At Pachamama, a North Boulder farm featuring a wide variety of vegetables, a bunch of happy chickens, a mandala garden with over 40 herbs, and the best view from any acupuncture table in town, the vision is clear and concise. Owners and coworkers Allie Dodge and Oliver Weber want to:
- Inspire all people to align with the natural rhythms of the earth.
- Deepen people’s ecological consciousness and self-awareness.
- Promote a reverence for the sacred act of farming and the art of healing.
- Provide a model for living balanced and sustainable lifestyles in harmony with Nature.
Partners in Every Sense of the Word
In addition to their work on the land and their commitment to wellness, Allie and Oliver are married to each other.
“When Oliver and I met, I was finishing up acupuncture school and he was working at Abbondanza Farms. We were falling in love with each other at the same time we fell in love with the idea of having a farm and a wellness center combined,” says Allie. “At the time, it was just a dream.”
A Shared Vision Around Wellness
Their mutual joined vision has resulted in a vibrant small business that pays homage to that idea every day.
When they bought the property, they wanted to provide nutritious food to the community, give back to the earth, and focus on wellness through Allie’s acupuncture skills and healing herbs. They renovated one of the original outbuildings to house her acupuncture practice and Allie encourages her clients to walk the fields or absorb the peacefulness of the farm before or after their treatments.
“Creating Sustenance Out of the Earth”
Oliver, who has a Master’s in Engineering in Ecological Agriculture (he wrote his thesis on community supported agriculture, or CSA), knows a thing or two about the land and how to nurture it. “I got into farming as a general idea around service to my community, not really thinking of the business of it.” His grandfather was a farmer and he grew up on the land, feeling a deep connection to it.
“We get to live on the farm, which is a huge bonus. We’re in nature and we not only have the magic of creating sustenance out of the earth, but also being a part of modern science to get more integrated into sustainable farming practices, the future of farming, and, ultimately, what it can do for the planet.”
Running a farm is not for the faint of heart. “It definitely holds true that it’s best to not really know what you’re getting into,” Oliver laughs.
Allie agrees as she talks about the universal forces that seemed to align when they bought the property. “We weren’t ready, we’d been married less than a year, but we didn’t even have time to think about it. It was ‘We’re doing this,’ and then, ‘Really, we’re doing this?’ ”
Providing Inspiration and Knowledge to Students
In addition to their CSA that offers veggies, flowers, and herbs, Allie and Oliver are committed to their community in myriad other ways. They supply several restaurants in the Denver/Boulder area with fresh produce, grown using organic methods. They offer educational programs to elementary school students who come to learn about organic farming, compost, and water cycles. Hardworking volunteers from September School get up close and personal with healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.
“We are creating community, connecting people to the earth and nature and the source of their food,” says Oliver. “These kids are completely fascinated by a grasshopper, a bunch of kale. When I give these tours I see how much deeper the experience could go.”
The Desire to Share More Deeply with the Community
Pachamama already hosts weddings, festivals, workshops, and farm dinners, but Allie and Oliver have a wider vision down the road that would give them “demonstration farm” status. That would involve a building dedicated to food prep that would showcase what can be done with the “product,” thereby sharing their knowledge and expertise with an even wider group. This concept includes lower-income communities.
Welcoming Nature into Healing Practices
Oliver confesses that one of his earlier visions was a farm spa. I ask him to say more. “You know, land nestled in the wilderness, meals prepared from what’s grown, maybe you work in the field, pick and wash the food, then the cucumbers on the eyelids, massage and acupuncture — a unique experience bringing people closer to nature.”
It seems that they are closing in on at least part of that dream with Allie’s five-element acupuncture practice, which is based on the principles of nature and getting to know the seasons. “It’s a perfect collaboration of understanding that helps you understand nature in your own body; it makes sense around when the carrot is available, why it takes so long, and why greens feed us in the spring,” she says. Her elegant hands move gracefully as she describes her vocation. The peacefulness, beauty, and presence of her clinic’s atmosphere cannot be overstated.
Peace, Abundance, Health
When you stand at the entrance to this farm and wellness center, bracketed by earth and sky, you understand its name: the indigenous people of the Andes give praise to Pachamama, the Quechua word for “earth goddess.”
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you can feel her here.