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PHOTO: Kelly K. Robinson
Location: Boulder County, Colo.
Specialty: Open-pollinated vegetables
Farm n’ Wild Wellspring may be the new farm on the block, but Krisan Christensen traveled a long road to get there. While working as the art director for Women’s Adventure magazine, Christensen began to yearn for an adventure of her own, rather than simply looking at other people’s adventures on her computer screen.
After going to pastry school and working in a bakery, Christensen traveled North America with Outstanding in the Field, an organization that sets up farm-to-table dinners at local farms across the U.S. using locally sourced ingredients. This led to several years of apprenticeships and fellowships at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., where she describes the education in farming that she received as one that she is “continually humbled by and grateful for.” Eventually, she made the decision to return home to Colorado, but this time, she says, “with a deep desire to understand this place in an entirely new way, with my hands deep in the soil.”
Christensen now farms open-pollinated vegetables using local heirloom seeds whenever possible. Although Farm n’ Wild Wellspring is still in its first year, she says that it has been a year of observation and learning, which she plans to use to implement her goals of starting a winter CSA, providing produce to local restaurants, and leaving the land in better shape than when she began to farm it. Advocating for localized influence and regionally adapted seeds open for all to use, Christensen hopes to be part of a positive change that improves the land.
“My initial intrigue to farming had everything to do with a desire to truly know a place and to belong to a place,” she says, “and what better to achieve that than to tend to a piece of land, and watch the way it changes throughout the day, the season and the years?”
Any growth on the farm right now I consider a success, and I am simply humbled to be growing. Even through the many trials and tribulations of starting a small farm in a new climate on a shoestring budget, there are also endless lessons to be learned. Any day that I learn something new is considered successful in my book.
The greatest challenge I am finding as a young farmer is in finding long-term access to land. I am deeply committed to Boulder County and want to grow for and with this community, and to nurture the soil of the place that nurtures my very being. I am unsure at this point how I will be able to find the space and the land that I can continually cultivate for years to come.
It’s OK to start slow and small—something I have to keep reminding myself every day when my passion and love for this place makes me impatient for my big farm dream to become an immediate reality. Farming is a continued lesson in patience and timing; don’t forget to have that for yourself.