The Garden Project has provided educational garden programs to La Plata County’s community since 1998. Nearly 8,400 youth and 4,000 adults have been directly served through gardening and food programs in the past fifteen years. Since our inception, The Garden Project has facilitated programs at over 19 school, community and backyard gardens.
In 2004, The Garden Project combined the efforts of two existing programs: “Greens and Things” Children’s Gardens and “Growing Community Food Project.” Because of shared missions to teach important community and land issues through gardening programs, these organizations merged to form The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, a federal non-profit organization.
“Greens and Things” was developed in 1998 to promote community and youth development through gardening programs in Durango. The gardens were designed, built, planted, maintained and harvested primarily by low-income and high-risk youth groups for the purpose of connecting youth with the land, their community and themselves. “Growing Community Food Project” became active in 2000 promoting local food initiatives to strengthen local food systems through sustainable agriculture education and the promotion of local farmer’s markets. This initial mission is still represented today.
In 2004, The Garden Project became a founding member of the Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado, "a partnership of agencies and individuals working together to support a fair, sustainable local food system that reaches all incomes, ages and cultures" and has "collaborated on food projects to increase community food security for under-served populations in La Plata County."
The Garden Project has offered programs at over 20 community and school garden locations including Manna Soup Kitchen, Durango Housing Corporation, the Riverhouse Children's Center, Sunshine Gardens, Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary, Needham Elementary, Fort Lewis College and City Hall.
A Backyard Garden Give-Away program was developed between 2009-2011. The Backyard Garden Give-Away is one of our favorite past projects and with future funding we look forward to offering the program again. If you would like to sponsor a backyard garden giveaway please contact us.