Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700' elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. Our farm is an active part of a 12,000 acre ranch; however, we only manage 3 acres with intensive vegetable gardening.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On a Wednesday morning, we interns expect to wake up at 5:30 AM, bounce groggily to the farm site in the trusty Kubota, and pick the greens for your salad and braising mixes until about noon. Today, having been given a more forgiving wake up time, we rolled up to Breigh and Daren's house around 7:40 and were immediately herded into the van. Breigh was exclaiming that she'd been calling us and we needed to pick the lettuce as fast as possible so that we could go to a meeting about uranium in Montrose. We were all a little confused, but we did as we were told, and soon found ourselves in a large gymnasium/meeting venue of sorts with about 150 other people all interested in learning about the Pinon Ridge Mill, a uranium processing plant that is in the works for construction east of Montrose.

The meeting was not only informational, but served as a venue for members of the community to voice their opinions supporting and opposing the construction of the plant as well. Us farm folk went to support those who opposed the mill, and their numbers certainly needed fleshing out. Most members of the community who were present and who spoke were in strong favor the mill because it would provide roughly 1,300 jobs and supposedly boost the area's economy. None of them seemed to comprehend the serious repercussions the presence of this facility would have on not only the environment, but on the health of the area's residents for hundreds of years.

We all know the terrible effects of radioactive materials like uranium, and if this mill should be constructed, the harmful byproducts will be in the air, the water, and the soil all over the area. While the mill itself is many miles outside of town, there will be trucks driving through town and on other local stretches of highway (including by our farm) delivering enriched uranium away from the mill and toxic chemicals like sulfuric acid to the plant.

"If this mill is built," Breigh says, "we will not be farming here."

This is a serious and valid statement. Would you continue your CSA share knowing the produce you were receiving was contaminated with uranium byproducts like radon? The fact of the matter is, this project must be stopped. It is currently being reviewed by the commissioner of Montrose County as well as an evaluation committee, who were present today at the meeting. State scientists are also evaluating the situation on a chemical level, and this should play in to the decision of county leaders who are approving the special permit. Please, make your voice heard on this topic by contacting county leaders. I will probably be posting information on who to contact and how next week if not sooner.

Back on the farm, we harvested a whopping 217 pounds of tomatoes before CSA and market last week! This was Buckhorn Gardens’ largest harvest of tomatoes in its three-season history. We also tore up old beds of cauliflower and carrots in order to transplant broccoli and spinach seedlings. This afternoon we finished processing the garlic that has been drying the barn for a few weeks. The harvesting of squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes continued as usual along with various weeding projects. This post was on the longer side, so thanks for reading until the end! Best wishes from the crew at Buckhorn Gardens, we’ll see you soon!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alison,
    It would be great if you sent a version of this story to the daily planet "Letters to the Editor."
    Solid writing as always,