Article: Dana Lapinel • Photography: Red Aspen Photography

Not everyone has a goat guru, but when you do, you start Mountain Flower Goat Dairy. Taber Ward, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Mountain Flower, first learned the ropes of farming at Hart’s Leap Farm in 2005.

“This is where I met Doodle. Doodle was a Nubian goat who stole my heart and changed the trajectory of my life forever,” says Taber. “Doodle spent her days lounging in alfalfa piles, getting milked and eating grain, grazing in the pasture and jumping around pens.”

For Taber, it sounded like the good life.

“My path over the next ten years would lead to apprenticeships at other farms, a job at a land trust in California, a cook in a restaurant, teaching yoga, waiting tables, law school, and finally, back to goats.”

Taber says, “Mountain Flower was born with the assistance, goodwill and support of Long’s Garden and their mission to conserve this unique 100-year old property and keep agriculture alive and well in downtown Boulder.”

Especially in today’s world of concrete jungles, having a farm minutes from downtown is how Taber and Madelynn, Mountain Flower Dairy’s intern turned employee-of-four-years, turned the dairy into a successful education tool that has a positive impact on the people who visit.

The three primary goals for their vision are community engagement and education (check), sustainable agriculture and human husbandry (again, check) and finally, land conservation (check).

“We have a goal of a healthy biodiverse and working landscape so that the public can participate in and learn about farming,” says Madelynn. “We want to pass down an ethic of agriculture, so farming doesn’t become a way of the past, or an industrial machine.”

Even with this success story of an urban farm, there are still challenges.

“Income. There is a tremendous amount of support, goodwill and love – but, honestly, it’s hard to keep this farm going year-after-year because we are small and we don’t make very much money,” says Taber. “Luckily, we have a great board of directors who are working on fundraising and finding innovative ways to supplement our program related income.”

“This is truly a labor of love. We do it for the animals.”

(original article here)

“Call it weird, call it naïve, call it je ne sais quoi. It was goats for me and me for goats.”

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