The playground at Smith Elementary becomes quite crowded on Thursday afternoons. That's when parents, teachers, students and community members gather to purchase fresh organic vegetables and fruits. The sales are designed to raise money to start a community garden -- but they also educate students on the importance of locally grown foods and the nutrients they provide.
Every week, Lindsay McNicholas, the resource advocate for Smith, drives to the Slow Food Denver storeroom, where Andy Nowak has a truckload of vegetables donated from different Colorado farms. our local farms are represented at Smith's market: Brighton Berry Patch, Palombo, Ela Family Farms and Forte Farms. There are usually ten types of produce available, all inexpensive. Palisade peaches go for 50 cents each, three ears of corn sell for $1, and broccoli heads are a bargain at 25 cents each.
Slow Food Denver and Denver Public Schools have teamed up to introduce students to the Slow Foods motto of "promoting the celebration of food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture, and community." Johnson & Wales University and Denver Urban Gardens are also involved in the project.
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There are close to twenty Denver public schools that either already have community gardens, or are working toward one. Many of their markets will continue until the end of October; find more information here.