This post first appeared in the February edition of GreenLeaf’s monthly eNewsletter. Click here to subscribe and be the first to hear about what’s happening at GreenLeaf all year long!
Our youth crew has been hard at work the last couple months planning our 2015 farm. After carefully analyzing last year’s crop yields and popularity, the crew decided to scale back on certain crops (like hot chile peppers and collard greens), grow more of a few types of veggies (like butterhead lettuce and herbs), and improve our planting and record-keeping practices. Now that we’ve got 5 full growing seasons under our belts, we know what we have to do to make 2015 our best year ever!
To get ready for this year’s seed order, we first looked at how much of each crop we’d like to grow, then carefully sorted through all the seeds we already had on the farm to determine what we’ll need to buy or get donated. We even created a brand new seed binder to keep everything nice and tidy! Thanks to Denver Urban Gardens’ Free Seeds & Transplants Program, we already have lots of seeds and starts coming our way this spring — at no cost to GreenLeaf! Thanks, DUG!
Taking a break from farm planning to play Ninja!
Once we finish up our seed order, we’ll be ready to put the final touches on our farm map and gather supplies for seed starting in our new PVC-frame greenhouse that we picked up this winter. The farm may still be sleeping in these cold winter months, but we’re buzzing with excitement and dreaming of beautiful green seedlings!
Stay tuned to our eNewsletter, website, and Facebook page for more updates on what the GreenLeaf youth crew is up to this spring!
We wanted to take a second to thank you, “from the bottom of the plant,” for supporting GreenLeaf! Whether you gave a donation this year or last, spent time with us on the farm, or visited our farm stand — we are grateful for your support!
In 2014, our youth crew harvested and distributed over 2,600 pounds of fresh, affordable produce. We recruited 9 total CSA members this year, which is the most we have EVER had. We also donated our healthy fruits and veggies to hunger relief agencies like the Denver Rescue Mission and Agape Christian Church, and began selling basil to our neighborhood pizzeria, Cart Driver. All in all, 2014 was incredible — and YOUR support made it possible!
We want to keep building on this success and make 2015 our best year EVER. We hope you’ll consider including GreenLeaf in your year-end giving, and ask that you tell a friend or coworker about our work as well. Even a $10 donation can help us purchase seed packets for 2 beds on our farm, a pair of sturdy garden gloves for a youth crew member, or a set of new harvest buckets. Will you donate today?
On behalf of the GreenLeaf agri/cultural youth intern crew, mentern team, community advisory board, and volunteers, I want to thank you for your generous support of our 2014 Harvest Campaign!
Although we didn’t quite reach our original goal, you still helped us make the campaign a huge success — we raised an incredible, astounding, beautiful, inspiring $14,903.75! These funds will be put to work right away in support of GreenLeaf’s goals in 2015 — growing more food, growing our youth, and growing our community.
Thank you again for all the many ways you support GreenLeaf’s mission to cultivate powerful youth and food justice through urban agriculture. I can’t wait to see where we grow next!
We couldn’t resist saying THANK YOU again! So, check out the short and sweet video our youth crew made at our meeting earlier this week, with a special message featuring the last of our 2014 harvest!
My name is Terri Shelton and I am super excited to become a part of the GreenLeaf community! I am a second year student at DU pursuing my Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Health and Wellness along with a certificate to practice social work with Latin0/as.
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, home of the blues, soul, and BBQ. I received my Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Memphis in 2007. Shortly after I graduated college, I discovered backyard-container gardening and yoga and felt the healing effects of these almost immediately. I began advocating for others to connect with their food and practice yoga as a means of therapy.
I have a passion for health justice which leads to sustainable health and wellness of individuals and communities. I am particularly interested in the positive effects one feels when he/she eats well, exercises, smiles and laughs (even if it is forced!), and spends time doing things that make him/her happy. All of these precipitate a healthy mind. These positive effects will not only benefit the individual, but the community as a whole. Exploring the issue of food in/justice is one of my goals while interning at GreenLeaf. Offering flexible pricing at the farm stand makes it possible so that everyone can afford fresh, healthy food.
I am excited to learn and work alongside the GreenLeaf menterns, youth interns, and crew volunteers. Their vast knowledge will no doubt be an invaluable tool that will stay with me forever
“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.
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:
SEND A CHECK to GreenLeaf, 1368 26th Street, Denver, CO 80205
JOIN US for our Five Year Anniversary/Harvest party Saturday Sept. 27th (Click Here to RSVP)
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. Thank you to everyone who made it to the celebration!!
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!
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
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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.