How Denver got growing: our 2020 COVID-response impact

By December 3, 2020December 11th, 2020News

For the last 23 years, DUG has been fighting food insecurity in metro Denver through our Grow a Garden program, which connects individuals, families, and community groups to free and low-cost seeds + seedlings, as well as the educational resources to grow a thriving garden at home or in a DUG garden.


When ‘COVID-19’ became the word of 2020 in early March, none of us at DUG knew quite what to expect for our organization, but we did know one thing – that metro Denver residents needed access to fresh, healthy food more than ever. In April, as supermarket shelves emptied, schools and businesses closed, and people lost their jobs in record numbers, we sprang into action to ensure we could meet the needs of our community. 

In addition to our long-standing Grow a Garden program, we also introduced our emergency To-Grow Boxes, a perfect-for-beginners garden kit that combined seeds, seedlings, and a bilingual Plant Care Guide to show folks how to grow enough veggies and herbs in a 10’ x 10’ plot to support the nutrition needs of a family of four from summer into fall. Thanks to the generous financial and product contributions from our corporate partners, including Sprouts’ Healthy Community Foundation and Botanical Interests, we were able to gift more than 800 To-Grow Boxes to the community.   

In May, coordinating both Grow a Garden and the To-Grow Boxes, we distributed nearly 48,000 seedlings and 29,000 seed packets with the help of more than 200 volunteers and our incredible community partners: Metro Caring, The GrowHaus, Montbello Organizing Committee, Denver Food Rescue, Sprout City Farms, Ekar Farms, Re:Vision, Denver Community Active Living Coalition, Community Care Collective and DeLaney Community Farm.

Learn more about the impact of our 2020 food access programs below, and check out our Faces of DUG profile of Jean, whose To-Grow Box helped build stronger community ties during COVID!

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