About The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado

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Our mission is to grow a healthier community through garden programs, education, and access to local produce.

We envision a community of healthy people eating from healthy land.


Tagline:  Growing a healthier community… one garden at a time!
 
Our Purpose & History:  The Garden Project was founded in 1998 to provide therapeutic gardening experiences for at-risk youth in Durango, CO. Since then we have helped develop 20 school and community gardens in La Plata County. We’ve expanded our reach to work with people of all ages and experiences - believing that everyone, regardless of income, background or ability should have access to growing their own food and healthy nutrition.

Because 90% of Colorado kids don’t get enough fruits and veggies, and 50% of adults and 25% of kids are overweight or obese, we provide a diverse range of educational programs on gardening, cooking and nutrition, to expose Southwest Coloradoans to new fruits and veggies, and the skills to grow and prepare their own healthy food.

Annually we reach over 5,700 participants, provide over 8,400 educational hours, benefit from 2,300 volunteer hours, and harvest over 4,200 pounds of produce. Our target populations include youth and food-insecure families and individuals.

Our Main Gardens:
Manna Soup Kitchen Garden, Ohana Kuleana Community Garden, Needham Elementary School Garden and other school gardens in Durango 9R School District.
 

Our Region: Most of our gardens are currently located within Durango city limits. We hope to expand our reach to better serve the rest of La Plata County and eventually the wider Southwest Colorado region.

 

Our Goals:

  • Food Security (access to healthy, local food for all)
    •  Develop food security programs, with local partners, to connect food-insecure children and families with fresh, healthy, local food, while decreasing food waste within the community
    • Increase the number of sustainable (long term) community gardens in La Plata County, by offering ongoing support, best practices, trainings & workshops to create a vibrant network of community gardens
  • Health and Wellness (community and youth development)
    • Lead gardening, cooking and nutrition classes for youth, low-income families and the general public to increase self-sufficiency skills and agency in one’s own health and wellness
    • Link families with cooking nutrition resources, by collaborating with organizations like Cooking Matters, to ensure that families have the skills to best utilize fresh produce
  • Education (academic integration and environmental education)
    • Collaborate with local and national partners to build school garden lessons and Farm to School programs appropriate to Southwest Colorado and replicable across schools and counties
    • Increase the number of sustainable (long term) school gardens in La Plata County, by offering ongoing support, best practices, trainings & workshops to create a vibrant network of school gardens