foodinitiatives

Food Programs

Denver Botanic Gardens is committed to increasing access to fresh, healthy food through a number of community-based projects.

Community Supporting Agriculture (CSA) and Veterans Farm Program
The CSA program at Chatfield Farms, launched in 2010, was the first offered by a botanic garden. The CSA provides 270 subscriber families with fresh, local produce for 23 weeks out of the year. Several tons of vegetables have been donated since the CSA's inception. This CSA is also the growing site for the Denver Human Services and City of Denver farm stands and the site of the Chatfield Farms Veterans Program.

Community Garden at Congress Park
More than 150 neighborhood gardeners grow produce for their families and community members at the Community Garden. Additional produce is donated to food banks and other distribution programs every year.

Educational programs
Our Education Department visits schools across Colorado with the Cultivation Cruiser, a classroom on wheels. The Grow Local Colorado program helps design vegetable community gardens across the metro area. Onsite programs use the Gardens at York Street and Chatfield Farms as living classrooms for kids and families. Chatfield Farms Veterans Program invites veterans to learn farming skills at the CSA.

Food gardens
The Sensory Garden at York Street stimulates all five senses – including taste. Le Potager Garden features vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. The Chipotle Home Harvest Garden in Mordecai Children’s Garden hosts kids' food-based classes.

Denver Human Services (DHS) and City of Denver Partnership Farm Stands: 
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are scaling back our farm stands for the 2020 season to ensure the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and customers. Limited in-person farm stands continue with long-time partner Denver Housing Authority at both the Mariposa and Sun Valley communities. But we are supplying produce to organizations such as Denver Human Services and SAME Café that have established alternative distribution models – such as the Food Bank of the Rockies drive-through distributions and the SAME Café food truck mobile food service. We will be busy growing the same great produce and getting it to the people of Denver in need.   

SAME Café: 
Our partnership with SAME Café has been long running and vital to fresh food access for Denver. But now, more than ever, our partnership has taken on new meaning during the COVID-19 outbreak. SAME Café has quadrupled its number of meals served daily and weekly to those in need (from 70 to 275 a day!). Denver Botanic Gardens will grow a variety of fresh produce for SAME Café for the entire season with regular weekly delivery. Our produce will serve their brick and mortar location as well as fuel the recipes that go into the SAME Café food truck every day.

Denver Housing Authority (DHA)
With management from Gardens’ agricultural experts, Mariposa residents have volunteered with the maintenance and harvesting of the Mariposa Urban Farm, located in their development. Residents volunteering with the program receive a share of the produce every week. Produce from the farm is distributed within the community on a weekly basis at no cost.

UFI Season Report - This report offers an overview of the Gardens’ Urban Food Initiatives (UFI) and highlights some recent accomplishments.

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