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We’re thrilled to share that the Stober Community Garden, located at Stober Elementary School in Lakewood, CO, is 95% complete and taking names for people interested in plots for planting in Spring of 2022! 

Interested in joining? Contact the Garden Leaders at

Five years ago, Richard Cooper-Ribner, a lifelong gardener and resident of Applewood, first had the idea to build a community garden in the neighborhood alongside a couple fellow gardeners. He and his neighbors started a free produce market across the corner from Stober Elementary, and over time the market stand evolved, finding its new home on the school grounds to involve and engage students in the process of how food is grown.

Richard and others regularly attended the annual JeffCo Garden Symposium where they connected with educators at neighboring schools like DUG’s Green Gables School and Community Garden to learn more about their process of seeking funding for a garden through grants. 

From there, the founding neighbors brought this idea for a community garden on the grounds of a school to others within the Sustainable Applewood Neighborhood group and to Stober Elementary principal, Anne DiCola, who jumped in enthusiastically to support the project. Anne brought the idea to the JeffCo Public Schools and championed the garden as an invaluable resource for both the school and the community as a whole. By working together with community members of Sustainable Applewood, the Applewood Valley Association, Stober Elementary, and the Stober PTA, they set to work to bring this collective vision to life.

DUG was first brought to the table to support the initial design process and then later for the actual construction process.

With the support of an incredible volunteer grant writer & community member, and with significant neighborhood fundraising, the Stober Community Garden planning group secured enough funds to move forward with the build. 

When it came time to break ground this spring, DUG organized a series of workdays for the construction of the garden, while also working with the local community to support the organizational setup. Early this fall, DUG also helped to organize a workday where the Stober Elementary students helped plant cover crop seeds and perennials along with their “hopes and dreams” in the garden. 

Now that the garden has been brought to life, we caught up with a few members of the project, including Richard, as well as Julie Auch and Sarah Claus, to hear more about what benefits they hope will be reaped in the garden and the Applewood community over the coming years. They talked about how special the project has been for bringing the community together to work towards a common goal, and what it means to have a multi-generational meeting place that provides learning and social opportunities for adults and children alike. 

The Stober Community Garden had their first fall pie social in late October, and looks forward to hosting new community events including the annual seed share and produce market in the garden next year. This community is excited to see the garden become a hub for the neighborhood and to grow their green thumbs together!