In April, our team volunteered with B Local Colorado at Growing Gardens in Boulder, via Wordbank’s Volunteer Time Off program. This program connects us with other local non-profits and encourages our people to make a positive impact in our community.
GROWING GARDENS: WHO THEY ARE AND WHO THEY SERVE
Growing Gardens is a Boulder-based non-profit whose mission is to “enrich the lives of our community through sustainable urban agriculture.” Their vision is to connect people directly to plants, the land, and each other through several gardening-based programs. People of all ages, backgrounds, income levels, and abilities can participate in a number of programs, such as Horticultural Therapy.
These educational opportunities are paired with seed, plant starter, produce donations, and gardening space to impart greater food security and hunger relief in our community.
WHAT’S THEIR IMPACT?
Since they started, Growing Gardens has provided access to healthy, sustainably grown food and garden-based nutrition education to roughly 136,000 residents. They donate produce to shelters, food pantries, charities, and needy homes throughout the community. In 2018:
- low-income families received 20,091 pounds of donated produce
- community gardeners donated 872 pounds of produce
- 17,550 people received plant starts, seed packets, or fresh produce donations
- low-income gardeners received 27,746 plant starts and 1,228 seed packets to grow their own food.
- partners included: Community Food Share, EFAA (Emergency Family Assistance Association), OUR Center There with Care, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), I Have a Dream, and Boulder Housing Partners.
OUR VOLUNTEERING EXPERIENCE
Our two experiences volunteering with Growing Gardens were fun and rewarding in different ways. In April’s B of Service day, volunteers from Conscious Coffees, Ocean First, Bolder Industries, and Ad Victoriam Solutions, as well as our Wordbank team, pitched in to help out in the greenhouse. Together, we transplanted over 1,000 organic heirloom tomato seedlings, which will continue to grow over the next few weeks. These tomatoes will be up for sale at their annual plant sale, which is happening during the first three weekends in May. All proceeds and donations benefit Growing Gardens’ sustainable urban agriculture education programs.
Last fall, we volunteered at Growing Gardens with CauseLabs, BSW Wealth Partners, and TiER 1 Performance Solutions. We removed wire from raspberry plants, pulled up approximately 20 pounds of parsnips for There with Care, and walked goats over from Mountain Flower Dairy. (They partner with the garden by having their goats graze on raspberry leaves.) The goats help keep weeds and grasses under control, while the red raspberry leaf helps with the goat’s reproduction. So both organizations benefit (and so do the goats)!
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
- Volunteer as an individual or as part of a group. For example, you can support their office staff, help at the Longmont and Boulder farms, work at community events, and help in the greenhouses in the spring.
- Donate or host a fundraiser. Almost 20% of Growing Gardens’ funding comes directly from individuals in the community. And 89% of the funding goes directly to their programming. For just $50, you can provide three healthy meals for a family.
- Join their CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) program. Meet and build relationships with youth farmers who are a part of the Cultiva Youth Project while receiving fresh, organic produce each week.
- Attend their events.
- They host an annual community plant sale each May. People who attend can buy organic vegetables, herb starts, annual and perennials flowers, berries, and grasses. Here is a full list of what will be for sale.
- Attend a Farm to Table Dinner with fresh seasonal cuisine.
- Celebrate their 20th anniversary at their Farm Gala in August.