The Table Urban Farm has a simple mission: to create community through growing and donating food. And the nonprofit organization has recently built a home to further carry out that mission. The Table Public House, at 2190 South Platte River Drive, is a family-oriented cafe and taproom that just opened the first week of April.
The Table Urban Farm was founded by husband-and-wife team Craig Broek and Jeanine Kopaska Broek in 2012. The organization grows produce on donated plots of land in the Platt Park and University Park neighborhoods to distribute for free to neighbors in hopes of addressing food insecurity while also fostering connections between neighborhood residents. The Table Public House is an outgrowth of that dream, and marks the first time there will be actual tables to match the organization's name.
“We’ve been sort of nomadic, by the nature of the garden plots being scattered and the distribution points being mobile,” says Craig. Over the past eight seasons, the couple has farmed an average of fifteen plots each year, and in one year they cultivated 25. Each garden is planted on the property of residents of the Platt Park and University Park neighborhoods. They work the land alongside a network of volunteers and a few interns, and every week, they pack their produce onto Jeanine’s "Veggie Bike" and set up distribution points in various parts of the neighborhood.
It’s what the couple calls a “sow it forward movement,” Craig explains. “People give us land and water. We give you food, and we want you to share the food with others, as well.”
He estimates that each weekly harvest ranges from 75 to 100 pounds of food that the organization then distributes at locations such as Platt Park, Grandma's House Brewery, Corvus Coffee and the Washington Street Community Center. Over the course of the season, that adds up to between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds of produce.
The network of urban farmers has been growing alongside the veggies. Ben Greiving first learned about the Table six years ago and has since been an avid volunteer; he also recently became a boardmember. He and his wife have lived in the Platt Park neighborhood for ten years, but he says that the organization helped them build relationships with neighbors.
Relationships are the essence of the new Table Public House, according to its owners. The cafe and bar are built into a former VFW post that now comprises two main rooms. The front cafe is divided into office-style space meant to host remote workers who need a change of scenery, and there's a bar area with cafe-style seating and a "PollenNation" play area for the kids.
“It feels very welcoming and community-oriented,” Greiving continues. “I sat there and worked for a few hours the other day and saw moms coming in with their kids. I think that’s the vibe that they’re going for: a community hub to be with neighbors and friends.”
The menu boasts a selection of specialty coffee drinks brewed from Huckleberry Roasters’ beans, tea varieties sourced through Spirit Tea, and kombucha made by Symbiotik, a Littleton company. There are also twenty beers on tap, including options from Crooked Stave, Station 26, 4 Noses and Toppling Goliath, and a wine menu is growing, as well.
“We believe in products with a story that have high quality — [producers] who care about the environment as well as the product they’re serving,” Craig says.
The final stage of the Table Public House — which its founders hope to complete by the end of 2021 — is a new kitchen that will allow the menu to expand and will also add an educational component to give guests a chance to learn about cooking and nutrition.
In the meantime, Craig and Jeanine look forward to a summer season in which they’ll continue growing as they always have with the Table Public House's cafe and bar to help fund the organization.
The Table Public House is nestled next to Grant-Frontier Park on a dead-end section of South Platte River Drive. It is now open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for coffee, beer, cocktails and small plates. Call 303-744-1113 for details.
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