An exciting example from Denver was described at the Pikes Peak Environmental Forum on February 24th by Quint Redmond from Agriburbia. They have recently signed a contract with Denver Public Schools to develop currently unused school grounds (about 2,000 acres) into productive farm land with a goal of eventually making DPS its own provider of fresh, local produce.
These gardens, under contract to Agriburbia, are fenced and will hire DPS students who have learned about gardening in ‘training’ gardens at local schools. These training gardens are those in which students plan, plant, care for and harvest the produce. Plans are underway in one of Denver’s poorest schools to hire fourth and fifth graders who’ve learned about gardening in their school garden to earn funds in one of the ‘production’ gardens. Plan is to offer alternative career paths to these students who might become future urban farmers. Read more about some of these exciting programs at agriburbia.com.
Following his presentation, Mr. Redmond met with officials at Fountain Valley School which is considering emulating the DPS model here in our area.
A common denominator in these examples is one passionate person who persevered to insure the project came to fruition. Research shows that those gardens are most apt to succeed when local school community members and neighborhood residents are involved and create a sense of community around the garden.