Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From Asphalt to Asparagus

The transformation from barren to vibrant is well under way. Funded by a generous grant from The City of Denver, in collaboration with the community, and with the help of about twenty White Wave volunteers, Feed Denver has installed a parking lot farm in the Globeville/Swansea/Elyria neighborhood. We somehow wrangled up the trucks and stamina to haul about 35 yards of compost and mulch which covered the hot cement and cheat grass to provide a large space to grow food for the neighborhood. Already there are seeds in the ground and green things popping up. We can only imagine the complete metamorphosis to come, when event the brick will have tomatoes grown vertically!
A market is soon to follow, providing fresh produce to the community. As of now these three neighborhoods have no grocery stores or fresh food access within a reasonable distance. We hope to change that by growing food both horizontally and vertically up the brick wall of the adjacent warehouse. As part of the program, Feed Denver will also train a group of youth stewards from the community to help run the farm and market, as well as participate in an oral agricultural history of the neighborhood. Globeville in particular has a long history of multi-ethnic diversity and many of the immigrants to the original steel mill town, Polish, Irish, Italian, and Mexican, brought with them knowledge of particular foods and the best ways to grow them. We hope to preserve that priceless knowledge, and put food where there was an abandoned space!
There are many other changes afoot in that neighborhood. The parking lot farm is on the corner of 42nd Steele, next to the old Safeway ice cream plant. Some years ago David Karas, a local business man, bought up the building and has been converting it to a food production facility for Wild Thyme food products and other local food producers who benefit from the industrial rated kitchen and expansive warehouse space. He has graciously allowed us to place this community farm on his lot. Feed Denver hopes that eventually the farm, literally right outside the loading docks, will grow enough food to supplement the needs of the local businesses inside, and provide a sustainable model of agriculture that benefits the community and entrepreneurs alike.
We are still planting! Any vegetable starts and seeds you have to donate are appreciated! You can contact the Feed Denver office to arrange pick-up or delivery.

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