Drylands Agroecology Research

A nonprofit organization

$5,957 raised by 13 donors

9% complete

$70,000 Goal

🌾🌱 Help Us Continue Our Work for a Fertile & Symbiotic Future: Support Drylands Agroecology Research Collective! 🌱🌾

We are farmers, activists, and scientists.
We are educators, designers, and researchers.

Together, we are DAR: a collective born to holistically regenerate our land and the life that it nurtures. Through research, design, and implementation, we are starting a movement to replenish communities and agricultural systems while restoring our planet to a thriving state.

DAR operates through 4 branches

 Through drylands agroforestry, DAR transforms landscapes deeply degraded by human use into thriving agro-ecosystems. Passive water-harvesting earthworks and soil building make it possible to establish fruit trees and shrubs without irrigation on the high plains of Colorado. To date, DAR has planted 12,000 trees and shrubs in Boulder County; at its pilot farm, DAR is tracking a 79% survival rate across 4 years without irrigation. Between rows of trees, DAR practices regenerative grazing--mimicking the movements of wild ruminants like bison with domestic animals like sheep and cattle to maximize grassland health and biodiversity. 


In this way, DAR is creating new types of ecosystems that function like healthy natural ecosystems--sequestering carbon, reversing desertification, and enhancing biodiversity--while continuing to meet human needs for diverse and nutritious food. What's more, with thoughtful design and implementation, if we stepped away from these systems and did nothing, they would continue to regenerate without human input.

Through partnerships with land owners in Boulder County, DAR is scaling its land stewardship and research to 1000 acres by 2030. Simultaneously, DAR is launching an Agroecology Incubator Program to support aspiring land stewards, farmers, and land owners in spreading the adoption of these methods in and beyond our bioregion. To date, we have built partnerships with 5 private landowners, including Yellow Barn Farm, to grow our collective of farmers, activists, scientists, educators, and designers.

We believe in holism--the essential interconnection of not only our ecological and agricultural systems, but our cultural, social, and economic ones. We work at the intersection of all of these, using land regeneration as the basis to support a new Way of Being on earth. We offer nature-based childhood education through Folk Farm School, support various food sovereignty initiatives, and host 1500 visitors annually for tours, workshops, classes, and volunteer days.

Why Support Us?

Our vision extends far beyond the boundaries of our farm. We believe that by nurturing the land, we nurture communities. By innovating in agroecology, we pave the way for a more sustainable future. By sharing our knowledge and resources, we empower individuals and regions to thrive in harmony with nature.

The funds we raise will serve two critical purposes:

  • Operational Costs: Your contributions will keep our collective thriving. From water-efficient irrigation systems to sustainable farming practices, we invest in the people and infrastructure that sustains our mission.
  • Impactful Programs: We don't just grow crops; we grow change-makers. Your support will enable us to continue our educational programs that empower farmers, students, and communities with the tools they need to embrace sustainable agriculture.


We were introduced to the work that DAR is doing when we toured Elk Run Farm last summer. The timing was perfect, as we were contemplating selling our non-irrigated property for a nearby place that had ditch shares. After seeing the amazing transformation of their farm, we opted to stay put and engage them to help us transform our property. The world is at a turning point with climate change, and if we can inspire others to do what we’re doing on even a small scale, we can make a difference! - Deb Britton 

I like to think of the dollars I give as signals to the universe of what I want more of in this world. Being part of The Roots Network is one of the ways I communicate what kind of world I want to create and leave behind. - Lucy

Make a Difference Today

Your contribution, no matter the size, will make an immediate and lasting impact.

Support DAR & become a part of something truly extraordinary. 


Our purpose is to regenerate landscapes to improve life on Earth.

Our Vision is a livable future

Background Statement

In 2015, a farmer named Nick DiDomenico embarked on a journey to revive 14 acres of severely degraded land near Lyons, Colorado. Nestled against the base of the foothills, the desertified plot posed a significant challenge; It had limited access to water, hardly enough to irrigate 1 of 14 acres. Nick sought guidance regarding how to restore the land from conservation and regenerative agriculture experts, only to be told it couldn't be done without traditional irrigation. Instead of shying away from what seemed like an impossible undertaking, he along with his partner, Marissa Pulaski, transformed this barren expanse into Elk Run Farm, a living experiment in regenerating arid land in a semi-arid climate without irrigation and DAR’s pilot project.

Today, thanks to Nick and Marissa’s unwavering dedication, Elk Run Farm is a thriving oasis in the high desert. Using innovative techniques like passive water harvesting contour swales, designed to catch and absorb run-off, allowing the water to deeply infiltrate into the earth, 1000 trees and shrubs have been planted. Four years in, 79% of those trees and shrubs have survived, all without irrigation. Through the use of intensive rotational grazing of livestock, what once was a gravel parking lot has been transformed into a forest garden buzzing with life and biodiversity and boasting five inches of rich topsoil that now sustains regional crops like blue corn, dry beans, amaranth, and grain sorghum. In a matter of a few years, a desertified plot is now supporting an average of 10 interns and residents year-round, with 90% of their diet coming from the integrated forest garden, staple grain, and silvopasture systems on-site.

When Nick and Marissa founded Drylands Agroecology Research (DAR) in 2017, their goal was not simply to regenerate land – it was to find a new way of living in relationship to the earth. The culture shift this represents is a hard thing to quantify, change, or even describe. Yet, the vortex of energy and hope that has formed around the nucleus of Elk Run Farm leaves no doubt that it is happening. Every member of our team – five directors, four program managers, eight apprentices and interns, and a dozen contracted supporters – believes wholeheartedly in this mission. Through the magnetism of the project and their belief in it, we attract over 1500 visitors annually to tree plantings, farm volunteer days, workshops, classes, tours, and events. The experience we have developed over the past seven years places us in a prime and singular position to leverage this energy and hope for change into real tangible action – not only through directing it ourselves but through empowering the next generation of land stewards and innovators.

Organization Data


Organization name

Drylands Agroecology Research

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Public & Societal Benefit

Organization Size

Medium Organization



Service areas

Boulder, CO, US



Social Media