Wolverine Farm wraps up fundraising with Poems on the Pond

Elena Waldman

Silhouette sits in swing with sunset behind
Wolverine Farm Publishing, a non-profit literary and arts organization based in Fort Collins, hosted “Poems on the Pond” to conclude their month long fundraising campaign on a private pond within City limits. Community members who share the Wolverine vision of building a community of wild, literate and passionate spirits gathered on Aug. 30. (Alyssa Uhl | The Collegian)

Fort Collins is home to a wealth of small businesses and organizations that support the arts, making it a place with a thriving scene for artisans, writers and all creatives alike to thrive. One of these places is the nonprofit Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House, located in the Downtown River District

On Aug. 28, Wolverine Farm hosted a fundraiser, Poems on the Pond: A Wolverine Farm Gala, to help raise money for the organization. Recently, the nonprofit has been struggling to make enough money to maintain the space in which it operates, so a fundraising campaign was established to help it get back on its feet. Held on Wood Street, Poems on the Pond featured live poetry from Dan Beachy-Quick, Ally Eden and George Wallace, live music from singer Courtney Hartman and a silent auction. 


“For Publick House, the whole intent for the last four years was to get it to a point where we can afford to pay off this private lender who generously supported us,” said Todd Simmons, the founder of Wolverine Farm. “We got to a point where we realized we were only gonna be able to pay off some of that, so we developed this campaign to bridge that gap. … We had some real fear of losing the building and the blood, sweat and tears we put into it.” 

Simmons said the difficulties Wolverine Farm faced were met with overwhelming support from the community, which helped them meet their goal of staying in the building. 

(We) basically try to be a place in town where you come to feel empowered to express yourself and meet a like-minded community who believe in a better way forward.”-Todd Simmons, founder of Wolverine Farm.

“I think what it taught me is that being honest, upfront and transparent with people and being okay with asking for help in times of need is really empowering, and it allowed us to finish the campaign in the last couple weeks with positive results,” Simmons said. “When you can leverage a community to accomplish something, it’s pretty amazing because we didn’t know we were gonna have to turn the dial up to high, (and) when we did, people responded, and it really did save Wolverine Farm.” 

For nearly four years, Wolverine Farm has been bolstering local arts and culture through publishing local writers, hosting poetry readings and open mics, offering space for events and selling used books for cheap, all which emphasize the importance of creating and sharing literature and art. 

“The mission of Wolverine Farm is mindful engagement with the world through literature and art and culture,” Simmons said. “(We) basically try to be a place in town where you come to feel empowered to express yourself and meet a like-minded community who believe in a better way forward.” 

The artists performing at Poems on the Pond are not strangers to Wolverine Farm. Eden, who was an artist in residence and has been performing in the space since her first-ever poetry reading in 2017, presented a piece about respecting the environment and our bodies and reducing harm to ourselves and each other. 

“So long as capitalism prevails, I will spend my money in accordance with my values,” Eden said during her live reading. “I will buy from friends, from local and small businesses, producers, healers, artists. I will invest in the causes and places that I care about. I will humanize consumerism.” 

The anti-capitalist message calls for the audience to be mindful of where they spend their money. This resembles the reason organizations like Wolverine Farm struggle to compete with larger businesses. 

“Our money is power, and with that power, we plan to shape the world around us, and the market operates on supply and demand,” Eden said. “If you demand intentionality and if you demand environmentally sound practices and if you demand local production, the more that we are intentional with money as power, the more we are able to transform our future within this capitalistic society.”

When you can leverage a community to accomplish something, it’s pretty amazing. … When we did, people responded and it really did save Wolverine Farm.” -Todd Simmons, founder of Wolverine Farm.

The turnout of Poems on the Pond may seem surprisingly exceptional, but given the deep impact the organization has made on the community, it isn’t difficult to see why so many people came in support. From the performers to those who just came to watch and listen, many of the attendees had personal ties to Wolverine Farm. 


 “Todd published my work before anyone published my work,” audience member and Wolverine Farm regular Kathleen Willard said. 

Willard and close friend Marj Hahne also hold bi-weekly poetry club meetings in the Wolverine Farm space, which they said is a safe place to exchange ideas without fear of judgment or exclusion. 

“We love that space,” Hahne said. “I went to the grand opening before I moved to Fort Collins. … Fort Collins to me is a place where I feel I belong economically, intellectually, culturally. … There’s not an exclusivity.” 

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @WaldmanElena.