Farm stands in Denver food deserts feature produce from Chatfield Veterans Farm Program

Onions and beets for sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens' farmer's market inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; farmers market; food; produce; farming; denver botanic gardens chatfield farm; wellington webb building; grocery;
Victoria Lindsay is stoked for peach cobbler season as she selects ingredients for her master plan. The Denver Botanic Gardens' farmer's market is set up inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; farmers market; food; produce; farming; denver botanic gardens chatfield farm; wellington webb building; grocery;
Victoria Lindsay is stoked for peach cobbler season as she selects ingredients for her master plan. The Denver Botanic Gardens’ farmer’s market is set up inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown on Wednesdays. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Human Services and Denver Botanic Gardens are bringing their farm stands back for the third year in a row at these locations through October:

Mondays: DHS Richard T. Castro Center, 1200 Federal Blvd., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesdays: Wellington E. Webb Office Building, 201 E. Colfax Ave., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fridays: DHS Arie P. Taylor Montbello Office, 4685 Peoria St., 10 a.m. to 1.p.m.

Saturdays: Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Onions and turnips for sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens' farmer's market inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; farmers market; food; produce; farming; denver botanic gardens chatfield farm; wellington webb building; grocery;
Onions and beets for sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens’ farmer’s market inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
The produce comes courtesy of local veterans in Denver.

The produce was grown at the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield location through the Chatfield Veterans Farm Program. The program is a collaborative effort between Denver Botanic Gardens and Veterans to Farmers. It offers an opportunity for veterans to learn about agriculture, and it revolves around horticulture therapy. Horticulture therapy is the idea of using plants and participating in horticulture activities as a way to help with memory issues and to help veterans find healing.

“It has been really incredible. Participants love it. They learn a new skill, receive emotional support and healing and they meet other veterans,” said Erin Bird, Denver Botanic Gardens’ Communications Manager.

Denver Botanic Gardens offers two farming programs to veterans. One of them is a six-week program that is more of an introduction to farming. The other program lasts ten weeks, and it helps provide a pathway to a farming career for military veterans. Participants learn farming and business planning skills, and they develop a farm business plan as a group.

“We’ve had graduates of the program go on to start their own farms. We do have some great success stories,” Bird said.

Veterans have continued on the agriculture business route upon completing the program. Others have gone on to work at nurseries and other entities.

These farm stands are a part of an effort to bring fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods that don’t have easy access to such things.

“Making fresh food accessible to underserved communities is central not only to the Gardens’ overall mission but is a building block for our Urban Foods Initiative Program,” said Botanic Gardens’ CEO Brian Vogt in a statement.

If people use their SNAP food assistance program benefits card, then they can receive additional discounts. Amongst those discounts is the Double Up Food Bucks program, which allows people to purchase twice as much food.

“Local nutritious food is crucial to improving health, safety and happiness for all Denver children and families,” said Denver Human Services’ Executive Director Don Mares in a statement.

The Denver Botanic Gardens' farmer's market is set up inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; farmers market; food; produce; farming; denver botanic gardens chatfield farm; wellington webb building; grocery;
The Denver Botanic Gardens’ farmer’s market is set up inside the Wellington Webb Building. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)