ASPEN - The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has announced the hiring of Jason Smith as its director of Rock Bottom Ranch.
Smith, who ran a farm with his wife, Sarah, in North Carolina, comes to the ranch with 13 years of work experience as a business manager, chef and farmer.
Prior to his agricultural endeavors, he worked in the restaurant industry, including The Little Nell and other establishments.
"It is such an honor to contribute to an organization with a reputation as exceptional as ACES," Smith said in a statement. "Rock Bottom Ranch is the perfect setting for producing food in a sustainable manner and showing everyone how easily it can be done at home. I am excited to return home to the Roaring Fork Valley, where our amazing community inspires me daily."
Smith's farming experience led to certifications in agricultural sustainability, organic crop production and sustainable livestock production.
Rock Bottom Ranch is a 113-acre wildlife preserve and demonstration ranch between the Roaring Fork River and Mount Sopris. It is located midway between Basalt and Carbondale on the Rio Grande Trail. ACES acquired the ranch from Charlie Cole in 1999 with an agreement to protect the property's riparian habitat, to broaden ACES' educational-outreach programs throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and to explore the complex interaction between agriculture and natural ecosystems along the Roaring Fork River.
According to a statement issued Sunday, Rock Bottom Ranch will continue and expand Naturalist Field School programs, daily farm tours and a variety of on-farm events.