Unique Collaboration Grows in Denver

comments (0) April 5th, 2012

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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A flower bed in Denver’s Harvard Gulch Park sits empty last spring before being repurposed into a productive vegetable garden.
By the end of the summer, the Harvard Gulch Park garden supplied more than 1,000 pounds of vegetables to area soup kitchens.
A flower bed in Denver’s Harvard Gulch Park sits empty last spring before being repurposed into a productive vegetable garden.Click To Enlarge

A flower bed in Denver’s Harvard Gulch Park sits empty last spring before being repurposed into a productive vegetable garden.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

 

A successful partnership between a group of volunteers, Denver Parks and Recreation and the Colorado State University Extension turned an ordinary flower bed into a productive vegetable garden last summer. 

The garden at Harvard Gulch Park was just one of the projects spearheaded by the group of volunteers known as Grow Local Colorado. Since 2009 Grow Local Colorado has planted 14 vegetable gardens in Denver city parks with the bulk of the produce going to area food banks and soup kitchens.

The group works with other volunteers, like Master Gardeners, to adopt a garden in their neighborhood, plant it with vegetables, maintain it through the season and then donate the harvest to help feed hungry families.

The Denver Master Gardeners worked for about eight months beginning in early spring by starting plants from seed in the city greenhouse. Plants included assorted leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, beets, onions, chard, kale and many other kinds of vegetables.

The Harvard Gulch Park garden was not a traditional community garden, but more of a demonstration garden that provided education and inspiration to neighbors who walked and biked around the park.

Over the course of the gardening season, the Master Gardeners donated more than 1,000 pounds of produce to the Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen at St. Francis Center day shelter in downtown Denver.

Grow Local Colorado is already hard at work for the 2012 season, looking for additional planting sites around the city, including land owned by churches and other faith communities.

 


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