This month’s VISTA spotlight is Anna Thomas of Highwater Farm!

Where did you move to Colorado from?

Annapolis, MD

What is the background behind the organization you are serving with? (What is their mission and/or who do they serve.) 

Highwater Farm is working to bring locally and sustainably grown produce to the local community. They commit to farming in a way that protects our environment and yields nutrient-dense food. They will be donating 25% of what they produce to LiftUp food pantries and soup kitchens in the Roaring Fork Valley. The remainder of our produce will be available at local farmers’ markets.

Highwater Farm is developing a growing operation on one acre in 2020 and will expand onto five acres over the next five year. Starting in 2021 they will hire youth from different backgrounds to work in our summer and fall programs.

Highwater Farm is a small-scale sustainable vegetable farm and youth program located on a conservation easement at Silt River Preserve in Silt, Colorado. Structured as a non-profit organization with for-profit elements to sustain programming and operations.

Highwater Farm’s mission is: “We use sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of young people and increase access to healthy food in Garfield County.”

Did you go to college? If so, what is your degree in?
Elon University: B.A. Environmental Studies and Political Science

What made you want to become a VISTA volunteer?
I wanted to become a VISTA volunteer because I believe in the importance of service. I come from a long line of military service members and while I knew that type of service was not for me, I still wanted to serve in some capacity. I eventually want to work in development policy, and I think it is crucial to have ground level experience before trying to develop policy.

What were you doing before you became a VISTA volunteer?
Before becoming a VISTA volunteer, I was an Urban Agriculture Extension Agent in Senegal, West Africa with the United States Peace Corps. During my service in Senegal I was working side by side with local farmers in my community to extend sustainable agriculture techniques, as well as, creating gender empowerment curriculum for the local high school.

What are you looking forward to as a VISTA volunteer?
I am looking forward to seeing the progress Highwater Farm makes during my time serving with them, as well as the impact we make on the local community. It is very exciting to be joining the Highwater Farm team at this point in their development because I get to see the ground up formation of a non-profit organization. I am also looking forward to connecting with the other VISTA members in the area and supporting their organizations too.