Growing together

Championing the power of plants, the people who grow them, and the communities they nourish: that’s Denver Urban Gardens, or DUG.

They provide access, skills, and resources for people to grow healthy food in community and regenerate urban green spaces. Established in 1985 to support Denver residents in creating sustainable, food-producing neighborhood community gardens, over the past three decades their network of community gardens has expanded to six Denver counties like seedlings sprouting from organic planting medium.  

DUG’s program reach has extended to offering educational resources and skill-building in urban growing for all ages, as well as providing access to seeds, seedlings, and an interconnected network that builds community resilience by growing local, fresh, organic food together.

The numbers are impressive. There are 190 community gardens throughout Metro Denver, including more than 70 school-based community gardens.

Niko Kirby, director of marketing and communications for DUG, cites the amazing support of their extensive volunteer network, who roll up their sleeves to help the staff of 15 to support 17,500 gardeners.

“The DUG Network just keeps growing as we continue to evolve from ‘community gardening’ to ‘gardening in community,’” says Niko. “Gardening is one of the most joyful ways we can love on ourselves, our communities, and the earth. There’s a lot of pleasure in gardening. Did you know microbes in the soil make our brains feel good? And community gardens, especially, support hyper-local food systems and soil regeneration across large urban areas.”

In addition to building and supporting community gardens, DUG operates DeLaney Community Farm, the Master Composter Training Program, the Master Community Gardener Training Program, Grow a Garden, and they provide extensive opportunities for youth education in nutrition and gardening.

Niko explains that Alpine Bank’s garden adoption of the West Colfax Community Garden helps them make vital improvements, including re-stabilizing pathways and laying a new layer of gravel to improve wheelchair accessibility. It also provides financial resources to support DUG’s Baseline Infrastructure Initiative that ensures all their gardens are resourced equitably.

“We appreciate Alpine Bank so much,” says Niko. “And the support you’re providing for plants, people and planet!”

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About This Author


Pete Yang

Pete Yang is a senior vice president for Alpine Bank and the co-chair of Alpine's "Green Team." He's based in Aspen, where he handles commercial and consumer loans, with a particular focus on resort financing. He has a keen interest in protecting Colorado's unmatched mountain environment.

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