What a year.
2020 was a year of seismic shifts. Everywhere. For everyone. Literally from the minute the clock struck midnight on January 1st. Something was off kilter. I don’t need to recount the list for anyone reading this – we all are intimately familiar.
But DUG held steady throughout. We kept our gardens open, we delivered seeds, seedlings and education to 1,000s through our greatly expanded food access programs, we taught elementary students how to cook healthy meals and our gardeners grew and donated 300 tons of produce. We also stumbled. And learned. A lot.
What we also learned that DUG is a valued part of the fabric of Denver. In 2021 and beyond, we commit to serving our home town more completely, equitably and impactfully than ever before.
As the word Interim is removed from my title, I look at what DUG has accomplished in its 35 years with awe, admiration, and gratitude and look forward to the next 35 years with giddy enthusiasm and confidence.
With a robust network of gardens, tens of thousands of gardeners, even more people impacted by our food access programs, a best-in-class leadership and horticultural training curriculum and a deep connection to our youngest gardeners through our 74 school gardens and a best-in-class team, we will spend 2021 going deep. We will strengthen, enhance and aggressively commit to equity across the DUG network, ensuring all gardens, gardeners and students are met where they are and inspired and empowered to learn, grow and flourish.
Our 30 acres will be welcome respite from months of indoor isolation for so many as our gardens will welcome 17,500 gardeners to come together safely in community, to dig in the dirt, sequester loads of carbon and produce clean, organic veggies. And we will strengthen the connections between gardeners, between gardens and with DUG itself as we are exponentially stronger when we are networked, connected and supported.
At DUG it all comes from the gardens: the soil, the roots, the bounty, the community. In 2021 we guarantee we will leverage our gardens to help Denver recover from the challenges we face stronger than before.
I can’t wait to dig my hands into the soil with DUG’s amazing team, our partners, our supporters, our gardeners and garden leaders and all of our other cherished stakeholders as we all celebrate our common humanity through growing food. Let’s grow together.
Linda Appel Lipsius
Denver Urban Gardens Executive Director