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What a year. In so many very big ways. 

Happy 2022 – May this year be filled with bountiful health, happiness and joy as we settle into another year of uncertainty. And fingers crossed that you had a peaceful end of the year that is not too far off in your rear view mirror.

Sadly, 2021 ended painfully for those impacted by the double tragedies in our community. It can be hard to hold our heads high when things feel so heavy, but I have been inspired by the immediate community response providing support and love. Our hearts go out to those affected.

We enter 2022 with hope while processing the litany of climate disasters which is making things feel very real – driving home the high impact nature of the work we do at DUG. We support our community in growing healthy, nutrient-rich food, digging in the dirt, healing the soil, sequestering carbon, and capturing rainwater by providing the resources and support to do this critical work. In community.

When individual humans reconnect to the earth, their food, and each other, the foundation of everything gets reinforced making us all stronger, more resilient, and more connected.

I am as passionate about this work as ever and believe that we need to inspire everyone to grow their own.

I’m just over a year in at Denver Urban Gardens, I look back on 2021 with awe of what Team DUG has accomplished and boundless enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

We spent 2021 strengthening the foundation of this organization. With 190 community gardens across six counties in metro Denver, we realized (with input from DUG stakeholders and partners) that we needed to provide a higher level of on the ground support to ensure that each and every DUG garden was resourced to thrive. However, with only one person overseeing the human infrastructure and one overseeing the physical infrastructure at the time, we realized we needed more “juice.” 

So we kicked off two new DUG initiatives – the Baseline Infrastructure Initiative (BII) and the DUG Corps. 

The BII identified gardens that demonstrated the most need – improvement, repairs or addition of physical structures and garden leadership. In the spring, we expected we’d be able to reach 10 gardens but ended up reaching 25 with the enthusiastic support of our funding community who got behind this work. 2022 will bring even more improvements to more gardens, including the addition of sustainability features thanks to the largest-ever grant given by engineering firm HDR!

We also piloted the DUG Corps, our green workforce. With a cohort of 3, we were able to visit every single garden in our vast network, organize educational and social events for every Micro Network (there are 7 total), and hear the voice of our gardeners in a way we haven’t been able to in years since our rapid expansion.

All pretty magical stuff.

Our signature food access program, Grow a Garden, had a strong year (we sold out of kits) and is unveling exciting improvements & enhancements in 2022! Learn about the changes we’re making to the program here

Last but not least, DUG Education flourished, teaching kids and grownups alike about the wonders of getting outside and growing your own food. We have expanded our scope to include Early Childhood Education (ECE),  acknowledging that so many behaviors get established at a very young age and that parent involvement is highest with the youngest children.  We realized our work could be even more impactful by bringing this adorable population into the fold. So far we’ve done compost classes for the littles (worms in hands) and are are planning full menu of activities to get the little ones digging in the dirt and eating their vegetables!

Thank you for your support this year. Things are changing quickly, and the value of our work keeps growing. We are built on community and look forward to making the most out of 2022 in partnership.

Please get involved with DUG in a new way this year! Maybe garden with us, take a class or workshop, connect with other gardeners at DUG Online, give back to your community, or support our work.  We are honored to be in this together.

With Gratitude,
Linda Appel Lipsius