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New Bozeman development project honors agriculture, sustainability

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Urban Farm will feature a large, productive greenhouse for growing bounty in colder Montana winters, as well as a unique space for people to gather. RENDERING BY OUTLAW REAL ESTATE PARTNERS


Editor’s note: Outlaw Real Estate Partners is an Outlaw Partners company, publisher of Explore Big Sky.

BOZEMAN – A new 100+ acre master-planned, mixed-use agrihood community project called Urban Farm is set to break ground in Bozeman and aims to set a new precedent for active, sustainable development. Located west of South Cottonwood Road on the former Norton Ranch, the site will include a mix of residential units, office, retail and commercial use spaces. 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 café and restaurant.

The project focuses on honoring the Gallatin Valley’s historic agricultural roots and incorporating aspects of sustainability with an eye for walkability and bikeability, a trail network and the plans for on-site vertical harvest farming.  

“This project will help embrace and celebrate the farming history of the Gallatin Valley,” said Eric Ladd, founder and managing partner of OREP, Outlaw Real Estate Partners. Priorities with the project are not only to honor the land, but also to provide a haven for those who value an active, healthy lifestyle, he added. “As we go through these changes our goal with Urban Farm was to find a way to integrate that fabric of farming into a community. I hope it inspires more thoughtful development as the area changes.”

The project aims to engage a healthy modern approach to urban agricultural opportunities by offering a year-round greenhouse where residents can bask among live plants, even in Montana’s coldest months. Farm Consultant Xan Jarecki is helping coordinate these efforts with OREP.

“I think that the Outlaw team is doing something really rare in development, especially in Bozeman,” said Jarecki, who operates local agriculture online retailer, RegenMarket. “This project will honor the tradition of the valley, will teach people where their food comes from, and do it in a local and family-friendly place. We’re going to set a precedent.”

Jarecki is facilitating partnerships among local Montana farmers to create a sustainable food system within the Urban Farm project and working alongside OREP to set the infrastructure for the project to succeed.

“My goal in being a piece of this project is to preserve that agricultural tradition that was in this valley and to teach people that your food doesn’t have to come off of a truck and you can be a part of that system,” said Jarecki. He adds that they’re trying to restore the old values of local, healthy, family-oriented food production.

“It is a more outside-the-box approach to development than we typically see, which will go a long way in moving the bar toward more sustainability,” said Jimmy Talarico design professional and associate at Cushing Terrell. “We are really excited about the vertical greenhouse, which will be located in the community core. Through the use of aeroponics we will be able to consistently provide CSA shares for the entire community. This will be the heart and soul of the larger community and a key sustainability initiative.”

Aeroponics use five percent of the water that traditional farming uses, requires only 10 percent of the land and provides 10 times the yield in just one harvest, he explained. The harvest cycle is roughly every 30 days.

Cushing Terrell and Ladd were both inspired by the vision of creating something different then the sea of homes currently being built at breakneck speed in the valley. Growth, they believe, can be done responsibly with both residents and the land in mind.

“This project is unique in the fact that the people who live here will be directly connected to the land through its agricultural heritage,” said Talarico. “They will literally be gaining healthy nourishment through the land they live on.”

Urban Farm will break ground in the next year with a full build in the 5-10 year range, depending on market conditions.

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