Beanstalk Foundation

What's right with Colorado is right next door.

Grow Local Colorado

Let the Food Flourish.

Grow Local Colorado puts delicious, organic, local produce in the ground near you.

Grow Local Colorado has been tilling, planting and watering to harvest since 2009. Grow Local Colorado plants edible landscaping gardens throughout Denver, re-purposing city-owned park flowerbeds, the Governor's Mansion flowerbeds, and more, to inspire citizens to grow more of their own food. By enlisting volunteers through the Denver Metro area, too, Grow Local Colorado can get the man and woman power needed to plant, maintain and harvest each of the edible gardens. But, the kicker is that ALL of the food they grow and harvest is in turn donated to local food banks and other communities in need because while food may be easy for most of us to access, most of us still isn’t all of us. Led by Director Dana Miller and Project Coordinator Barbara Masoner, Grow Local also works to educate through demonstration gardens, a commitment to cleaner energy and so much more. Grow Local Colorado stands as a solution to so many growing (pardon the pun) concerns across our country, including food prices, civic beauty, healthier options, saving fuel, and environmental betterment. And Grow Local wants to make all of that possible and easy to propagate, for everyone under the sun.

The Gardening Historian

Barbara Masoner ensures we learn from the Victories of the past

Barbara Masoner is a Denver native. She’s the program coordinator at Grow Local Colorado, but she’s also a historian, a writer, an environmentalist and a life-long cultivator of botany both edible and elegant. See, Barbara started rocking all things agricultural at only ten years-old in her local 4-H club, and she never stopped. Barbara doesn’t dabble though, and while she’s a hoot-and-a-half, she gardens with a very specific goal in mind. She wants to see Denver’s public spaces flourish with pluming herbs and climbing vegetables on the scale of our country’s World War II Victory Gardens. Barbara isn’t merely toying with the idea either. Remember how I said she’s a writer and a historian? Well, in 2009 she wrote a truly compelling article for BuckFifty.org on those Victory Gardens and the new movement to bring that local philosophy back to our, well, backyards. That’s her mission as volunteer leader at Grow Local, because as much as she loves writing, and the ins and outs of environmental studies (her background), Barbara is a gardener first and foremost. She needs her hands in the soil and the sprouts of fresh food all around her.

A local, backyard garden, can make all the difference. Imagine if every single family home had a garden. Imagine if every apartment building had a courtyard filled with vegetables. Imagine if making a salad was as simple as stepping out your back door, reaching toward the ground beneath your feet and drawing up an orange, pulpy carrot you seeded yourself. It's not at all outlandish when you think of it. Barbara Masoner aims to change the way we think about the food we eat. She wants to remind us that we're not beholden to grocers, or tied to the tasty chemical compounds that decorate our snack chips. We have a shared history of growing and harvesting food. The last time we did it en masse may have been by national decree, but it doesn't have to be the last. Let Barbara Masoner teach you the way. And even if you don't, she'll dig deep to grow Denver up strong.

 

Peas in a Pod (a shared story with Dana Miller)

Abbott and Costello. Venus and Serena. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Milk and Cookies. Simon and Garfunkel. Batman and Robin. When you think of famous duos, these names spring to mind. But imagine a world wherein the last two pairs mentioned above are inaccurate because there exists a duo in which there is no weak link, no lesser partner. Instead, we’d have Simon and Simon (both Paul Simon’s, though, not the 1980’s action television show), or Batman and Batman. Imagine that. Two Paul Simons. Two Batmans. Or is it Batmen? There would have been decades of songs as good as “A Hazy Shade of Winter” without a feuding Garfunkel. There could have been twice as much brooding, growling, Batmobile justice (and none of the whining) with a pair of Caped Crusaders. Well, fear not, because this world exists. Dana Miller and Barbara Masoner are a new kind of dynamic duo, but you won’t catch them caught up in a looping string of puns (though they do have exceptional comedic timing). No no, Dana and Barbara are Denver’s Terrific Twosome of urban gardening.

Together, Dana and Barbara lead the charge to use urban lands in Denver for more than just looking at. They hope to one day turn every empty dirt lot and each city park flowerbed into a place where food grows and flourishes, ready to go harvest-to-table for farmer’s market shoppers, foodies and Denver’s populations with the greatest need. It is their shared philosophy and their shared passion. They have an incredible love for their home city. You can see a twinkle in their eyes, and you can feel the warmth emanating from their hearts as they talk about Denver. And you can tell right away that neither of them is a Garfunkel, or an Oates, or a Robin because they have talent to spare.

Redefining Retirement

Dana Miller changes where fresh foods flourish

Dana Miller was born-and-raised in Denver. She’s an original, tried-and-true native. The travel bug bit her early in life. Dana dreamt of visiting exotic locales, overlooking brilliant vistas and living the jet-set lifestyle. In typical Dana Miller fashion, she did it. She became a United Airlines flight attendant and traveled the globe, dropping in on giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands and peering out over the waving, sun-baked, endless savannas of Africa. Dana did that for 27 years, her travel bug gorging on the beauty of the world, until the opportunity to retire arose and she chose, finally ready, to settle back into one place. And of all the places in the world, she chose to return to Denver.

The thing is, Dana Miller isn’t the settle-in-and-watch-her-stories type of retiree. Even while she was with United she put her winning smile and positive energy to work with various volunteer organizations, including the Pegasus Project. So when she settled back in Denver, and she began studying environmental issues, there was no stopping Dana Miller. She helped found Transition Denver, a new edition of the world-wide Transition Movement. And she became the Director of Grow Local Colorado. With those two moves, this bright, electric woman started tackling the future of energy and the future of food. She redefines “retirement.”

Miller currently also acts as a founder and driving force in an amazing new project of collaboration called Produce for Pantries. This new organization unites the growers and food pantries in Denver and across Colorado to ensure that no fresh food is wasted, and that the people's need for healthful local food is always met. Her goal here, as always, is to create sustainable food solutions for an expanding, population-exploding world. Dana knows we have the power to lessen our impact on the world. She also knows that it's a lot easier than most of us think. Most importantly, though, Dana Miller knows how to infuse saving the planet, changing the way we think about food, and creating a sustainable society with a whole mess of fun.

Awards and Honors

  • Nov. 22, 2008 Denver’s 150 Unsung Heroes, in celebration of Denvers 150th anniversary
     

Peas in a Pod (a shared story with Barbara Masoner)

Abbott and Costello. Venus and Serena. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Milk and Cookies. Simon and Garfunkel. Batman and Robin. When you think of famous duos, these names spring to mind. But imagine a world wherein the last two pairs mentioned above are inaccurate because there exists a duo in which there is no weak link, no lesser partner. Instead, we’d have Simon and Simon (both Paul Simon’s, though, not the 1980’s action television show), or Batman and Batman. Imagine that. Two Paul Simons. Two Batmans. Or is it Batmen? There would have been decades of songs as good as “A Hazy Shade of Winter” without a feuding Garfunkel. There could have been twice as much brooding, growling, Batmobile justice (and none of the whining) with a pair of Caped Crusaders. Well, fear not, because this world exists. Dana Miller and Barbara Masoner are a new kind of dynamic duo, but you won’t catch them caught up in a looping string of puns (though they do have exceptional comedic timing). No no, Dana and Barbara are Denver’s Terrific Twosome of urban gardening.

Together, Dana and Barbara lead the charge to use urban lands in Denver for more than just looking at. They hope to one day turn every empty dirt lot and each city park flowerbed into a place where food grows and flourishes, ready to go harvest-to-table for farmer’s market shoppers, foodies and Denver’s populations with the greatest need. It is their shared philosophy and their shared passion. They have an incredible love for their home city. You can see a twinkle in their eyes, and you can feel the warmth emanating from their hearts as they talk about Denver. And you can tell right away that neither of them is a Garfunkel, or an Oates, or a Robin because they have talent to spare.