Many of us prefer to buy locally these days in an effort to support local farmers and help our communities thrive. Three business-minded grassroots leaders and their non-profit organizations are now coming together to connect local Colorado gardens with their neighbors in need. Hosted by the Beanstalk Foundation, Feed Your Neighborhood is a neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that encourages Coloradoans to get involved with local food, philanthropy and community. Through a variety of volunteer and donation options from March 22 – April 22, you can help support SAME Café, Grow Local Colorado or High Plains Environmental Center and literally feed your neighborhood.
Over the course of their years working at food banks and shelters, the Birkys at SAME Café saw the growing number of people needing assistance: hardworking single moms, the elderly who cannot retire, the educated and those who work 40 hours a week on minimum wage and cannot make ends meet. It is the Birkys' hope that through SAME Café they can make a difference to all who walk through the door from the person seeking help to the person seeking to help.
Dana Miller and Barbara Masoner of Grow Local Colorado love all things local. Denver natives both, the two have set their sights on growing the local community by growing food in local parks, gardens, and backyards. Their gardens–which have increased in number from three to eleven over the last three seasons and include plots in Civic Center Park–generate fresh produce for food banks and shelters all over Denver.
“Affordable, local, organic produce has been difficult to find in Loveland so my wife and I talked to the city to discuss the feasibility of starting a community garden. We envisioned the community garden as a place where diverse groups of people come together to provide fresh local produce. After discovering High Plains Environmental Center’s mission to engage the community in the natural world, it feels like we are now are embracing the community with both arms,” explains Garth Bontranger, Garden Manager at HPEC.
Beanstalk is a non-profit organization that partners with remarkable grassroots leaders, local businesses and the wider community to address local needs. Beanstalk supports “home-grown philanthropy” with consulting, funding, and social networking tools. Together with Beanstalk, The High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC), SAME (So All May Eat) Café and Grow Local Colorado have joined forces to Feed Your Neighborhood.
“We are delighted to share and support the work of these three amazing grassroots leaders and their organizations through Feed Your Neighborhood. This spring, we invite our neighbors across Colorado to learn about how they can support communities of generosity through of our friends at HPEC, SAME Café and Grow Local Colorado. This is a ‘neighbor-to-neighbor’ experience where you can choose how to get involved, make friends and see the impact of your contribution,” says Beanstalk’s Founder Ted Stolberg.
The Feed Your Neighborhood participating organizations have been making a strong impact on the hungry in Colorado for years. In 2010, the Giving Garden at HPEC donated over 20,500 pounds of fresh produce to the Loveland Food Bank and the Loveland House of Neighborly Services. SAME Café services hundreds of patrons each month with healthy and organic food through a “pay it forward” model, where all customers are simply asked to pay what you can, and if you can’t pay you can volunteer at the Café. Grow Local Colorado has over 40 volunteers that grow 450 pounds of food each year for Denver food banks and groups in need. The leaders driving these fantastic organizations infuse their passion into their work to ensure they help as many as they can.
Whether you would like to volunteer, donate or advocate for growing and giving local, you can join these grassroots leaders and organizations in the Feed Your Neighborhood campaign and help them continue their great work for Colorado communities. Learn more about specific projects and how you can get involved at feedyourneighborhood.org.
About Beanstalk Foundation
Beanstalk (friendsofbeanstalk.org) is a non-profit public charity that discovers remarkable community leaders and shines a light on them. We support leaders with financial resources, business relationships, and social networking opportunities, so that they can connect with their communities to raise funds, attract volunteers, and get things done. To us, strengthening a community means getting everyone involved: friends, volunteers, local businesses, and corporate sponsors.
About High Plains Environmental Center
HPEC is a non-profit (501c3) that engages developers, builders, businesses and residents in making their community a “living laboratory” that provides integrated, leading edge examples of community design, land stewardship, eco-literacy and sustainable living that are grounded in reality and replicable.
About SAME Café
It is the intent of SAME Cafe to build a healthy community by providing a basic need of food in a respectful and dignified manner to anyone who walks through the door. SAME Cafe is unique in the lack of a set menu as well as set prices. Daily selections are made using fresh, organic ingredients, and funded by the donations of patrons. Instead of a cash register, a donation box is available for one to pay what they felt their meal was worth, or to leave a little more and help out someone less fortunate. If a diner does not have sufficient money to leave, they are encouraged to exchange an hour of service. Our philosophy is that everyone, regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat healthy food while being treated with dignity.
About Grow Local Colorado
Grow Local Colorado is a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting local food, local community and local economy. The organization partners with Denver Parks and Recreation and local volunteers to convert flowerbeds in public spaces into thriving vegetable gardens. All produce from these gardens grown, harvested, and donated to shelters and food banks selected by volunteers.