Oct 13, 2017

Economic Advantages

Farm stand
Farm stand

Jovial Concepts in partnership with Plant the Seed Project and Denver Urban Gardens is proud to announce that with the support of our generous donors we have been able to successfully incorporate a youth farm stand at Eagleton Elementary School!

You can visit our youth farmers every Friday at Eagleton Elementary School from 3-6pm and purchase your fresh organic produce! This has been a great opportunity for our students. Molly is more openly speaking to others, she greets parents and shoppers with a huge smile and eagerly tells them about everything that grows in the garden. 

She is learning how to run a business, basic customer service, cash handling, and many practical life skills along with the many nutrition and garden benifits our programs offer. Molly has become a pro with our microscopes and has big ambitions to work in a non-profit someday to help farmers and families likes hers. 

We have over 12 youth participating in our farm stand and green house seed-to-table program. 

Recently we have become partners of DPS and Slow Food Denver and are excited to see where these partnerships will lead in 2018. We invite you to Join the Discussion on Oct. 21st at the Co-op at 1st which is offering a free meal while exploring the future of food in the Denver Metro. 

Seats can be reserved here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-recipe-for-change-tickets-37699205338

Thank you again for all your support and we hope to see you soon. 

farm kids
farm kids
signs
signs

Links:

Aug 28, 2017

Let it Rain!

Before Surgery
Before Surgery

Hello Jovial Friends,

As you may recall, over the last few years we have highlighted the story of one of our first garden hosts Mandy and her son Dakari who suffers with several digestive disabilities. This week, I had the privilege to work with Mandy on creating a free food pantry at our new office. A play on the little free libraries, this food pantry encourages folks to leave what they can and take what they need. As Mandy painted the pantry in the most beautiful and inviting colors, she opened up to me about some of the progress with her son. 

Dakari has had an IV line into his stomach since birth that provided the nutrition to off set his whole food diet. This has been a constant source of stress for the family as any small infection in the IV could cause serious complications for Dakari, including death. Yet, surgery after sugery, over these last 4 years Dakari has proven to be a resilient, happy, and amazing fighter. Finally, last month, Childrens Hopital decided to remove the IV. Imagine, at four years old, for the first time being able to play in water and dance in the rain! 

We could not be more overjoyed for Dakari and his epic summer of Elitches' Water Park and running in the sprinklers with his brothers for the first time! I asked Mandy if she felt being a part of Jovial Concepts and hosting a Jovial Garden at her house has had any impact on her experience and her sons health.  As your donations have directly helped shaped this story as well as Mandy's ability to provide fresh whole foods to her sons from her backyard, I requested she put her answer in writing so that I could share with you. 

From Mandy-

"Being a part of Jovial Concepts these past 4 seasons has been a wonderful resource for sustainability and teaching my children how to grow their own food. My boys have loved working with volunteers and helping out when they are gardening in our yard. In the past three years our family has experienced a huge financial loss with the birth of our third son who has severe and multiple special needs.  During the summer months it's been amazing to use food from the garden to supplement his special diet and provide him with nutritious fruits and veggies. My son is now 3 1/2 years old and he is doing better than we ever expected and thriving off of whole foods and some supplemental tube feeding. He is now growing without the tube and he is about to start preschool, he is the happiest most joyful child I have ever known. I owe a lot of his, and our family's progress, to friends and community and especially the generosity of Jovial Concepts and it's amazing volunteers. Words cannot express how much I appreciate Jovial and their program"

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and donaions. It is your generosity that gives us the ability to change lives one vegitable at a time. This summer we are in need of more volunteers and are seeking funds to grow into 3 more neighborhoods in the spring. Our gardens have aready produced just under 1,000lbs of produce this year and, like Dakari, are loving those afternoon rain showers!

Join us, every Sunday from 9am-1pm

We meet at the new space

"The Co-op at 1st"
5045 W 1st Ave

Happy Harvesting from the Jovial Crew!

After
After
First Rainstorm
First Rainstorm
Then
Then
Now...Veggies1
Now...Veggies1
Jul 10, 2017

Cultivating Career Choices for Cierra

As a young woman of color in America, Cierra faces several challenges on a daily basis. Especially when it comes to economic security and education. Even though she is only in fourth grade, this harsh reality can be hard to ignore when the median household income in your neighborhood is less than $9000, less than 25% of your classmates are meeting expectations on standardized testing, and the nearest grocery store is more than two miles away. While these may not seem correlated, how can we expect someone to meet expectations for attaining education when basic nutritional needs are constantly ignored? Living in impoverished communities and especially food deserts like Barnum, where Cierra lives and goes to school, there always seems to be limited options. 

But that should not be the case, nor does it have to be. Women of color will soon make up more than 50% of the female population. If we do not prepare them with education and other training opportunities, we are perpetuating a disservice onto them and our communities as a whole. By providing innovative options for school programming, we not only diversify a child's education, but furthermore provide them with a shot at self-sufficiency if not social mobility. With our garden classrooms and Plant The Seed Project, we aim to do just that. Not only do we teach youth how to grow food but we give them the notion that they can be involved in the food system. This active involvement provides more than a mere introduction to urban agriculture, but the availibility to take ownership through development of a craft. Also by using tools, such as the microscopes, hydroponic towers, and vermiculture bins, we can help students such as Cierra develop a comfortability that they might not otherwise have with scientific instruments through first-hand exposure. 

To learn to appreciate the depth of knowledge you can obtain from a microscope and see a future in a lab, you must not only demonstrate proficiency but allow the students to get a feel for the precision of using the instrument themselves. We want them to go home feeling like they can contribute in a positive way to their community, not only this afternoon but for the forseeable future. Cierra and students like her, need to craft a new narrative about their communities. One that involves them and furthermore has them ushering the way toward a more sustainable future. They can only do so, if we provide them with the resources to.

That goes far beyond teaching them to grow their own food in different media, and showing them how to monitor for change. Which we recognize. We will need to empower them to feel as if they can make lasting changes. Cultivating a curiosity for an otherwise foreign topic, not only opens up their scope of knowledge but provides to opportunity to pursue what could be a potential passion or career path. With your help, we can steer Cierra and young girls of color throughout Denver towards agriculture, technology, or science in general

 
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