet. “People’s life energy is lower because the life force is missing (in processed food.) We buy because of the packaging but may as well eat the package for all we’re getting.”

Over the years the word has gone from meaning “a grant by government to…a business… deemed advantageous to the public” such as farming, to “government money given to business and industry,” whether needed or not. The Oil & Gas industry receives $20-50 Billion(!) dollars a year and there seems to be less money for farmers these days. Because of this Happy Heart has “dug down deep” and gotten creative.

Since Happy Heart is committed to helping struggling families desiring healthy food, they founded the non-profit organization “Friends of Happy Heart Farm,” which helps the community through feeding and educating families. To teach children where their food comes from and what vegetables look like, since some only see veggies already processed, Happy Heart’s non-profit “Urban Food School” takes them into PSD schools to educate and help with school gardens.

As Bailey says, “the secret to a happy heart is serving others.”

To quote Dennis, “If this land is worth x amount of dollars because we can cover it with condos, isn’t it at least as valuable if we don’t, especially if it has been held as sacred ground and managed with the intention of the ‘livingness’ of it being translated…into healthy food?”

With the city’s focus on development and the new stadium being built atop land nurtured for 25 years, now forever lost to concrete, we would be smart to address our local food supply, not treat it as an afterthought.

Heart of the Farm Festival, Oct 3, Avogadro’s Number, 2-6pm. $12 in advance, $15 at the door, or avogadros.com. Children 12 and under, free: www.happyheartfriends.org.  Children’s activities, beer, silent auction, live music by Old Tree Trio and friends. Best pie auction ever! Proceeds enable 26 families to become members of the HH family.

HollerWeen XIII, Oct 24, Fort Collins, (locations and directions available upon purchase) 6pm. $35 in advance, available at: brownpapertickets.com/event/2181503. Music by Von Stomper, Blue Grama Bluegrass, The Good Time Travelers, The Holler! and special guests.

Proceeds enable K-3rd grade education about food, and creation of gardens.