Operated by the Long family for over 100 years, this 25-acre oasis is the last and largest agriculturally zoned property within downtown Boulder, containing the City’s oldest community gardens and a critical link in a highly trafficked trail network. After over a decade of work with The Conservation Fund and the City of Boulder, the Long family, steadfast in their commitment, reached the goal to see their urban farm conserved instead of developed.


Long’s Gardens is a unique and historic place in Boulder—it’s the last significant working farmland in the city that’s been in continuous production for a century and was designated a Centennial Farm by History Colorado. Today, it’s home to the Long family’s iris rhizome and flower business and is the headquarters for Growing Gardens, a nonprofit organization that provides food donations and educational opportunities to over 39,000 community members annually.

It has also been a key part of Boulder’s trail system. For decades, the public has made use of the property’s paths with permission of the Long family. But today, a conservation easement agreement protects this land and ensures permanent access to the trails.

Long’s Gardens also provides a haven for wildlife amidst the densely urbanized city. The Farmers Ditch trail, which bisects the property, acts as a wildlife movement corridor for black bear, mountain lion, coyote, fox, mule deer, white-tailed deer, raccoon, tree squirrels, and cottontail rabbits. Local enthusiasts have recorded over 100 species of birds on the property. The land also supports an abundance of bees, dragonflies, butterflies, and other pollinators.


Surrounded by a busy and booming Boulder, Long’s Gardens faced immense pressure for development. Luckily, the Long family, the City of Boulder and passionate community members were determined to find a way to preserve this unique urban farmland. For over a decade, we worked with the City and the family to find the best possible conservation solution for this land. In 2021, by facilitating a conservation easement held by the City, we were able to ensure that Long’s Gardens will remain permanently protected while remaining in private ownership.

With this win-win solution, the conservation easement will sustain gardening and local food production on the property, secure the popular trail corridor, and enable educational programming on farming, regenerative agriculture and nutrition to continue serving diverse members of the community.