Growing Gardens is a Boulder-based nonprofit that focuses on connecting people with their food through urban agriculture. The organization has programs for children and adults that center around growing food, nutrition, and food access. Of the 27,000 people they work with, 63 percent are low income.
The group operates 11 community gardens throughout Boulder and Longmont, and their main 11 acre farm, located on North Broadway, is the last remaining plot of working agricultural land located within Boulder City limits.
“Having agriculture in urban places is really important because it helps address this issue of food security. If we’re growing food in our backyards, it’s going to be easier to access and distribute to our community,” explains Program Manager Dakota-Rae Westveer.
One goal of the organization is to change people’s perspective on the divide between farms and cities.
“For most folks, farming is something that happens out of sight far off in the distance. Having our farms right in the center of where everything is happening help people reconnect to what farming is,” says Westveer.
The organization also challenges the idea of who a farmer can be by encouraging everyone to grow their own food. Westveer explains,
“You do have a specific image that comes into your mind when you think about the word farmer—overalls and a hat and pitchfork. Ideally, our hope is to empower and enable anybody in the community to be their own farmer. You don’t have to be a farmer or something else. You can be a teacher and grow your own food; you can be a graphic designer and grow your own food. The goal of our programs and the resources we provide is to make growing food accessible and less intimidating.”
She hopes urban agriculture will continue to expand in the future as a long-term solution to reduce food insecurity, saying
“Our programs and efforts are adding up to meals in the community, but ideally the really big takeaway is the skills and the comfort in growing your own food and cooking your own healthy meals, so that people are empowered and can serve themselves.”
To learn more about Growing Gardens, visit their website growinggardens.org.