Editor’s note: Outlaw Real Estate Partners is an Outlaw Partners company, publisher of Explore Big Sky.
BOZEMAN – A new 100+ acre mixed-use farming community project called Urban Farm is about to open in Bozeman and aims to set a new precedent for active and sustainable development. Located west of South Cottonwood Road on the former Norton Ranch, the site will include a mix of residential units, offices, retail and commercial space. A greenhouse, edible landscape and community garden project will aim to grow enough produce to provide CSA memberships for residents as well as the adjacent cafe and restaurant.
The project aims to honor the historical agricultural roots of the Gallatin Valley and incorporate aspects of sustainability with an eye on walking and cycling, a network of trails and plans for vertical harvest farming on square.
“This project will help embrace and celebrate the agricultural history of the Gallatin Valley,” said Eric Ladd, Founder and Managing Partner of OREP, Outlaw Real Estate Partners. The priorities of the project are not only to honor the earth, but also to provide refuge for those who value an active and healthy lifestyle, he added. “As we go through these changes, our goal with Urban Farm was to find a way to integrate this agricultural fabric into a community. I hope this will inspire more thoughtful development as the region changes.
The project aims to engage a modern, healthy approach to urban agricultural opportunities by providing a year-round greenhouse where residents can bask among living plants, even during Montana’s coldest months. Agricultural consultant Xan Jarecki helps coordinate these efforts with OREP.
“I think the Outlaw team is doing something really rare in development, especially in Bozeman,” said Jarecki, who operates local agricultural online retailer, RegenMarket. “This project will honor the tradition of the valley, teach people where their food comes from, and do it in a local, family-friendly place. We are going to set a precedent.
Jarecki facilitates partnerships between local Montana farmers to create a sustainable food system through the Urban Farm Project and works alongside OREP to put in place the infrastructure necessary for the project to succeed.
“My goal in being part of this project is to preserve this farming tradition that was in this valley and teach people that your food doesn’t have to come out of a truck and you can be part of this system,” Jarecki said. He adds that they are trying to restore the old values of local, healthy and family food production.
“This is a more original approach to development than what we usually see, which will go a long way in moving the bar towards more sustainability,” said Jimmy Talarico, design professional and partner at Cushing Terrell. “We are really excited about the vertical greenhouse, which will be located in the heart of the community. Through the use of aeroponics, we will be able to consistently provide CSA shares to the entire community. It will be the heart and soul of the community as a whole and a key sustainability initiative.
Aeroponics uses 5% of the water used by traditional agriculture, requires only 10% of the land and provides 10 times the yield in a single harvest, he explained. The harvest cycle is approximately every 30 days.
Cushing Terrell and Ladd were both inspired by the vision to create something different from the sea of houses currently being built at breakneck speed in the valley. According to them, growth can be done responsibly by thinking of both the residents and the land.
“This project is unique in that the people who live here will be directly connected to the land through its agricultural heritage,” Talarico said. “They will literally earn healthy food from the land they live on.”
Urban Farm will open next year with full construction in the 5-10 year range, depending on market conditions.