Though urban community gardens are not a new concept, there has undoubtedly been in uptick in their number over the past few years. Denver Urban Gardens alone has seen the number of gardens it manages rise from 21 in 1993 to 120 today. This makes sense—Denverites love fresh ingredients, being outside, and good company. In addition to the pure resourcefulness of urban gardening, its popularity has been spurred by a growing population (it is a great place to live), and a thus heightened demand for fresh food and gardening space.
To meet this need, a number of community initiatives were developed to create and maintain gardens around the city. Different gardening organizations serve different purposes, whether it be to provide food for residents in ‘food deserts’ (areas with restricted access to the kind of food needed to maintain a healthy diet), or to provide gardening space to those who do not have their own. Hannah Recht, a student who works with urban farm Greenleaf, believes that urban farms and community gardens are important primarily because they “raise awareness of food justice issues, and help increase access to healthy, fresh foods.” No matter their purpose, these gardens are building communities within communities; gardeners have the opportunity to meet neighbors, make friends, and accomplish goals.
To some Denver residents, these gardens just mean fresh tomatoes in their dinner salad, and to others they are a way to learn. These gardens have been teaching more than just healthy eating habits—organizations such as Denver Urban Gardens also help to educate about topics such as gardening during a drought and developing unused land. In partnership with Denver Recycles, Denver Urban Gardens also offers free composting classes for those interested in reducing their waste and making their own nutrient-rich soil.
The gardens that have bloomed throughout the city this summer have added some much needed greenery to LoDo’s concrete scenery, put fresh fruits and veggies on countless plates, and employed and educated many Denver residents. Keep your eye out for these blossoming little plots of land, and maybe even consider starting your own community garden to brighten both your neighborhood and your meals. Also, remember—while our mile high summer may be coming to an end, gardening season is not! You still have time to plant these yummy and hardy veggies:
To learn more about gardening techniques, composting classes, or starting your own garden, visit denvergov.org/compostnow or DUG.org.
Gretchen Rosenberg is a Denver real estate broker with 17 years of experience in local residential real estate. To view Denver area properties for sale on Gretchen’s web site, visit www.GretchensDenver.com.