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By Ashley Holland

In 2015, Localworks decided to honor the individuals and organizations that contribute to the success of the Wheat Ridge community by presenting two annual Community Builder Awards. The criteria of this award includes: building on Wheat Ridge’s heritage; improving the quality of life today; and demonstrating a vision of a thriving future. One organization that encompasses all of these qualities is the winning organization of the inaugural Community Building Award – Five Fridges Farm.

Amanda Weaver owns and operates this sustainable research farm in Wheat Ridge. Weaver and Five Fridges Farm perfectly exemplify the criteria for the award. Five Fridges Farm honors the agricultural heritage of Wheat Ridge by preserving farming spirit in the community. In fact, Weaver purchased the farm in 2010 after apprenticing with the property owner and longtime Wheat Ridge resident Louise Turner, thus preserving the properties agricultural past. She improves the quality of life today by sharing her knowledge and products from the farm with the community. Finally, she focuses on sustainable practices that benefit a positive cycle of long-term food production for people, pollinators and grazers.

“The award was a wonderful recognition that urban agriculture does impact and has importance for an urban audience,” said Weaver. “Our community is larger than the people that live in Wheat Ridge. It also includes that urban wildlife, ecological systems, and environment that makes Wheat Ridge a beautiful and ‘green’ community.”

After winning the Community Builder Award, Five Fridges Farm has continued to be a strong community partner. Currently, Weaver is working closely with Localworks’ Activate 38 Program, which will increase active transportation, transit use and accessibility along 38th Avenue between Kipling and Youngfield in Wheat Ridge.

“Activate 38 is important to the farm because the farm entrance is along 38th Avenue,” said Weaver. “With as many children and families that come to the farm, I would like to have other ways for them to arrive than only by car.”

Weaver is excited that Activate 38 encourages all modes of transportation and connectivity in the community.

Of working alongside Localworks, Weaver said, “Localworks is amazing because it encourages a ‘whole’ community. They focus on all of the aspects of how we live - how we eat, play, recreate, do business, and move around. I feel so lucky to have a local organization that, like the farm, considers all aspects of community.”

Nominations are currently open for the 2017 Community Builder Award. Nominations are due by Oct. 6, and recipients will be recognized at the 2017 Localworks Annual Meeting on Nov. 9. Learn more and nominate an individual or organization at WeAreLocalworks.org.

Ashley Holland is the Marketing and Events Coordinator at Localworks.