Denver Botanic Gardens’ York Street location will open with capped numbers and timed tickets on Friday, May 22. Here are details on what to expect upon your return. Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms’ re-opening is yet to be determined.

May 5, 2020 | Brien Darby, Manager of Urban Food Programs

At Denver Botanic Gardens, we love all things food. Whether working in our community supporting agriculture (CSA) fields, urban farm projects, community garden plots or Le Potager kitchen garden, our staff are committed to growing and distributing the best possible produce. In 2019, the Gardens grew just over 100,000 pounds of produce! While much of this bounty is destined for CSA shares or direct sales at farm stands, we also have a strong commitment to donating produce to partner organizations who provide vital hunger relief services in our community:

If you haven’t had the chance to eat at SAME Café, located at Colfax and Race, then you may not know that some of the best local, healthy food in town is served up on a pay-what-you-can style menu. SAME is a nonprofit restaurant with a mission of creating community by equalizing the dining experience. One facet of achieving this goal is strong partnerships with local farms for food donation. Unless a farm is operating on the tightest of margins, growing in excess of demand is a pretty common practice. Partners like SAME and Metro Caring (which offers a low-to-no cost grocery shopping experience for their clientele) can take that excess produce and transform it into a product that is even more meaningful to the recipient.

Fresh Food Connect offers a unique produce donation opportunity in the Denver-metro area that is a great fit for the home gardener. Using their app, you can sign up for home pick-up of your surplus zucchini and tomatoes (speaking from my own experience, of course) and you can rest easy knowing that it will get to a food pantry or donation site near you. If you live outside of Fresh Food Connect’s current service area and you’d like to donate directly to a food pantry or other project, reach out first to make sure that they accept fresh food donation. While you’re at it, tell them about the app and maybe the next time you’re ready to donate, they’ll be ready to provide pick-up.

Donating fresh produce to those who need it most is one of the greatest joys I take from a career in farming. If you are an avid vegetable gardener and haven’t yet made the leap to donation, I challenge you to reach out to one of our partners or connect with someone in your own community. Now more than ever, our community could use a helping hand. 

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