The Denver Extension CSU Master Gardeners (CMGs) in partnership with Grow Local Colorado have been growing a vegetable demonstration garden at Harvard Gulch Park on the corner of Emerson St. and Iliff Ave. in Denver for several years. Produce from this joint project is donated to the Community Ministry Food Bank and the Food Bank at the University Church of Christ.
Every year beginning in March while there is still snow on the ground, the CMGs start vegetable plants from seed at the City Park Greenhouses. They nurse the seedlings until late May when the plants are big and sturdy and ready to be planted at Harvard Gulch Park. With the help of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, the CMGs plant tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, squash, peppers, cabbage, lettuce and chard in the demonstration garden. Over the course of the next several months, CMG volunteers water, weed and harvest the bounty for donation to local food banks. As of the middle of August, the Harvard Gulch garden has produced more than 440 pounds of produce and the season is just kicking into high gear.
Our partner, Grow Local Colorado is an organization dedicated to promoting local food, local community and local economy. The Harvard Gulch Vegetable Garden is one of several Grow Local sponsored gardens in Metro Denver including a number of Denver parks and the Colorado Governor’s Mansion. These Grow Local sponsored gardens are providing thousands of pounds of fresh produce to communities that do not have easy access to healthy food. The garden partnerships are just one of several projects Grow Local is engaged in to encourage Coloradans to grow and share produce with others in their communities. Visit the Grow Local website to find out more.
If your garden is producing more vegetables than you and your family can consume, consider donating your garden surplus to area organizations that help those experiencing food insecurity. The attached link at the Denver Extension website is a guide to organizations in your community that will gladly accept your surplus bounty.
The City and County of Denver is working with members of the community to ensure food security for all Denver residents through the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council. To learn more about the Sustainable Food Policy Council and Denver’s food system from production to distribution to consumption check out the Denver Department of Environmental Health’s Food Systems Policies website. Find out how our food system works (or doesn’t) and its impact on the health of our citizens.
If your green thumb was too green this summer, join Grow Local Colorado, the Denver Extension CSU Master Gardeners and others in helping bring healthy produce to all members of our community.
Written by Mark Zammuto, a Denver County Master Gardener