Hunger in Colorado is on the rise. According to Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, 15.3% of our state's residents will be food insecure by the end of 2020. In Denver alone, 1 in 6 children and 1 in 10 seniors face hunger every day.
Together with their team of Linda Kiker, Michael Anderson and hundreds of dedicated volunteers, Barbara has been planting, tending and harvesting fresh produce from urban gardens across Denver for 11 years. One of the 13 gardens is in Civic Center Park, where the Grow Local folks harvested a record of over 1,000 pounds of vegetables from eight beds in the center of the historic park this year. That bounty along with the 5,000 pounds from the other gardens goes to local food banks, pantries and restaurants feeding those in need, like Metro Caring, SAME Cafe and The Gathering Place.
We often spot the Grow Local crew in the park throughout the spring, summer and early fall, taking care of and picking their kale, tomatoes, okra, peppers, squash, eggplant, carrots and basil (they grow what is requested from their partners). They're easily spotted in their branded pickup trucks, wearing gardening gloves , carrying shears and working with focus and happiness. It's an inspiring sight.
We caught up with Barbara and some hard-working volunteers during their final harvest in Civic Center Park, to talk food, hunger and the vital role Denver's only National Historic Landmark is playing in the success of her nonprofit's mission.
How did the vegetable gardens in Civic Center Park come to be?
What has the response been from people who pass through the park?
Growing in Civic Center, you're surrounded by so much of Denver's history. How has the history of food shortages in our city and state impacted the evolution of urban gardens?
This is your final harvest for 2020 - how can people still get involved?
Thank you to Barbara, Linda, Michael and all your amazing volunteers, for fighting the good fight against hunger in Colorado. You're an inspiration to us all. We'd also like to thank Denver Parks & Recreation for their commitment to the growing number of vegetable gardens in Civic Center Park. We can't wait to see what next year's harvest yields!
The Civic Center Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with the City and County of Denver to restore, enhance and activate Denver’s historic Civic Center Park - elevating and sustaining this historic urban oasis as a vibrant and iconic cultural and community hub. Learn more at www.civiccenterpark.org/civiccenterconservancy.