The Mission and History of Denver Urban Gardens

Mission: Denver Urban Gardens comes alongside residents, and together, we cultivate gardeners, grow food and nourish community. DUG offers neighborhoods the essential resources for community gardens, including ongoing technical expertise with:

  1. securing sustainable land for gardens;
  2. designing and building gardens;
  3. supporting garden organization, leadership, outreach and maintenance;
  4. utilizing gardens as extraordinary places for learning and healthy living; and
  5. linking gardens with related local food system projects and policy.

We currently operate over 165 community gardens throughout Metro Denver, including more than 40 school-based community gardens. In addition to building and supporting community gardens, we operate DeLaney Community Farm, the Master Composter Training Program, the Master Community Gardener Training Program, the Free Seeds and Transplants Program, and provide extensive opportunities for youth education in nutrition and gardening.

History: Denver Urban Gardens was established in 1985, in order to support Denver residents in creating sustainable, food-producing neighborhood community gardens. By 1993, DUG was the sole organization responsible for coordinating 21 active gardens, and by 1997, 32 new gardens and DeLaney Community Farm were established. Within the past decade, we have created multiple ongoing youth and community education programs designed to facilitate community involvement and ensure long-term garden sustainability. In the past 31 years, our network of community gardens has grown to over 165, our youth education and community training programs have expanded to benefit thousands of underserved Coloradans annually, and we have seen through our research with the Colorado School of Public Health that our efforts have lead to tangible, positive change in community health and food security.