Friday, April 26, 2013

Venetucci will have water, and pumpkins, in 2013

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Michael Hannigan sounded an alarm earlier this month, as the Pikes Peak Community Foundation’s executive director warned everyone that the storied Venetucci Farm might not have water for its crops, livestock or pumpkins in 2013.

“We have to do whatever we can to save this farm,” Hannigan said in the Between the Lines column of the Indy’s April 10 issue.

Friday, Hannigan announced that the crisis has been averted, allowing Venetucci to continue its normal farming operations in 2013.

We have a call in to Hannigan, but here are the details from a Facebook posting as well as a release:

Venetucci Farm
We are thrilled to announce that the water needed to maintain Venetucci Farm for 2013 has been secured!

The community responded with a wonderful outpouring of donations and connections, which resulted in finding augmentation water to lease.

JV Ranches, which is owned by Sheila Venezia and her family, came to the rescue. Longtime residents of the Pikes Peak region, Sheila and her children, Dean, Kathleen, Rosemarie and other family members toured the Farm to learn what was needed. Almost immediately after the visit, they agreed to transfer some of their water to be converted to augmentation water and credited to Venetucci Farm.

Now, in 2013, the Farm will be able to grow healthy food for the community and lots of pumpkins for kids.

In addition, two other entities have since stepped up to lease additional water to the Farm. Special thanks are also in order for Al Testa and the Colorado Centre Metropolitan District, along with Perry Thompson of Osage Capital.

In March, Venetucci Farm faced a serious crisis when farm managers learned that there would be no “augmentation water” designated for the property during 2013. Under Colorado law, farms that rely on using their ground water rights to pump water for irrigating crops must purchase “augmentation water” — water that is allowed to flow back into the aquifer or down Fountain Creek.

Venetucci Farm is already looking at multiple options to secure water for 2014 and beyond. Farm manager Patrick Hamilton said: “We have identified several alternatives for a permanent source of augmentation water for the Farm. We look forward to working with the community to secure the augmentation water needed for the Farm’s future water needs, and to ensure Venetucci Farm is around for generations to come.”

Spring planting is already underway. And, most importantly, we can now gear up for the Summer 2013 “Raise The Barn” initiative to raise money for a beautiful, functional, multi-use (and much-needed) barn for the Farm. Stay tuned for more news about that important project in the near future!

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