Denver Botanic Gardens plans to expand Chatfield Farms – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Chickens, goats, a big pig, ponies, ducks, birds of prey, prairie dogs, corn, vegetables, native plants, historic ranch and farm buildings, and a meandering creek that nourishes pastures and wildlife. This is a brief inventory of Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms.

To the mix, the organization wants to add new welcome and education centers, a marketplace, a permanent stage for the amphitheater, and gardens featuring native plants and indigenous agriculture. Chatfield Farms’ development plan calls for the expansions to be made in phases as the money is raised.

Brian Vogt, CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens, discussed the plans on a recent golf cart tour of the 700-acre Chatfield Farms in southern Jefferson County. The area is about 20 miles southwest of the organization’s public gardens in the Cheesman Park neighborhood of Denver.

Vogt said the botanical garden completed a master development plan for the Denver site in 2020. “It gave the institution the breadth to revisit Chatfield Farms now and reflect on what it wants to be in the future.”

The Botanical Garden has raised approximately $6 million for the proposed projects so far. Vogt said the first job will likely be what he jokingly called “the really glamorous stuff”: sewerage, parking lots, a solar array, and other infrastructure.

The total price, which would include a restaurant overlooking a grassy bowl that forms the amphitheater, will likely be between $38 million and $40 million, Vogt said. The work will be done as soon as the money is ready.

Jintak Han, The Denver Post

Brian Vogt, CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens, discusses Tuesday, April 14.

“What’s special about the Gardens is that we don’t break ground until we know we have the money,” he said.

The organization works with various government agencies, including the Army Corp of Engineers, to obtain permit approvals. Vogt said it will probably take until next spring to come up with the final plans.

The Botanic Gardens have managed Chatfield Farms since 1973 on land administered by the Army Corp of Engineers. After a devastating 1965 South Platte River flood, people living in the area were relocated and nearby Chatfield Reservoir was built. More than 20 people died and more than 5,000 homes and farm buildings and about 6,700 small businesses were destroyed or damaged.

Vogt said one of the original ideas for the site after the flood was to create an arboretum. “But it’s difficult to grow trees in Colorado. There isn’t that much water.”

Another idea was to manage the land as a nature reserve. “But then what are you going to do with the historic ranches?” asked Vogt.

The Botanical Garden has blended nature and historical uses of the land to focus on agriculture and land restoration along Deer Creek, which flows through Chatfield Farms. In a field next to a house, sheds and barns at the historic Hildebrand ranch, staff and volunteers grow vegetables that are taken to farmers’ markets in areas with limited access to fresh produce.

Other crops include corn, squashes, lavender fields and vegetables for a community farming program that people support by buying shares. Chatfield Farms hosts the Veterans to Farmers program. There is a dyer’s garden that grows different types of plants used for dyeing fabrics.

Leave a Comment