INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.

 



 

Lauren ChristensenLauren Christensen is the Assistant Director of Communications of Denver Urban Gardens. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin and learn more at dug.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
Denver Urban Gardens provides both the soil and the know-how that enables students, individuals and families to grow healthy, organic food while connecting with other members of their community. We have more than 170 gardens throughout metro Denver area neighborhoods, and DUG’s programs served more than 50,000 people in 2017.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
DUG knows that in order to make lasting change, community needs to drive it. That’s why every one of our urban gardens and farms have been started and led by local residents. We currently have more than 170 gardens in six counties in the Metro Denver Area.

DUG gardeners grow food, but more than that, they grow community. We put down deep roots, providing resources, training, and support needed to establish enduring gardens and farms that become valuable assets to neighborhoods. We do all of this with respect for all people and the environment.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?

  • In 2017, DUG’s programs served more than 50,000 individuals through our variety of programs such as community gardens, youth programming, Grow a Garden, DeLaney Community Farm and public education programs.
  • We estimate that 10% of food grown in our gardens is donated to local hunger-relief organizations, meaning that approximately 52,936 pounds of food was donated to the local community.
  • Our Grow a Garden program, which provides seeds, seedlings and know-how, resulted in grocery savings of $361 per season and 78% of participant respondents felt more able to provide food for themselves and their families.
  • 74% of 4th & 5th grade Healthy Seedling (DUG’s youth education program) participants are eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • DUG’s pre- and post-season surveys show that gardeners usually increase their fruit and vegetable consumption by four servings per week over the growing season.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
The communities driving this change inspire DUG to make an impact. Programming at DUG is driven by community request, ensuring that we are present where we are needed most and we are thrilled to be a resource for the Denver metro area.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
There will be a day when everyone has access to the food, and community, they need. We envision a world where access to healthy food and a thriving community is the standard, not the exception.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Denver Urban Gardens is funded entirely by grants and donations and operates with a small staff. Donations of both time and money are always appreciated – every bit makes a difference!

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Currently, DUG is blessed with the challenge of an unprecedented demand for community gardens! We’d love to be able to create every garden that comes along but are bound by the limits of financial and staff resources.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Community is key! Every one of our gardens began as an idea brought to us by a community member and, as a result, our gardens have incredible longevity.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Visit our website to join a garden, make a donation, volunteer or take a class!

 


Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that generates awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations. We amplify their voice and reach so they can increase their impact. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to hello@orapinmarketing.com.