Denver Business Journal features Flourish Farms

Denver Business Journal

By: Tawnya Sawyer

Denver Business Journal The Sawyers are among a new breed of urban farmer who go beyond the tomato pot on the apartment balcony or the back-yard chicken coup.

They are using the techniques of “aquaponics” — growing fish and produce alongside each other, recycling water and waste. And they’re among a growing number of entrepreneurs doing it in Colorado, far from any ocean.

With Colorado’s arid climate and inland location limiting traditional water-reliant fish farming practices in the state, the growing use of aquaponics has “fueled a significant expansion in the number of [fish] species … produced within Colorado” from the state’s traditional focus on farmed rainbow trout, according to the Estes Park-based Colorado Aquaculture Association, which lists about 30 members in the state, including the Sawyers.

JD Sawyer is the owner and CEO of Flourish Farms, which leases its compact 3,000-square-foot quarters from GrowHaus, a nonprofit indoor farm. And Tawnya is the farm’s manager.

JD, a 15-year veteran of the corporate world who was laid off from his post as director of operations for a Denver-area university during the Great Recession, smiles as he looks over the couple’s six-year-old enterprise, which he says is profitable, albeit “slightly.”

“I wouldn’t go back,” he says of his previous life. “This is where I want to be, what I want to be doing. If we can do this here, in this neighborhood, the most polluted ZIP code in the state, we can do this anywhere.”

Check out the article: Colorado gets in the aquaponic swim