Did you know that GreenLeaf is celebrating our 5-year anniversary?! Did you know that in the past five years GreenLeaf has:
Provided leadership and food justice training for over 50 youth ages 14-18, over 25% of whom have participated for over a year
Harvested nearly 10,000 pounds of healthy, local produce
Donated over 15% of the harvest to hunger-relief organizations
Sold nearly 50% of the harvest at affordable prices to our neighbors in NE Denver’s food deserts
Benefitted from over 11,000 hours of volunteer support
Raised 10% of our annual budget from the generous donations of people like you!
WOW! So what’s next? Here’s what we want to do over the NEXT five years:
Grow more food!Explore season-extension and intensive growing techniques to expand our harvest
Grow our youth!Expand the GreenLeaf youth leadership pipeline to include leadership training opportunities beyond high school
Grow our community!Build partnerships with local businesses, and provide workshops for the community, and involve our neighbors in our plans for the future
So what can YOU do to celebrate and support GreenLeaf’s powerful work? First, help us raise $20,000 by October 15! A generous donor has gifted us with $10,000 to kick off the campaign, so we are already half way there! Here’s what our donor has to say:
“I am involved with GreenLeaf because I see that the work they are doing inspires young people to feel that they are valued members of our culture. Learning about urban farming and food justice gives people a sense that they are part of the greater community in which we live.”
Here are three simple ways to contribute to the campaign:
Regardless of the level of your gift, you and yours are invited to join us for our Five Year Anniversary Party on Saturday, September 27! We’ll be kicking it GreenLeaf style from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Sustainability Park Farm (25th and Lawrence) with youth-led games and farm tours, and of course delicious local food and libations including cider from Stem Ciders.
Can we count on you to help us reach our goal by making a donation online, through the mail, or at our celebration? We wouldn’t be GreenLeaf without your support!
“Then & Now” is a new feature on the GreenLeaf Blog, where we invite GreenLeafers past and present to reflect on their time on the crew and share how it has changed them over the years.
Our first post is from Dwone, one of GreenLeaf’s “Menterns” (mentor/interns). Dwone joined the crew in 2010 and was hired for his position as a Mentern after graduating from high school in 2013.
Before I was a part of GreenLeaf I never gave food a second thought. Honestly I just thought that all food had to have come from farms that were well taken care of, and that all the animals that became our food were as well. With things like advertising, what else are you supposed to believe, especially if that is all you know? I used to be a pretty chubby kid that kept to himself quite a lot and generally avoided any kind of conversation with people, so needless to say I didn’t really have too many friends. But that eventually that led me to have many good friends that I am still fond of to this day. This is relevant due to the fact they were the reason why I even came across GreenLeaf. They joined GreenLeaf a year before I did and told me that I should really try it out and see if I liked it. I really liked trying things that I have never tried before and decided that I was going to see if I liked it.
Now it has been about four years since I gave GreenLeaf a try, and I have enjoyed it ever since. I have made friends with quite a lot of the people who work there with me, and I have learned a lot as well. After watching a movie called “Food Inc.” I realised where food actually comes from if not just directly grown on a farm — and let me tell you, it is definitely an eye opener. It has stuck with me, and now I’m a little cautious about the things that I put into my body. Eating better also gave me motivation to start working out, and I became skinnier and more fit than I have ever been in my life. As for me having talking to people, I overcame that with ease when I was was stuck with the same group of kids for long periods of time. Eventually I was bound to talk to someone. On top of that my great friend Tomas (a former GreenLeaf member) wanted me to help him with presentations and felt the most secure with me at his side. Since I didn’t want to let a friend down I went through with the presentations, despite the fear that we were both feeling at the time. Over time both of us got really good at it, and presenting was hardly an issue, let alone talking to people in general. Now I can actually hold a conversation and not just give short answers like I used to.
I have learned so much from this small organization that at first I thought was going to be all about farming. Shows how much I knew back then. Thanks to GreenLeaf I have learned many skills that I’m not sure that I would have learned otherwise. I feel like it has definitely changed me for the better.
I am Robin, a new MenTern (Mentor/Intern) with GreenLeaf.
Here is a little info about myself:
I came to GreenLeaf as a recommendation from my school, Metropolitan State University, as an internship opportunity as I work towards my MSW degree. The more I read about GreenLeaf, the more I realized that this is a great opportunity for me, and how great this leadership development program really is for the community.
I worked through my undergrad degree at Metro as a Massage Therapist working in a local Day Spa. I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2006, but realized that even though I like massage, it is not what my heart loves.
I see myself always working with youth, more specifically teens. I eventually want to work with youth coming out of the youth corrections system by doing restorative justice and re-integrative services as they transition back into mainstream society.
Through the next year I will be working with the youth to find new ways to reach out to the community, plan for next year’s planting season, and help with farm work.
I have 2 cats (Bonnie & Clyde), and 1 Puppy (Knoble) at home. I like breakfast cereal to be dry instead of with milk (Crunch Berries are my favorite), I love reading, and even though I live in Colorado I don’t ski or snowboard.
I look forward to meeting more members of the GreenLeaf family in the coming months.
It has been a busy, busy spring and summer at GreenLeaf — from transitioning to new leadership, to hiring new youth crew members, to planning and planting our farm at the Sustainability Park — and we are excited to let you know that all this hard work is culminating in the kickoff of our 2014 Farm Stand!
Cabbage fresh from the field.
Beginning Saturday, July 26th, we will be selling our fresh-picked, organic, affordable veggies and fruit at the S-Park (25th and Lawrence, Denver 80205) from 10:00am to 12:00pm. The Farm Stand will be open every Saturday through October 4th or until the first hard frost, whichever is earlier. Come visit the farm and get some fresh veg, all while supporting the development of powerful youth leaders fighting for food justice!
To learn more, contact Cody or stop by the farm any Saturday morning.
We are SO excited to announce GreenLeaf’s new Director!
After a great hiring process with many talented candidates, the GreenLeaf youth, staff, and board have unanimously invited Cody Meinhardt to become GreenLeaf’s new Director:
Cody, GreenLeaf’s new director!
Cody Meinhardt carries a strong commitment to social justice and a deep belief in the healing power of community. He grew up in a small town outside Kansas City, where he had his first agricultural experiences digging in the backyard garden with his mother and father and visiting the cattle on his grandparents’ farm. After studying French and Public Policy at DePaul University in Chicago and spending a year abroad in Paris, Cody moved to Denver to join the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers. Through this program Cody began working at EarthLinks, where he has spent the last three years building community and honing his management skills in service to adults experiencing homelessness and economic poverty. Cody’s professional experiences and personal hobbies have equipped him with a diverse skill set, including natural beekeeping, organic gardening, community engagement, crafting, marketing and design, administrative know-how, and much more. Cody is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Colorado Denver, hoping to focus the remainder of his studies on the growth and development of GreenLeaf. In his spare time Cody enjoys reading and writing, listening to a wide range of music, and learning to be a better (and healthier) cook. He is thrilled, humbled, and honored to be the next Executive Director of GreenLeaf.
Leah and Cody will be working side by side through January to make sure that Cody gets trained and supported on all the ins and outs of GreenLeaf.
You can welcome Cody yourself at Cody@GreenLeafDenver.org!
Click here: GreenLeaf Annual Report 2012 FINAL to download GreenLeaf’s most recent Annual Report. We’re so proud of our work, we wanted to share some organizational highlights with you! Let us know what you think – and get in touch to get involved! Leah@GreenLeafDenver.org
You can also click through the pages using these icons:
Thank you all so much for your support and help with our Indigogo Campaign and Dance Your Plants Off! ! !
GreenLeaf raised more than $11,000 to support urban youth farmers in their endeavor to grow 3,000 lbs of food for their communities next year!
And, in case you were wondering, there are 7 languages in that video: English, ASL, Spanish, Italian, Lakota, Russian, and French!
1) Our Dance Your Plants Off event has been rescheduled for:
Saturday, April 27
7:30 pm to Midnight
Green Spaces: 1368 26th Street
There will be live music, a silent auction, local beer and tasty treats! The GreenLeaf youth will be DJ-ing the Dance Party portion of the evening, from 9:30 to Midnight. Suggested donation is $15 at the door or online, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Since returning from winter break, GreenLeaf youth have been in full swing of preparing for what the summer will bring. Decisions including what seeds need to be purchased, what the youth want to grow, how the CSA should operate and how tracking can be done more efficiently are all being discussed. The EdOps team continues teaching an elective course at a local high school, covering topics including food justice (including the food system), health and nutrition, and agricultural practices. The youth structure class-time as if they were taking part in a typical Saturday session at GreenLeaf — game-playing is obviously a must!
The entire youth crew took part in a CPR/First-Aid 2-part certification course, in which they practiced bandaging, splinting, doing CPR, as well as what head injuries and hypothermia could look like. These medical discussions are especially pertinent as we head into summertime — heat exhaustion is common and after this training, the youth expressed feeling more confident in their ability to help themselves and each other. Knowing to stay on top of hydration, wearing appropriate layers and being aware of the warning signs associated with heat stroke/heat exhaustion will aid each youth and adult in preventing both short-term and long-term medical consequences.
Greenleaf engages youth in urban agriculture, farming on available lots in neighborhoods that don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. At GreenLeaf young people ages 14 – 18 earn a fair wage while they grow food for their communities and explore issues of health, nutrition, and social justice. Our diverse crew of youth interns drives GreenLeaf's innovative and project-based curriculum of intensive leadership development and asset-based community building. The young people also grow, challenging themselves and each other in an environment that creates lasting, just, and sustainable social change.