Tonight: Sprout Down benefits organic urban farming

When Meg Caley realized how much public land in Denver was going unused, she chose to take action. Along with James Hale and Chad Hagedorn, Caley helped found Sprout City Farms to use these empty spaces for something productive. "We thought, why don't we just put farms on that land and grow food for the neighborhood?" says Caley. So they did. While Caley explains that the idea had been germinating since August of 2009, the group incorporated as a nonprofit last year and started breaking ground on the farm two weeks ago. The space is located on the grounds of the Denver Green School in Southeast Denver on an empty sod play field. "A lot of these schoolyards are actually a lot bigger than they need, so they have a whole other baseball and soccer field at the school that they use," says Caley, "This sod play field that we're turning into the farm was virtually never used by the school."

Now the converted one-acre field will be used as an organic farm to provide fresh produce to the Denver Green School's cafeteria as well as to 25 families in the area through a CSA program. The pick up for the fruits and veggies will start in June along with educational workshops about food and farming.

Tonight's benefit at the Mercury Café will provide Sprout City Farms with the cash it requires to continue these projects. Caley says the farm is still in need of materials for an irrigation system, a tool shed and much more to get the project off the ground and onto the plate.

The fundraiser runs from 7 to 11 p.m. and will feature music by Saturn Cowboys, Laura Goldhamer & the Silvernail, Princess Music and DJ Soup. Attendees can munch on food by the Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast and Jax Fish House and bid on items in a silent auction filled with donations from local artists and shops. A $7 donation at the door will go to fulfilling Sprout City's goal of, as Caley explains, "using underutilized land to produce food to support people making a living growing food."

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