This season Grow Local Colorado (www.GrowLocalColorado.org) is adding two new vegetable gardens, totaling ten sites throughout the Denver area. For the past four years GLC has partnered with The Haven, a women’s rehabilitation facility run by the Colorado Department of Health. The Haven in one of many rehab facilities located in Fort Logan, in southwest Denver. Because this partnership has been so successful, two other Fort Logan treatment facilities have requested GLC’s assistance with establishing and growing vegetable gardens this year. Synergy works with adolescent boys and Mother’s Haven clients are pregnant women or women who have recently given birth. Both have seen how productive the Haven’s garden is and how proud the Haven clients are of their gardening accomplishments. Last year’s harvest tipped the scales at over 1,000 pounds of organic, fresh produce. Synergy and Mother’s Haven now want to get their hands in the soil and taste the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
There are so many benefits to gardening, but even more for people facing addiction issues. Besides being outside, getting exercise, and eating more fresh grown produce, the clients feel they are doing something productive and beneficial. The clients’ sense of self worth is boosted when they help their community by donating the excess from their gardens to local food pantries, soup kitchens and women’s shelters. Last year the Haven’s garden provided over 300 pounds of produce to such organizations. On top of all those benefits, the clients learned how to prepare fresh produce that many of them had never tried before. And they participated in preserving their produce, such as canning and dehydrating.
Denver Crop Mob (http://www.slowfooddenver.org/crop-mobs/) will help prepare the garden sites this spring. DCM’s vision is simple. We are all members of this community, and in a community, when one member needs help, other members spring into action. This is DCM’s sixth season and this will be DCM’s first project in 2016. Besides weeding and adding compost to the garden plot, they’ll also put in a rabbit proof fence, build a compost bin and plant a raspberry patch. In return crop mobbers will be treated to a home cooked meal.
To ensure the garden is healthy and productive, CSU Master Gardeners (http://cmg.colostate.edu/) will provide assistance through the season. These experienced and knowledgeable gardeners will help by identifying pests and weeds, means of organically dealing with them, and basic gardening lessons.
Grow Local Colorado has continued to grow over the past eight years. GLC’s success is due to its volunteers. They are the ones that tend the gardens, deliver the produce, present the programs and spread the word. If you’d like to be a part of this organization, contact them at GrowLocalColorado@gmail.com.