Summer is Flying By

August already!  The garden is looking great, the bees are settled in, and we’ve been working away out here at the EcoRanch.  Our interns, WWOOFers, and volunteers have been tirelessly weeding, taking care of pests, and harvesting.  We’ve been battling the high temps and lack of water but the monsoon rains are here in full force and the plants are loving it.

We are sad to see Assoumou, our current WWOOFer leave, but he is about to begin a new adventure visiting family in the Ivory Coast where he will help his father establish a farm.  He has really helped us out and we have been able to get caught up on all the behind the scene things like emails, paperwork, planning, networking, and other jobs.  We hope he can take some of the skills he learned here and apply them to a new environment.  Our interns Gabe and Mike will be finishing their hours in a few short weeks as they return to the hustle and bustle of classes at NAU.  They will be replaced by two new interns for the fall semester, Meaghan and Micah.  Gabe and Mike will be teaching them all they have learned and the goals will be to continue maintaining plant health, harvesting, and closing the the farm for the season at the end of October.

Below are some photos for your viewing pleasure.  We hope to see you soon.


Drying Sage


Drying Garlic


A safe new set of stairs!



Our first attempt at growing oyster mushrooms.  Thanks Mycocats of U of A

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanks to the Sustainable Botany Class

Yesterday I gave a presentation to Dr. Pollak’s Sustainable Botany course at NAU about WWOOFing and the influences it had on the development of the EcoRanch.  The students asked a lot of great questions, then we spent a few hours in the Shand Garden, the experiential garden the students run, weeding,watering, and picking cherries, raspberries, kale, onions, and garlic.

Today, those same students visited the EcoRanch and toured the site.  After the tour, we cleaned the chicken coop, tested our soil moisture levels, turned the compost, and watered.  We ended the day with a delicious raspberry/cherry crisp, yep the same fruit from the Shand Garden, while enjoying the view of the San Francisco peaks.

Thanks for the conversations and the hard work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Non Profit Grocery Store

Check out this link:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Caught Up…Summer Interns and Volunteers

Bed preparation and planting got off to a slow start this season due to some unforeseen circumstances, but we are back on top of things…thanks to all the extra hands we had over the last few months.  Bugs are under control, the compost is cooking between 150 and 170 degrees, and the kale is rocking and rolling.  Today we pulled 163 lbs for Local Alternative and their Tepa Burger, Flag Family Food Center, and anyone else looking to buy kale.  Thanks to all the volunteers (Hannah, Madison, Emma, Justin, Kayla), classes, our newest WWOOFer, Assoumou from Philly, and our summer interns Gabe and Mike.  You can read a bit about them below and you can see some of the recent photos from the EcoRanch.


“Gabryl Sam, a senior at Northern Arizona University is one of two interns at the Flagstaff EcoRanch. He is studying Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Global Sustainability. Originally from a small town located on the Navajo Nation he moved to the Flagstaff area in the fall of 2012. He loves the outdoors and appreciates the beauty of the natural world. What he hopes to gain from the internship is to build a foundation to promote sustainable living through agriculture.”


“Michael Vaughn is from Phoenix, AZ and is receiving a BA in Environmental Studies, with an emphasis in Global Sustainability at Northern Arizona University. He is 24 and loves sports, movies, and exploring the outdoors. He is currently interning at the Ecoranch to learn organic and sustainable growing techniques. He hopes to take knowledge gained at the Ecoranch and implement it into his personal and professional life.”


Compost Cooking


New tomatoes…Thanks Peggy


3 sisters




New bean and pea trellis from the interns


Harvesting Kale


30 of the 163 lbs


More harvesting


Sold to Local Alternative…Good luck in your new life as a veggie burger!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NAU ENV 490 Capstone Students

This blog is well overdue.  In the chaotic end of the semester and frantic start up of the EcoRanch activities, I never got around to writing our deepest appreciation for our two capstone groups that helped us out through the Spring semester.  We had two groups of four students working to promote the mission and vision of the Flagstaff EcoRanch.

The first group, the Grant Research and Writing Team (Jordan Pynes [Team Lead], Andrew DePaoli, Addison Guevara, and Eleanor Krueger) were tasked with researching grants applicable to the EcoRanch’s mission.  The group had to find 10 applicable grants and choose one from this list to apply for.  This allowed them many opportunities to explore the grant writing process, promoted collaboration within the group, and offered opportunities to explore how the EcoRanch operates and functions.  The group decided the best option, given their NAU deadlines, time constraints for the EcoRanch and its current goals, was to apply for a grant with APS for a greenhouse.  The greenhouse would allow the EcoRanch to grow more starts and be more autonomous.  We would have space to grow tomatoes and other warmer climate plants while extending our season.  After this, students created a poster to present at the UGRAD Symposium at the end of the semester in The Dome.  Unfortunately, we weren’t awarded the grant, but we are prepared to apply again in the future.

The second group, The Produce Production and Community Development Team (Greg Samaniego-Morris [Team Lead], Kaeli Frechette, Madison Corey, and Kelsey Morris) were tasked with increasing our community outreach.  The group had to reach out to at least 10 businesses, organizations, or community groups in town to see if there were opportunities for collaboration, primarily in the area of donating/growing/selling food.  The group had to choose 2 groups and identify a functional timeline, identify all stakeholders in the collaboration, identify each groups’ needs, explain how it would promote the mission of reach entity, and problem solve any potential issues/problems that could occur.  From this project, we developed a new collaboration with The Toasted Owl.

The Toasted Owl and the Flagstaff EcoRanch are proud to collaborate in creating closed loop food systems here in Flagstaff.  The Toasted Owl will be using some kale purchased from the Flagstaff EcoRanch.  The EcoRanch kale is grown without synthetic additives right here in at the base of the San Francisco Peaks.  The Flagstaff EcoRanch, in return collects approximately 300 lbs of pre consumer food waste each week from The Toasted Owl, to build compost, amend the raised beds, and to feed to chickens.  Together, we are working to create a more local and secure food network.

At the end of the semester, the group also created a poster for the UGRAD Symposium. This group won first place for the best poster overall and each member received a $100 check!  Congrats to you all!

Thanks to Angie Moline and Taylor Joyal for mentoring and advising these students throughout the semester and for helping to support the Flagstaff EcoRanch.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hopilavayi Summer Enrichment Camp

Thanks to the Hopilavayi Summer Enrichment Camp for visiting the EcoRanch.  The students were in grades 1 through 6 and came with a lot of energy.  This is a 4 week program that teaches the Hopi language through cultural activities. These were some of the most respectful, well-behaved, and curious students we have had visit the EcoRanch.  Thanks to the teachers (Debbie and Rachele) and especially their parents!

We toured the EcoRanch, discussed the different types of plants we grow, dug into the compost, and spent a lot of time learning about bees.  The kids ate radishes (which most of them didn’t like) and different types of lettuce.  After our tour, the kids attempted to catch the chickens and those who did, learned how to properly hold them.  We had a refreshing lunch on the porch where we practiced separating our finished lunches into compostable material, food for the chickens, recyclables, and trash.  We look forward to having you all out next year!


Learning about composting and decomposition. Photo courtesy of Cortiella Photography.


Learning about plants and bugs. Photo courtesy of Cortiella Photography.


Learning about our local climate and protection for the plants. Photo courtesy of Cortiella Photography.


Learning how to safely hold chickens. Photo courtesy of Cortiella Photography.


Rocky anyone? Photo courtesy of Cortiella Photography.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanks to the PREP/JUMP Students

Thanks to the hard work and sweat of the PREP/JUMP program.  “The Program Realizing Educational Potential (PREP) at Northern Arizona University offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to prepare for a future career in the health professions.”  The students and their teachers toured the EcoRanch and then helped weed, turn compost, bury drip lines, plant starts and seeds, spread compost, remove invasive species, and haul wood.  You have helped us more than you know and we hope to have you back again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Higher Grounds Collaboration

The Flagstaff EcoRanch is proud to announce a new collaboration with Higher Grounds Coffee Shop in creating closed loop food systems here in Flagstaff.  Higher Grounds will be using some kale purchased from the Flagstaff EcoRanch in their delicious and nutritious smoothies.  Flagstaff EcoRanch kale is grown without synthetic additives right in Flagstaff at the base of the San Francisco Peaks.  The Flagstaff EcoRanch collects approximately 50 lbs of spent coffee grounds per week for their compost, which is used as a soil amendment throughout the year.  Together, we are working to create a more local and secure food network.

Thanks to all the employees at Higher Grounds for helping to make this an effective collaboration!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chickens Explaining Carbon

Here’s a nice quick video to help explain the price of carbon!

Thanks Chickens!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bee Workshops

Learn how to keep bees with the best.  Introductory beekeeping class is now being offered by the Honeybeeteacher.  Click on the link to the flyer below.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment