Kris Holstrom of SWIRL is a local agroecologist, educator, and brilliant community organizer. She was instrumental in connecting us to local growers and opportunities at and around Telluride!
We met up with her at the MountainFilm Ice Cream Social and Telluride Farmers Market where she was facilitating compost as the on-site waste-flow engineer, as well as overseeing her farm stand at the market. She stopped by to visit briefly amidst the snow, ice cream, veggies, and waste cycles and shared a seed story with us. Then she invited us out to her farm on “the mesa” above Telluride.
|Main Street, Telluride with waste barrels, SeedBroadcast, gluten-free ice cream, and the soon-to-come snow.|
Kris calls this Tomten Farm and it is guarded by its namesake, a gnome-like creature of legend who watches over farmers’ homes and children. It is located just west of Telluride at 9000 feet low… making it well classified as a high-altitude experiment is regenerative agriculture, permaculture, education, and creative community life.
Here is Kris's Seed Story:
During our tour of the farm, we sloshed around in a shroud of patchy fog and distant snow-capped mountains. The recent snow covered all the new garden plantings, but cane fruit, hops, alliums, asparagus, and trees were beginning to leaf out and flower.
Tomten Farm is a demonstration and education site based on regenerative agriculture principles in action. The mission is to explore and put into play dynamic feedback loops where all ecologic participants (plants, soils, animals, humans, weather, sun, etc) relate through energy flows to create a resilient web of life for people and the other than human.
This farm is fully experimental and powered by seasonal interns who contact Kris through National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Interns not only help out on the farm, they are also included in all educational programming and they can lead their own alternative architecture and permaculture experiments and projects. Housing for interns include several gers and a community kitchen.
The large climate battery greenhouse was designed in concept from Jerome Osentowski at the Colorado Rocky Mountain Permaculture Insititute. It has permanent beds laid out in large curvilinear forms making space for intercropped diversity of annual and perennial food, medicine, and beneficial botanicals. Verticality is also structured into this design as a multi-story garden with grapes and nasturtiums climbing up the beams, a fig tree and rosemary bush and under-cropped herbs and tender greens. Using 3-dimensional space to sculpt a garden, increases yields, biodiversity, and connects us to the elementals of land from below the soil surface to the clouds.
As we wrapped up our farm tour, Kris added, “You know, after my Seed Story audio recording with you earlier, I realized that one of the most important seeds on the farm are the interns. The interns are the seeds around here, and they all germinate differently.”
Thank you Kris for sharing your seed story and farm with us!