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Save the Date: Chinook Fund’s 30th Anniversary!

Chinook Fund is one of GreenLeaf’s long-standing supporters. Since 1987, Chinook Fund has been supporting grassroots organizations as they address globalization, war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction, and other social change issues. In this time, Chinook Fund has given out $2.85 million in grants, and GreenLeaf is proud to be a recipient of their good work.

You are invited to Chinook Fund’s 30th Anniversary Celebration! Stay tuned for more details about time and location, but for now put June 3rd, 2017 on your calendar.

To find out more about what Chinook Fund does in the community, visit www.chinookfund.org

GreenLeaf Leadership Transition

A note from the GreenLeaf Board of Directors:

It is with a mix of sadness, gratitude, and optimism that the Board of Directors announces Cody Meinhardt’s departure as Executive Director of GreenLeaf, effective February 15, 2017. Since 2013, Cody has played a critical role in the development and success of our organization, and while we will miss him and his passionate leadership, we wish him the best of luck in his new work with Denver Public Schools. We want to thank him for his 3 years of dedicated service, and all that he has given to make GreenLeaf a space where young people become change-makers and champions of community.

Over the coming weeks, we will be conducting a search to find an Interim Executive Director to guide GreenLeaf toward increased sustainability through this period of transition. During this time, it is our priority to find the best individual to lead, while still maintaining a stable and effective program for our youth participants. We will share the job announcement very soon and ask for your help in identifying candidates who can help GreenLeaf continue our important work.

Again, we wish to thank Cody for his hard work and dedication over the last 3 years. To learn more about his departure, please find his letter to the GreenLeaf community below.

Sincerely,
GreenLeaf Board of Directors

 

Cody’s Departure Announcement:

Dear friends, supporters, and members of the GreenLeaf family,

I am writing today to officially tender my resignation as Executive Director of GreenLeaf. My three years here have been inspiring, challenging, rewarding, and fun, and I know that I have grown and changed in countless ways thanks to the amazing youth and adult leaders who give so deeply of themselves to this organization. In my time here, I have personally worked with over 30 incredible youth leaders, along with hundreds of other youth and family volunteers. Each have touched my heart, and I will never forget the lessons they taught me, the support they’ve given, and the laughter we have shared.

In community with our youth, staff, and board, I have witnessed GreenLeaf grow in beautiful, resilient ways. In the face of gentrification, we dug in our heels and our shovels and built a vibrant new farm. We revamped our leadership program to better equip our youth with tools for long-term success. We launched a new project for youth to build gardens and teach residents how to grow food. We were recognized with a 2015 Award for Excellence as an Innovative Environmental Education Program. This list is far from complete – we have done so much together! And we have done it all in service to our mission: Powerful youth leaders growing together – cultivating community and food justice through urban agriculture.

Due to changing life circumstances, I have decided to step down as Executive Director. My last day at GreenLeaf will be February 15, 2017. Until then, I will continue working as hard as ever with our youth, staff, and board to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership while we prepare for our best-ever farm season in 2017. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the incredible experiences and relationships I have gained over the past three years. After GreenLeaf, I will continue working to educate and empower youth in Denver Public Schools. So, this is not a goodbye – rather, this is a “see you soon,” as we will continue working together in new and exciting ways. Now, it’s time to get back to work!

Growing together,

Cody Signature
Cody Meinhardt

Our Green Policy

 

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At GreenLeaf, we are committed to social stewardship as well as environmental stewardship. We believe that we have a responsibility to care for the Earth and all its citizens, and our practices are a reflection of this belief. From the farm to the office, GreenLeaf’s crew is consistent in our desire to make a positive environmental impact. Here are just a few of our “green” practices:

 

  • Our office, where we work when we’re not on the farm, is located at Green Spaces. Green Spaces is an amazing local, environmentally conscious co-working space. Read about some of Green Spaces’ initiatives here: http://www.greenspaces.com/green-commitmen/
  • At both our farm and our office space, we compost and recycle. But overall, we work to reduce waste production in the first place. The landfill is always our last resort.
  • We provide bus vouchers for our youth crew, encourage alternative modes of transportation, and offer teleworking opportunities for our staff and board.
  • We always give our Farm Stand patrons a choice on bagging. If you bring your own reusable bag to the Farm Stand to take home your fresh veggies, we think that’s awesome!
  • We use a drip irrigation system to water our crops. We also water crops during recommended times, which allows us to conserve our planet’s most precious resource.
  • We have hosted, and will continue to host, community events that bring awareness to some of the environmental issues that our planet is facing.
  • We don’t use pesticides or other harmful chemicals on our crops. Ever.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, we are an organization that provides fresh, local food to the Denver community. The average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from the farm to your plate! When you eat local food, you are reducing your carbon footprint and stimulating your local food system. Your food choices matter.

 

GreenLeaf takes environmental responsibility seriously, and we are continually seeking out new ways to incorporate sustainability into everything we do. We believe that centering sustainability and making “green” decisions is incredibly empowering, and we are proud to make a positive impact in Denver and in the world.

GreenLeaf’s Year in Review (and a big THANK YOU!)

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Dear Friend of GreenLeaf,

 

On behalf of the GreenLeaf youth crew, staff, and board, I would like to offer my sincere thanks for your support of our programs building a community of powerful youth leaders who grow together, cultivating community and food justice through urban agriculture. I want to especially thank you for your support in 2016, as we built our new farm home at the historic Smiley Campus in Park Hill. 2016 has been a year of immense challenge, but also immense reward. We are all so grateful for the community support we received during this time of transition! Here are some of our highlights from 2016:

 

We built our new farm! The Smiley Campus, which is home to McAuliffe International School, is officially GreenLeaf’s new farm home. We are pleased to have forged this mutually beneficial relationship with McAuliffe and Denver Public Schools. After being asked by developers to vacate our previous farm, the GreenLeaf team is relieved and excited to have a plot of land where we feel secure. We built 24 raised beds, 9 in-ground beds, and a tool shed at the Smiley Campus, and we have plans to do even more. Even after getting a late start (due to the construction of the farm), GreenLeaf’s youth crew harvested a whopping 1,050 lbs. of produce this season! We sold this fresh, local food at our farm stand, our youth crew took much of it home to share with family and friends, and we donated the rest to hunger relief agencies. We are looking forward to what we can accomplish as we settle in to our new farm and begin the next growing season. (Also- a special shout out to the 200 volunteers who got their hands dirty with us on our new farm this season!)

 

We received a $30,000 grant for our Neighborhood Harvest program! Perhaps you’ve heard about Neighborhood Harvest by now. For those of you who haven’t: Thanks to Rose Community Foundation’s Innovate for Good grant, GreenLeaf will be launching a program this spring that will make it possible for about 40 northeast Park Hill families to have access to fresh, healthy food, right from their own backyards! The GreenLeaf youth crew will choose 40 families in need, build raised beds in their yards, plant seeds to grow fresh food, and provide training and support for the families so that they can maintain their mini-gardens in the future. Because northeast Park Hill is a food desert (there is no grocery store in the neighborhood, causing residents to rely on corner stores and other unhealthy food sources), Neighborhood Harvest intends to create a community of self-sufficient and healthy residents! Stay tuned for more details on this project; we’ll tell you more about it in January.

 

Our 2016 Farm-Raiser Benefit Concert was a blast! We hope you agree. We danced to the music of Pink Hawks, ate and drank in the company of friends, toured the new farm, and celebrated the accomplishments of GreenLeaf’s youth crew (made possible by the support of community members like you). The Art Garage was a fun and unique venue for the Farm-Raiser, and we enjoyed sharing this evening with our wonderful supporters.

 

GreenLeaf has accomplished quite a bit in 2016, and we intend to do even more. But we need your help. Our program has been making a difference in the lives of our youth crew and their communities since 2008, and the support of individuals like you has always been crucial to our success. Will you consider making an end-of-year contribution to GreenLeaf?

 

Here are a few reasons why I hope you’ll help GreenLeaf today by making a contribution:

 

  1. GreenLeaf empowers young people in the classroom: Studies show that experiential, project-based education creates a more effective learning environment where young people put complex theories into real-world practice. Our youth leaders routinely apply classroom skills like math, chemistry, and biology to solve problems on the farm, supporting their academic efforts. Nearly all of the youth who have worked at GreenLeaf over the years have graduated from high school, and most go on to college.
  2. GreenLeaf leads to success in the workplace: While at GreenLeaf our youth leaders learn valuable career and life skills, like tracking time and entering hours for payroll, budgeting and basic financial skills, working with customers and making change at the Farm Stand, and carrying out complex projects from the seed of an idea through to completion and evaluation. These opportunities lead to meaningful employment after (or sometimes during!) GreenLeaf for many of our youth.
  3. GreenLeaf youth leaders change their communities for the better: Since GreenLeaf started in 2008, over 60 young people have gone through our program, collectively growing and distributing over 12,000 pounds of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. In real terms, that means our youth have provided over 12,000 meals to food-insecure individuals across Denver. And as we expand our farm operations at Smiley, we will be able to grow even more food!
  4. Beyond the numbers… simply put, GreenLeaf is there when you need it most. I’ve witnessed youth crew members lean on each other for support through difficult experiences like bullying in school, break-ins and theft from our farm, hardships at home, and (of course) teenage romance. GreenLeaf is also there when our youth need help on homework, finding a job or looking for college, applying for scholarships, and more. And I can’t count the number of times I have felt love, support, and encouragement from the GreenLeaf community when I was in need. As our youth often say, GreenLeaf is truly like a family.

 

We have big plans for 2017, including a revised leadership development pipeline for our youth, continuing to make improvements on our new farm, and groundbreaking new projects like Neighborhood Harvest. I hope you will consider partnering with us as we grow our programs and empower our youth to create deeper, more lasting impacts in our community.

 

Here are two simple ways to make your contribution:

 

Thank you again for your support of GreenLeaf’s life changing programming, developing powerful youth leaders who will take on the challenges of food access, social justice, and more. Your support gives young people the opportunity to be heard and to make real, lasting change for the good of our communities. We can’t wait to see what’s next as we continue on this journey together!

 

Growing together,

Cody Meinhardt

 

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Get your GreenLeaf Swag!

We’re excited to announce that we now have official GreenLeaf Swag! Quantities are currently very limited, but if there’s a lot of interest we’ll get more for ya! Send a message to cody@greenleafdenver.org to order yours today!

 

SHIRTS: $20 suggested donation – Current sizes available: Youth Medium; Adult S, M, L, XL, 3XL

GreenLeaf Shirts

 

HATS: $15 suggested donation – one size fits most

GreenLeaf Hats


Merchandise
Indicate shirt size here:



GreenLeaf to receive award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education

We are thrilled to announce that GreenLeaf has been selected by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education to receive an Award for Excellence in Environmental Education! Come support us at the awards ceremony on March 18th. To read about GreenLeaf and the other awardees, check out the CAEE website: https://www.caee.org/2015-awards-ex…
Read below for a press release with more information:
MEDIA RELEASE – February 17, 2016
Contact: Lisa Eadens, 303-273-9527 lisaeadens@caee.org
Colorado Individuals & Programs Receive Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education
The Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) is recognizing exemplary and effective environmental education programs and individuals across Colorado who are setting a new standard for learning in their communities. Six programs and eight individuals are being acknowledged with an Award for Excellence in Environmental Education for their outstanding work in helping learners understand their role in the environment. The recipients of the 2015 Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education will be honored at an evening reception hosted by CAEE on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the Auraria Campus in Denver, CO.
In addition to the 2016 President’s Award and the Enos A. Mills Lifetime Achievement Award, CAEE is recognizing three individuals and six programs who are bringing innovative, inclusive and cross-sector environmental education to Colorado. Among the organizations being recognized is GreenLeaf, an innovative youth leadership development and food justice program. Through seamless, year-round programming, GreenLeaf empowers youth leaders to address important issues such as food access and social justice by growing food for themselves and their communities, while also focusing on personal development and building leadership skills. GreenLeaf has worked with over 60 youth since its founding in 2008, who have collectively grown and distributed over 12,000 pounds of fresh, affordable produce in Denver’s food desert neighborhoods. GreenLeaf is currently building a new quarter-acre farm in partnership with Denver Public Schools at the historic Smiley Campus in Park Hill.
Cody Meinhardt, GreenLeaf Executive Director, said, “We are honored to have been chosen for an award from CAEE this year. Through GreenLeaf, I have seen first-hand the transformative power of connecting young people with nature. Growing food is a radical act that can truly change lives for the better. By teaching young people how to grow food and practice community organizing, we are building a generation of capable and creative leaders who will lead the charge to bring about a more just society.”
The individuals and programs to be recognized include:
Outstanding Environmental Educator Award
Dr. Bryan Wee
Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences
University of Colorado Denver
Judy Lopez
Executive Director and Education Specialist
Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative
Outstanding Youth Environmental Leadership Award
Alec Wyatt
Advancing Environmental Literacy Award
Colorado Environmental Film Festival
Innovative Environmental Education Program Award:
Beaver Case Study
Fox Creek Elementary and South Platte Park, Littleton, Colorado
Water Warriors – Save Water with Dewey
Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs, Colorado
GreenLeaf
GreenLeaf, Denver, Colorado
Water Wise Circa 2015
Aurora Water, Aurora, Colorado
Urban Ranger
Environmental Learning for Kids, Denver, Colorado
Outstanding Retiring Educator Recognition
Faye Koeltzow
Suzy Ellison
Katie Navin, CAEE Executive Director, said, “The environment is where we live and the decisions we make about the environment impact our economy, our communities and our homes. All across the state these innovative environmental educators and programs are helping create informed and responsible decision makers.”
CAEE’s Eighteenth Annual Awards Celebration is on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the Auraria Campus, St. Cajetan’s Church in Denver, CO. For more information, please visit http://www.caee.org/awards or contact CAEE at info@caee.org.
____________________________________
CAEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting quality and inclusive environmental education by facilitating communication, coordination and professional development among the varied environmental education programs in the state. A comprehensive electronic information clearinghouse and resource directory for environmental education is available on the organization’s web site, www.caee.org.

2016 is going to be a big year for GreenLeaf

2016 is going to be a big year for GreenLeaf. As I begin my second quarter as the Social Work Intern, I’m feeling really excited to get to be a part of that. The new year is bringing us a new farm, a new community, and lots of opportunities for growth! Looking back on my time as part of GreenLeaf so far and ahead to the period of change to come, I’m hopeful that this year will be a time of growth for me as well as I work with the youth to tackle the challenges of transitioning into our new community.

 
Since starting with GreenLeaf in September of last year, I’ve focused on building relationships with our incredible youth crew members. From how to harvest kale to how to play Rock Paper Scissors Tag, I’ve learned a great deal from the youth and had the opportunity to connect with them in meaningful ways each day. Moving into the new year and into our new farm space, I hope to build upon these foundational relationships I’ve created with the youth. The transition into our new location will be a challenging learning process for all of us as we work to build trust and personal relationships with members of our entirely new community. However, this also presents an exciting opportunity for us to revisit and strengthen our mission of food justice and youth development as we start fresh in this new space.

 
What does it look like to enter a new community and begin working for change in that place? How can we build upon the successes we saw at our old farm while learning from and improving upon the areas of challenge that we experienced? And how can the youth remain invested and powerful leaders at the center of these processes in our new community? These are questions that I hope to work alongside the youth to answer in the coming months. As we explore these questions and make our transition, there is sure to be some re-evaluating and redefining of our goals, both personally and for the organization, which will not be an easy process. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned at GreenLeaf, it’s that it takes a lot of work to grow something beautiful. That being said, I look forward to growing together with the youth through this exciting period of change!

 

Photo Oct 21, 3 57 53 PMScott MacDonald

MSW Intern, University of Denver

Top 10 GreenLeaf Moments of 2015

2015 has been an incredible year. It’s had its ups and downs, challenges and opportunities, beautiful flowers and nasty weeds. But this year is certainly one that will be remembered at GreenLeaf for a long time. We wanted to take a moment to look back at all the greatness this year, so without any further ado, we’re counting down our Top 10 GreenLeaf Moments of 2015!
(Pssssst… the best way to stay up to date on awesome GreenLeaf moments all throughout the year is to sign up for our free monthly eNewsletter!)

 

#10: Edible Weeds Walk & other farm workshops

Edible Weeds Workshop

During our 9-week intensive Summer Program, we hold regular workshops on topics like building healthy soil, weed and pest identification, industrial vs. small scale food systems, identity and goal setting, and lots more. We also invite special guests to come visit the GreenLeaf farm to share their wisdom, and this year one of our favorite classes was on Edible Weeds. Kate Armstrong, the Urban Forager, taught us how to pick and eat tasty and nutritious weeds like lambs quarters, purslane, mallow, bindweed, sorrel, dock and many more. Yum!

 

#9: GreenLeaf runs the Colfax 5K

GreenLeaf at the Colfax 5K

This spring GreenLeaf became an official Charity Partner of the Colfax Marathon. We trained, recruited fellow runners, rallied donors, and laced up our running shoes for our race of choice – the Colfax 5K on Saturday, May 16th. After crossing the finish line, our community gathered under a tent in City Park to enjoy bagels, juice, and Veronica’s mother’s famous chicken salad! It was an awesome way to wrap up our work this spring and blow off steam in a fun way before the start of our 2015 Summer Program.

 

#8: Youth-led Residential Produce Sales workshops

Produce Sales Workshop

With the funding support of Share NE Denver, GreenLeaf teamed up with Groundwork Denver and Grow Local Colorado to get the word out about Denver’s new Residential Produce Sales ordinance. Before 2014, if you wanted to grow and sell produce from home in Denver, you had to pay fees to participate in an official farmers market. With this new ordinance, any homeowner or renter can get a permit and sell fresh fruits and veggies (and some cottage foods) from a farm stand right at home! We think this is an awesome way to promote food justice and increase access to healthy food in our communities, so we wanted more people to know about it. The GreenLeaf and Groundwork youth crews canvassed our neighborhoods in NE Denver and hosted two youth-led workshops for the public in April and May, covering garden planning basics, marketing tips, and all the info you need to know about the ordinance. (Learn more here.)

 

#7: 2015 GreenLeaf Camping Trip

CAMPING Trip

At the end of our Summer Program, we take the GreenLeaf crew on our annual Camping Trip — which, not surprisingly, is consistently one of our youth interns’ favorite activities of the year! For the last two years, we’ve spent 3 days and 2 nights up at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, where we set up our tents and build a campfire surrounded by beautiful pine trees, rocky outcroppings, and more than a few chipmunks. During the camping trip we do things like play an epic game of capture the flag, cook meals together, try out social justice and team-building activities, and spend quality time relaxing. It’s the perfect way to close out the Summer Program!

 

#6: Brand new Logo & Website

GreenLeaf Crest

If you’re reading this right now, you’re looking at our #6 GreenLeaf moment of 2015 — the launch of our new logo and website! We teamed up with the creative team at Bosho Film & Design to create a new look for GreenLeaf that reflects our revised mission statement: Powerful youth leaders growing together – cultivating community and food justice through urban agriculture. We must say, we think we knocked it out of the park! Huge thanks to Daniel, Logan, Chris, and the whole Bosho crew!

 

#5: The 2015 Farm Season – from Woeful Weather to Huge Harvests

Taylor in the Tomatoes

Ask any farmer in the Denver metro area, and they’ll tell you — 2015 was a difficult, often frustrating, and at times perplexing season. We started the season off with weeks of cold and rainy days, as well as a series of devastating storms that leveled many farms and gardens with bouts of hail. Many of our friends lost entire crops and were forced to start from scratch in June or July. Luckily, the GreenLeaf farm was mostly spared from the hail, but soggy soil and the lack of sun still set us back about a month in our usual farm timeline. Despite all this, we worked hard and got our farm back on track for a successful season. By November, our harvest total was about 2,600 pounds! Our largest single harvest day was October 24, during a large farm volunteer day, when we brought in a total of 340 pounds of produce! We think if we had had better weather earlier in the season, we would have had a record-breaking year. But this is the reality of farming — you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature and sometimes you just have to hold on and enjoy the ride!

 

#4: Building our new shed at Smiley

Building the shed

This year we learned that the Sustainability Park, where we’ve farmed for 5 seasons, was being sold to a private developer. Due to the sale, we had to vacate the space and find a new farm. After an extensive search, we formed a new partnership with Denver Public Schools to build a farm for GreenLeaf at the historic Smiley Campus in Park Hill. We are incredibly excited for this new farm home (which you can read more about in a previous blog post), and can’t wait to get planting! Our first major project was building a brand new shed so we could move our tools, planting materials, and other equipment from the S-Park to Smiley. In November the GreenLeaf crew and a few rockstar volunteers got together to lay the foundation, put up the walls and roofing, and give it all a fresh coat of fire-retardant paint. Then a volunteer group from Epsilon came in early December to help us install new shelving and a tool rack inside the shed, get everything organized, and build on an exterior storage and composting area with wooden pallets. We had a ton of fun and are so proud of this first milestone at Smiley!

 

#3: A new all-time record for produce sales

farm_stand

Every year, we do a better and better job of marketing and distributing our produce to friends, neighbors, local businesses, and partner organizations. In 2014, we broke $2,000 in produce sales for the first time ever. But in 2015 we shattered that with a new all-time record, bringing in $2,489.15! Simply incredible! This was possible thanks to our committed CSA shareholders, lots of new customers at our weekly Farm Stand, new regular restaurant customers Cart Driver Pizza and Huckleberry Roasters — and of course the outstanding efforts of our youth crew members who spread the word about our Farm Stand in the neighborhood. Best of all, the GreenLeaf crew decided that all of our farm stand income this year would go toward building our new farm at Smiley!

 

#2: #GreenLeafBling

#GreenLeafBling

To help raise awareness for the fundraising campaign for our New Farm Construction Fund, the GreenLeaf crew wrote and created a brand new music video, GreenLeaf Bling! We had a ton of fun rewriting the lyrics to Drake’s hit “Hotline Bling” — but this time it’s all about closing down the S*Park Farm and building our new farm at the Smiley Campus! We hope you enjoy it!

 

#1: 2015 Farm-Raiser & Harvest Celebration and New Farm Campaign

Solstice Group photo

On Saturday, September 19th, we held our 2015 Farm-Raiser & Harvest Celebration, our most successful fundraiser ever! At the event we had delicious food, bid on local art gifts in our silent auction, took farm tours with the youth crew, heard from the youth about their experiences at GreenLeaf, and officially unveiled our plans for the new GreenLeaf farm at Smiley. In all, we raised about $5,000 through ticket sales, sponsorships, auction purchases, farm stand sales, and other donations.  It was an amazing night on the farm and we couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out! It also was an exciting way to kick off the campaign to grow our New Farm Construction Fund. This fall we had several smaller fundraising events, sent out letters and emails, made some phone calls — and YOU stepped up to help us in a big way! We’ve now raised enough funds to build the basics of our new farm infrastructure, like fencing, irrigation, sheds, and raised beds.

 

We still have a ways to go before we are able to build out the rest of the farm and put our crew to work growing food and promoting justice in NE Denver, but we’re excited for what the future holds. We know that we couldn’t do it without your incredible support, so thank you for a truly amazing 2015!!

 

Please CLICK HERE to make a year-end donation that will create more “GreenLeaf Moments” in 2016. Thank you!

GreenLeaf’s new farm at the Smiley Campus

The GreenLeaf youth crew, staff and board would like to thank everyone for your continued support of our programs building a community of powerful youth leaders who grow together, cultivating community and food justice through urban agriculture!

 

Over our five growing seasons at the Sustainability Park (or S*Park), the GreenLeaf crew has grown and distributed over 10,000 pounds of fresh, healthy, affordable food for our youth and hundreds of community members. We harvested over 2,500 pounds of produce in 2015 alone! It has been an incredible journey at the S*Park, but we know that all good things must come to an end. We learned earlier this year that S*Park is being sold to a developer and construction is starting soon, so we must vacate our farm by the end of November. This is certainly a major challenge for GreenLeaf, but we are excited for the possibilities that are just on the horizon. We have created a new partnership with Denver Public Schools to build a new farm for GreenLeaf at the historic Smiley Campus in the Park Hill neighborhood!

 

smileyAt Smiley, we have secured approximately one quarter acre of growing space — or twice the amount of space we had at S*Park. We will also have lots of room for tool storage, a new permanent farm stand, a composting system, and shaded gathering areas under four beautiful pine trees. We plan to build out the farm over a couple of years, beginning with 15-20 raised beds using the lumber from our S*Park farm to grow in during the 2016 season. In the first year our youth will lead extensive canvassing and community organizing efforts to gain input from our new neighbors on how the rest of the farm space should look. Our hope is that our presence at Smiley will help to meet the needs of the students on the campus, their families, and members of the surrounding community. Some early ideas for the rest of the farm space include a permaculture “food forest” including fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbs; and a large space with permanent, in-ground beds to serve as our primary market production area.

 

Our partnership with DPS at Smiley is an exciting new way for GreenLeaf to engage the community and the school, including creating programming for the Smiley Campus students in a more direct way. The campus is currently home to McAuliffe International School (grades 6-8) and Venture Prep High School. This means that we can not only hire new crew members directly from the schools adjacent to the farm, but we can also create garden education opportunities for younger students. There has even been some discussion of bringing back the for-credit course that was created and taught by the GreenLeaf youth crew in 2013, centered around food justice and farming. We also hope to provide direct service to the school by providing produce to the cafeteria and the food assistance program.

 

Of course, this will take a great deal of time and effort, but we know we can make it happen because of the dedication of our youth crew members who lead the staff, board and volunteers in carrying out our mission. We also know that we can count on our community of supporters, including you to help us!

 

Our estimated budget to build the new GreenLeaf Farm at the Smiley Campus is $12,000. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and the guests at our Farm-Raiser & Harvest Celebration event in September, we’ve already raised over $5,000 toward our goal! To make it the rest of the way, we need your help. Here are a few ways you can contribute to building our Farm Construction Fund this fall:

 

Thank you again for your generosity and support. We are excited to turn our dreams of a beautiful new farm into reality, and we will keep you updated on our progress. To learn more about GreenLeaf, Colorado Gives Day, our new farm at Smiley, and how you can get involved click here to email our Executive Director, Cody Meinhardt.

GreenLeaf featured in the Denver Voice

We’re honored and humbled to be featured in the March 2015 edition of the Denver Voice, a nonprofit street newspaper supporting our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness and economic poverty in Denver.

See the article in the Denver Voice here.