April 22, 2021

City of Boulder acquires conservation easement on Long’s Gardens property

This press release was originally published by the City of Boulder and published here with permission.

BOULDER, Colo. – The City of Boulder recently completed a conservation easement acquisition that will preserve the open space, agricultural and community uses of the Long’s Gardens property in north Boulder. This acquisition comes as Long’s Gardens, located at Broadway and Hawthorn Avenue, will celebrate the beginning of its 105th agricultural and flower-growing season this week.

The 25-acre property – privately owned and operated by the Long family for more than 100 years – contains the city’s oldest community gardens and the headquarters of Growing Gardens, a nonprofit organization providing sustainable agriculture, education and food donations to more than 136,000 Boulder County residents over the past 22 years. The property also has important multi-use paths that help connect community members to other parts of the city along the 13th Street – Broadway Boogie path.

While the property will continue to be privately owned and operated, the city’s perpetual conservation easement over Long’s Gardens requires that the horticultural and agricultural activities must continue on the property, guided by a management plan approved by the city. The city also was able to secure permanent public access over the Forest Avenue and Farmers Ditch multi-use paths that bisect the property.

The City of Boulder acquired the conservation easement over Long’s Gardens for $5.3 million on Wednesday, March 31. The Long family was assisted in the transaction by national environmental nonprofit, The Conservation Fund, and the purchase was endorsed by community members through an open space tax ballot measure that city voters approved in 2019. The City of Boulder purchases conservation easements over private property to limit development, restrict uses of properties and conserve natural and scenic values across the area.

“The conservation easement honors and preserves the land’s agricultural past while looking to the future and all that this farm will continue to provide for the community – literally a place to connect to our roots. We’re very grateful to everyone that has worked to ensure this future”, said Catherine Long Gates on behalf of the Long family.

“I’ve had the great privilege to participate in connecting community residents with their food, the land and each other while working at Growing Gardens”, said Vanessa Keeley, executive director of Growing Gardens. “We get to see how impactful this land is to the community on a daily basis, and we are so heartened to know that these programs will continue to feed, empower, connect and inspire future generations. The community came together to make this happen and we are so grateful for the hard work of the Long family, The Conservation Fund, City Council members and city open space staff members over the past two years to protect this urban farm through the conservation easement.”

“This project is the result of the Long family’s steadfast commitment to see their urban farm conserved instead of developed,” said Christine Quinlan of The Conservation Fund’s Colorado office. “The city’s dedication of open space funds to keep this property available as an oasis in the very heart of Boulder ensures lasting environmental and economic benefits for the community.”

Phillip Yates | City of Boulder | 303-349-2438
Valerie Keefer | The Conservation Fund