Dec 31, 2015

A Year of Growth

A Jovial Day!
A Jovial Day!

2015 was a year of growth in several ways for us at Jovial Concepts. With our gardening program in it's second season, we expected to make some strides but none of us could have expected this. Your support has allowed our program to evolve, and while we are constantly refining it we cannot help but be ecstatic about the results.

Our mission is to create accessibility to high quality food for those in need and to unify communities around the common goal of creatively increasing resource independence, and the numbers say we are doing just that. In 2015, we tended to 7100 sqare feet of lawn, backyard and other public space. This was supplied by several members of the Lakewood and Edgewater communities. With the help of over 400 volunteers, who donated a total of 2,065 hours this season, we were able to provide 4022 pounds of fresh produce for donation to local food banks and people in need. But we provided much more than just volunteer opportunities and fresh produce. When polled, 84%of participants said they had a new understanding about managing organic waste and supporting local food insecurity through participation in our program.In effect, we use the gardens to provide classes and job training which support overall community growth.

While we are encouraged by our progress, there is still much work to do when it comes to fighting food insecurity in Colorado. We are continually looking for ways to reach out and see where else we can help. For example, in honor of World Food Day we partnered with a local organization, ACS Community Lift, to hold a Fall Festival with the goal of spreading our message to the community. With the help of 33 volunteers we were able to serve an organic meal and hold a backyard produce cooking demo. We even got local hero, Dj Cavem, to come out and perform some of his original work promoting a healthy vegan lifestyle for our 127 attendees. 

For our efforts, the City of Lakewood has chosen us to represent sustainability locally. As a champion of sustainability for our community, we would like to set our goals even higher for the next year. We want to expand into new neighborhoods and have at least 50 gardens and over 12,000 square feet of space to tend to. With that increase in space, we hope to double our production and donate 8000 pounds for needy populations. But we cannot maintain our momentum without your continued support. 

If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved please email info@jovialconcepts.org or call 303-578-2569

Thank you for your support of Jovial Gardens!

Fresh Food For All!
Fresh Food For All!
Dec 17, 2015

Winter Wildlife Wonderland

Vista Peak
Vista Peak

When Kyffin Elementary's second and thrid grade students Lynn and Robby (all names have been changed for privacy purposes) were asked how they could change the world, they decided to take the challenge one step further and design a fully execuatable community project. These Kyffin Students in partnership with community parent liasons found Jovial Concepts via google and recruited us to help their dream to feed local families become a reality. Over 80% of students in their school are part of free and reduced lunch programs and struggle with the idea they may not go home to dinner.

Lynn boasts that she will cover the cost of the garden by creating a small student run business. She sees a seasonal food stand that offers student grown organic produce at a fraction of the grocery store cost. "My food stand will allow my friend's parents to buy them vegitables" says Lynn.

The funding we have recieved so far is not only going to make Lynns school garden a reality but is also revamping the garden and grounds at Eagleton Elementary school as well. To make things more exciting, these projects have recieved additional funding through a Jamba Juice school garden grant. Their grant provided us the materials and tools for one student run garden bed! Of course, to make Lynn's market a reality we will probably need to build closer to 12 beds, but it is a wonderful start to success.

Eagleton Elementary has also reached out for our help, Principle Lilly envisioned an area where students could learn about a wide array of produce, herbs, fruits, and local plants. To accompany their renovated garden space, Jovial Concepts is installing an ALL LOCAL Colorado Plant Wildlife Habitat. The theme is "Hummybird Garden" and we will grow many gorgeous local plants that invite butterflies and hummingbirds to play in the garden. Each plant will be labled and the gardens will support teachers in completing common core cirricula.

Worm
Worm
kids
kids
Oct 6, 2015

Bolstering Our Presence In The Community

Fresh Produce For All
Fresh Produce For All

Hi! Today, I would like to take the time out to introduce you to one of our newest team members, "Sara."(name changed for confidentiality) Sara is a freshman at Denver University where she is a member of the Environmental Studies Living Learning Community. She hopes to use her background in Biochemistry combined with her volunteer service with us, in order to prepare herself for a position in Peace Corps, as it is her dream job. The Living Learning Communities at DU are groups of students who upon enrollment agree to live together, take classes together, and even participate in community service together. We are very gracious to be partnered with them, as they have provided us with three extremely enthusiastic interns including "Sara", whom we have empowered to develop a community composting initiative with our help.

Partnerships such as these are vital to sustaining a community gardening initiative. With limited staff, it can be quite challenging logistically to manage close to 40 gardens. However, with continued backing from our gracious garden hosts, the outlying communities, and local institutions/organizations we have made it work quite well. For this garden season alone, we have provided over 4300 pounds of food for local food banks: 2500 pounds of which was fresh produce grown at our own gardens and the rest from various community partners.

None of this would be possible without all of the support we have managed to garner over the course of the season. We have had hundreds of volunteers come out since the beginning of the season. Just this past week, we had over 50 visitors to our gardens! We facilitated Service Days for both Regis University and DISH network over the weekend. Earlier in the week, we were visited by a group of students from an alternative high school for homeless youth. Most of them had never been to a farm or garden, nor had the experience of picking their own food. It was simply enthrallng to watch as students who were proudly proclaiming their distaste for tomatoes at the beginning of the day, were clamoring about how flavorful our Yellow Pear Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes were by the end of the day. In fact, their teacher was so pleased with the experience that we have allowed them to take care of our newest beds in order to provide a longer term service learning opportunity for his youth.

As encouraged as we are by this progress, we know our work is truly never over. There are already gardens waiting to be added to fold for next season, and we will need your help to make sure we can accomodate them

If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved please email info@jovialconcepts.org or call 303-578-2569

Thank you for your support of Jovial Gardens!

Community Partners
Community Partners
 
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