When the Colorado Convention Center created an urban farm on the piece of land between the complex and Speer Boulevard, it forgot about one minor detail -- the winter. But when cold weather descended, the fragile plants at Blue Bear Farm had to be relocated -- or die. Enter "Adopt-a-Pot," a program through which local businesses have been adopting the plants and giving them a warm home for the winter.
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Blue Bear Farm was created in conjunction with Mayor Michael Hancock's Denver Seeds Initiative to provide fresh produce for Centerplate, the Convention Center's hospitality partner. Produce Denver helped plant more than 2,000 plants at Blue Bear Farm, ranging from fruit and beans to vegetables and herbs; they even put two beehives on the site.
Harvest went well, with much of the produce incorporate into Centerplate dishes. But at the approach of winter, "Nick [Gruber] from Produce Denver said, 'We have to find a place to put all these pots, they have to go inside or they will die,'" recalls Laurence Rua of Centerplate. The solution they found was to ask local businesses to house the plants for the winter. "That's how the 'Adopt-a-Pot' program came together."
Mayor Hancock's office, the Denver Department of Arts & Venues, Denver Seeds, Visit Denver and University of Colorado Denver are just some of the entities that have volunteered to house pots until May 2013. Produce Denver plans to regularly feed and water the plants.
Blue Bear Farm has 5,000 square feet of growing space, and was projected to grow 1,800 pounds of fresh produce in its first year. Next year, the Colorado Convention Center plans to double that -- assuming it gets all of its plants back.
For more information, visit the Convention Center website.