Young and Growing

Three years ago, Judy Elliott of Denver Urban Gardens was leading kids at Fairview Elementary School in a nutrition gardening program when a class of fifth-graders looked at the tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, chiles, onions and peppers growing under lights in their classroom and decided they wanted to do more. Outside of one corner store, their community — the Sun Valley Neighborhood — had no source of fresh produce. "They devised the idea of creating a small farmers' market," says Elliott, aka Jungle Judy.

In its third year, Elliott says, the market — now one of three Denver Youth Farmers' Markets — has become a gathering place for a very diverse neighborhood, with families from Ethiopia, Somalia, Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Vietnam and Cambodia. "It's a safe place for people to walk in a community that doesn't have much in the way of green space," Elliott says. It's also open to craft vendors and other local farmers who wish to sell their products.

Still, it's kids nine through fourteen who grow the majority of the produce and man the tables at the market. "We're pretty proud of the kids taking ownership," Elliott says. "Kids are really like gardens. Plant an idea and they'll outshine and out-produce."

The market takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays through September 30, at 2715 West 11th Avenue.
Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Starts: July 6. Continues through Sept. 30, 2008

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jessica Centers