Beginning in Fall 2011, Denver Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services (DPS FNS) began using produce from ½ acre- 1 acre farms on school grounds. This effort was inspired by a successful Garden to Cafeteria Program that began in Fall 2010, delivering over 1,000 lbs. of produce to school kitchens from 15 garden sites. In Fall 2011, Sprout City Farms provided 568 lbs. of produce to the Denver Green School kitchen from the Denver Green School Community Farm, and the McGlone Elementary School farm provided 31 lbs. of spinach for school meals. Since then, Sprout City Farms has continued to provide produce to the Denver Green School kitchen while urban farm sites at Bradley, McGlone and Schmitt Elementary School farms have supplied produce for school meals across the district (the produce is delivered to the central DPS warehouse and then distributed to school kitchens district-wide).
For the Fall 2016 season, Groundwork Denver has partnered with Denver Public Schools (DPS) to farm land at Schmitt and McGlone Elementary Schools with the goal of putting fresh, healthy and locally grown produce into the school meals program! Providing nutritious meals to students across Denver is a commitment of Denver Public Schools and Groundwork Denver is proud to have the opportunity to support the effort with the work of the Green Team. Promoting personal health and community well-being is an important principal of the Green Team (Groundwork Denver’s employment based youth development program) and working the land at DPS provides the opportunity to put this concept into action. Recognizing that well-nourished children are better equipped to learn, will help motivate Groundwork’s Green Team during the hot summer days working out at the farms.
The Bradley Elementary School Farm will be farmed by longtime Bradley Community Gardener, Everett Gardner. Everett has a passion for farming and is thrilled to provide nutritious produce to Denver students.
School farmers must complete an On Farm Food Safety plan, developed through a USDA Farm to School Grant by Colorado State University. The district visits each farm site at least once per season to verify compliance with the food safety plan. All farm sites are irrigated with potable city water using drip irrigation to minimize water usage.
In the fifth year of the urban farm project (2015-2016), the Enterprise Management Department used 9370 lbs. of produce from the farm at Schmitt, 6908 lbs. of produce from the farm at Bradley, 14,189 lbs. of produce from the farm at McGlone and Sprout City Farms provided over 320 lbs. of produce to the Denver Green School kitchen.
Come support our work to grow vegetables for Denver students by helping at one of our Farm Volunteer Days. For more information or to volunteer to help at our school farms, please call Anne Wilson at 720-423-5608 or e-mail Anne_Wilson@dpsk12.org.