Tour de Farms

September 8, 2014

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The benefits of bike riding are numerous, better health being one of them. An upcoming bike ride will not only yield the generally expected benefits for 40 riders, but the added feature of instruction on great gardening techniques.

It is the Tour de Farms, which is just what it says, a tour of farms (or rather, in-town gardens) on bicycles. Participants will go on a bike ride tour of three public and private gardens in Rifle, and each garden site will have conservation experts who will talk about soil conservation, water conservation and elements of gardening. A third benefit to the ride, besides exercise and learning, is great taste…at each garden riders will receive a fresh taste treat from the garden.

The event is Sept. 20, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., and is free, limited to the first 40 people that sign up, and for riders eight years of age and older. Registration is required by Sept. 18, and is available online at, or by calling Dana Wood, Garfield County LiveWell coordinator at 970-625-5200, ext. 8121.

The first site has backyard chickens, in addition to green, growing foods. It is a sustainable and healthy xeriscaped desert garden. It has raised beds containing squash, garlic, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, onions and more. It is on 26th Street in north Rifle, and is where riders will meet to get started on the Tour de Farms.

The second garden is unique in a lot of ways. It is in front of Mancinelli’s Pizza on Railroad Avenue. Its main purpose is that of an education garden for kids going through boost camps for the Access Roaring Fork program. This garden’s beds are constructed out of pallets, allowing water to gradually seep down through two pipes into self-wicking beds. It is designed with PVC piping with holes in it planted under layer of soil and rocks, so that water poured in the two openings above the soil will seep into the root areas. A large amount of food is growing there, including pumpkins, corn, tomatoes, kale and squash.

The third and final stop is at two porch gardens at the Rifle Branch Library. On the second story patio the library has large planters that hang off the railings with food growing in them. The other, smaller garden is in three planters on the concrete patio. It demonstrates that it doesn’t take a lot of space to grow food.

LiveWell Garfield County is partnering with the Bookcliff Conservation District for the tour. “This partnership is beneficial, because it will educate people on the benefits of eating healthy and growing their own food,” said Wood.

Bookcliff Conservation District is working on community projects and events that educate the general public on soil and water conservation. “Tour de Farms is a successful project throughout the United States, demonstrating local and community gardens, and encouraging family exercise and healthy nutrition,” said Sharie Prow, District Manager, Bookcliff Conservation District. “We are excited to be working with LiveWell Garfield County on the first annual Tour de Farms and plan to expand the event next year to three tours, including ones in Peach Valley and the Carbondale area.”