Denver Report

Howdy, just took a quick trip to Denver. I was invited by Lisa Rogers of Feed Denver, an urban farming organization that was putting on a conference for folks in Denver growing food in the city. I was blown away by some of the urban farmers I met. It’s always so humbling and fun to meet some fellow dirt grubbers. We have many of the same troubles and triumphs.

Here’s Lisa, a farmer from Seattle named Patrick, and Steve, a farmer at 5 Fridges Farm.

5 Fridges was really cool. Steve uses 1.5 acres of a 13 acre nature preserve (yes, in Denver city limits) to grow a CSA for 70 families!! Holy bio-intensive planting. Besides veg, they also had goats and chickens.
And they had built a commercial kitchen that they were going to rent out for classes and pickling sessions.

One of the big problems in Denver is the dang land is so expensive! I was shocked to hear about the high rents and property values. Some of it is that Denver is having a boom, partially driven by the legalization of recreational pot. Seems like every warehouse was growing the stuff, and so there are fewer places to live so rent is high. Denver rents were as high as those in Oakland/SF!! It actually made me worry about what will happen when (if?) California passes recreational pot legislation. Will it be another giant land grab? Sadly, one of the oldest urban gardens in Denver–Gabrielle’s Garden, run by UrbiCulture Community Farms–has to relocate because developers are selling the land for $3 million dollars. It reminded me of Hayes Valley Farm (RIP).

But then there was good news, too. I met a husband and wife team who have 7 acres of family land in Denver that they are cultivating. Everitt Farms is hoping to become a community center and market, selling produce and flowers.

The scale, the wide open spaces, the potential–that is Denver.

4 responses to “Denver Report

  1. As more and more states legalize there will be less and less reasons for people to relocate. 2 states now but oregon and Alaska on July become legal. There will be more at every election from here on. Hopefully!

  2. Great to hear about 5 Fridges Farm. Nature preserve, CSA, commercial kitchen–all important ways to connect people in cities to the land and local food. Their website lists lots of classes to take, honey and natural soaps for sale, and manure fertilizer for free! Thanks for posting this.

  3. I’m still new to Denver (obviously I’m part of the problem!), but thanks for introducing Everitt Farms! It’s a mile from me…perfect!

  4. Just read Farm City. I loved it! I guess my garden could be called Farm Forest. Thank for making the point that you don’t have to have a big ol’ tractor to be a farmer. PS When I was seven I told my uncle Jim I wanted to be a farmer too. He said if I wanted to farm I’d have to find and marry a RICH farmer.

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