North Leupp Family Farms to celebrate 30 years in business with Harvest Fest

Outside crop areas cover most of 100 acres at North Leupp Family Farms.  Rosanda Suetopka/NHO

Outside crop areas cover most of 100 acres at North Leupp Family Farms. Rosanda Suetopka/NHO

LEUPP, Ariz. - North Leupp Family Farms has supported local Navajo families through practical and traditional food production using dry farming, drip irrigation and greenhouse growing for more than 30 years.

Owner Stacey Jensen will put on an open house Aug. 29 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mountain Standard Time to celebrate the achievement. The 100-acre farm is located about 35 minutes northeast of Flagstaff just at the western-most entrance to the Navajo and Hopi reservation areas going east towards Winslow and Kykotsmovi.

The Harvest Fest event, which will be held at the Farm Arbor, will feature food demonstrations by Leupp Farm staffers and also local Navajo farmers, and include a Farmer's Market that will have freshly harvested crops that grown in the farming areas and the Leupp Farm greenhouse such as kale, corn, squash and melons - all available for purchase.

The original idea and mission of Leupp Family Farm was to help combat diabetes and other illnesses afflicting tribal members by offering more organic and healthy food choices. Over the years the farm has grown into a much larger, more productive business that now produces year round produce not just outside in the irrigated areas but also in their greenhouse as well as promoting cultural activities for children and adults.

Leupp Farms also puts on occasional workshops that show community members how to incorporate more home grown organic vegetable cooking into a healthier lifestyle and also use solar energy in their homes for cooking.

In the past few years, Leupp Family Farms has added retail to their business by developing a blue corn production.

Leupp Farms would like to become a major supplier of milled blue corn to northern Arizona businesses that feature organic and vegetarian meal food production choices.

Leupp Farms was recently awarded a USDA Value Added Producer grant to help fund a feasibility study and development of business plan for producing the milled blue cornmeal.

Northern Arizona and Flagstaff food buyers currently must buy and truck their commercial blue corn purchases from New Mexico because no one is producing or manufacturing blue corn in mass quantities needed for vegetarian or organic food products.

More than 30 Navajo families tend smaller individual farming plots at Leupp Farms. These crops are harvested and sold to local Flagstaff grocery stores and schools including Star School in Leupp, where there is a daily salad bar for the students designed to encourage a healthier lunch choice for students.

Leupp Farms became a non-profit organization in 2009 and just recently obtained 501-C3 status, which will allow more creative ways for the Leupp Farm to work with community and other non-profit organizations to promote healthier living and eating conditions.

Jensen is encouraging all community members, Native and non-Native to come and join him and his staff at the free Harvest Fest event to see what kind and how much produce they are able to grow and supply local communities. The open feast is available to all and will use much of what is grown on the Leupp farm.

More information on the event is a available from Jensen at (928) 313-4658 or nlffarms@gmail.com.

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