Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need

by Jovial Concepts
Play Video
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need
Give Healthy Food to 462 Colorado Families in Need

We are preparing for another big season of gardening and have some exciting plans in the works. For starters, this past year we built some new connections with schools; this year we are strengthening these partnerships by providing even more garden programming for students. In addition to providing educational programming, we will be building multiple new garden-classrooms at schools for youth to ‘get their hands dirty’. There is much we can learn from gardening; not only about food production, but about insects, the soil, air and water exchange. It’s a place where students can connect with nature. Our goal is to help provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need and to educate and engage the community on gardening and sustainable practices. What better way than to build gardens and get youth involved!

Needless to say, we are quite excited about these budding partnerships and none of this would be possible without your support! We are grateful to be able to continue our mission to educate the community about gardening and healthy food.

We will also be continuing our gardening with individuals with developmental disabilities program (I/DD), our community garden outreach program, and will be hosting multiple youth and adult volunteer groups this year. We are looking to expand our outreach by working with those who are experiencing homelessness to provide container gardens, plants, and educational workshops. We will definitely provide an update for all of these programs in future reports.

Here is one short brief from last fall, about one of our I/DD workshops (with pictures attached).

The tomatillo salsa day was by far the favorite of all the groups. We did that last year and they requested it again, so that will likely be the one that we do every year while mixing it up with the others. We did plant some tomatillos this year, but they are also amazing volunteer plants that come up in old spots. As long as we cage or trellis the tomatillo plants, they thrive in our gardens whether we planted them or they planted themselves. Everyone has their own preference for spice level, so we made a mild, medium, and hot version of the salsa by making one big batch without any peppers, pouring some into a bowl, then a medium version by blending the rest with a few hot peppers, pouring some of that in a different colored bowl than the mild, then adding a bunch of peppers to the final bit and blending it up for the brave souls who can handle the hot version and putting it in it's own specially colored bowl as well. Some who don't typically eat spicy food decided to be adventurous and try a tiny bit of the hot version, which was very inspiring! It was a wonderful opportunity for our gardeners to enjoy the fruits of their labor through a fun and relaxing workshop. It was a great change of pace and an opportunity to change up our routine.”

Wherever you are located, we wish you well with an environmental full of healthy plants, many laughs, and good times.

I/DD garden workshop
I/DD garden workshop
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Youth Garden Workshops
Youth Garden Workshops

It has been quite a busy season with lots of growing all around.

Your support this year has been integral in helping us reach new communities. We have been able to provide over 70 workshops this year and have hosted a cumulative total of 250 programmatic gardening events from gardening with individuals with developmental disabilities, to building gardens with school classes and providing hands-on gardening education to youth in Denver.

I would like to share a few stories and pictures from this year’s busy season with you.

This spring, we worked with an elementary school class to revitalize a few vacant garden beds which had gone to hard-pan. The afternoon was full of broad forking the stubborn, dense soil, followed by amending and planting all with a healthy dose of scouting and identifying bugs in the garden. To share a personal memory from this day, there was one boy in particular who was quite energetic with enthusiasm to spare, even after running between the series of garden beds all afternoon; at the end of the day, as the teachers were taking the kids back indoors, he exuberantly proclaimed that this was his ‘Best Day Ever The Entire Year!’. This to me this is what it’s all about, helping to bring the experience of gardening to Denver youth.

We were fortunate this year to be able to bring on a full time School-Garden liaison to help support outreach. With this extra support we were able to begin partnering with a daycare facility. We constructed and planted three raised bed gardens, and then provided workshops once per week to the kiddos. During one workshop, we planned an activity with worms – we provided red wigglers and nightcrawlers and counted them, measured them, and lastly placed them all around the garden beds. At first, some of the youth were afraid of the worms, calling them snakes and staying far away; by the end of the day, all of the kids were eagerly jumping in to help the worms find a carefully selected home in the garden beds.

We maxed out all of our gardens in the community by beginning early this spring with a series of cold season vegetables followed by the planting of warm season starts and then filling-in as needed late this summer with another round of cool season crops. This mixture of plants allowed us to grow in the early cold spring months and is providing a little boost of a harvest now in October. We write a weekly blog during the growing season for anyone who is interested in learning more about Jovial Concepts or gardening in Colorado! You can follow us by signing up for the newsletter at the bottom of our homepage: https://jovialconcepts.org/

Following this year’s hot summer, fall is predicted to last a bit longer than usual and we intend to make use of every moment before winter weather stops our gardening for the season. This past week (Oct. 1), we harvested over 100lbs of produce from our Saturday garden activities; this fresh organic produce is weighed and then provided to a Denver food bank. You can bet our garden team will keep at it as long as possible!

In other news, Jovial Concepts is in the process of moving to a new hub location! This will provide us with an opportunity to build a long-term facility where we can provide hands-on education about gardening, healthy food, and share sustainable food access with a broader audience. I am excited to share more with you all next year!

Warm regards from the Jovial Team!

A bountiful harvest this summer
A bountiful harvest this summer
A youth gardening workshop
A youth gardening workshop
Gardening with community
Gardening with community
A garden this early spring full of lettuce
A garden this early spring full of lettuce
Renovating a school garden
Renovating a school garden
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Thanks to your support, this spring season has been full of building new connections, renovating old garden beds that had previously become sueper weedy, and planting new gardens. This spring, we really focused our efforts on rebuilding connections with schools partners and renovating old garden beds.Snapshots from our spring have been attached below.

If you were in the region this past month, you might remember the surprise snowstorm where temperatures dropped from 80F° to ~33°F with wet snowy precipitation in the span of 24 hours! Our garden team and garden hosts scrambled to cover our tender warm season plants (like tomatoes) to protect them from the snow....And after all was said and done, I think we might have lost one tomato from the whole crop that had been planted in the weeks before! I definitely consider that a success.

A few weeks after this surprise snow day, Paige (a garden manager with Jovial Concepts) and I found ourselves renovating three garden beds at a local elementary school in Denver (pictures below). We taught the kids about planting, broadforking, renovating soil; we looked at worms and spiders in the soil, and overall had a lot of laughs. It was a blast to have the opportunity to bring a variety of healthy vegetable plants to a space which had been overgrown with weeds all spring. In the following days, we repaired the deteriorating irrigation system for these beds which will make managing the garden over summer much easier. We will be maintaining these gardens throughout summer break so that the class can come back to a lush vegetable garden ready to be harvested in the fall. This summer, produce from these gardens will be donated to local hunger relief organizations.

This is one of many connections that we have rebuilt this year and I can say that our team is very excited to continue developing partnerships and sharing the bounty of gardening knowledge and building new organic gardens in the community.

To describe a few of the images below, the picture titled 'renovating garden beds' is a snapshot from a recovery center where an incredible team partner and Jovial have been rebuilding a huge garden plot - this picture was taken in early spring but the space is now full of tomatoes, squash, tomatoes, pepper, cabbage, onion, garlic....and we even renovated a side area to plant squash and watermlon!

This is going to be a bountiful year of harvesting thanks to your support.

With warmth and kind regards, happy gardening this year!
- John

renovated garden beds
renovated garden beds
weedy landscape
weedy landscape
garden planting
garden planting
plant sale/giveaway
plant sale/giveaway
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
leafy leaves
leafy leaves

Our warm weather this fall provided Jovial Concepts with a wonderful opportunity to more thoroughly explore the end of season harvest with volunteers and friends from Revel, Laradon, and Activity Options. We discussed the process of putting the gardens to rest for the season with a hands-on activity where we talked about plants’ life cycle and shared the importance of seed saving with volunteers. This was followed by the planting of cover crops, and winter crops which will be ready for harvest in the spring. The warm weather allowed us to make multiple days out of this broad lesson and incorporate a secondary project, detailed in the next paragraph, as opposed to quickly wrapping up after an early fall snow which would have provided a definite end-cap for the season.

This past quarter, Jovial Concepts undertook a campaign to inform our community about the benefits of not raking up fallen tree leaves. Leaf litter is home to many important insects in our ecosystem, and these insects provide our bird population with plenty of food. Allowing your leaves to decompose also naturally provides vital nutrients to the soil, improving the health of your lawn and garden landscape. It also reduces the carbon impact associated with transporting leaves and landfills.

In addition to speaking with our community, we provided a location where leaves could be dropped off and reused; with the help of our volunteers, we used these donated leaves to cover our Jovial Garden beds this past fall. In total through canvassing, we reached 250 neighbors, many of whom were excited to learn about the benefits of leaving their leaves on the ground and not bagging them. By the end of our campaign, we had received over 90 bags of tree leaves and calculated that this project saved over 1200lbs of leaves from being sent to landfills. All the while, this material provided an excellent opportunity to connect our community and more efficiently use our resources.

Our hope is to encourage our community to become more sustainable, and make real change in a small amount of time. We do this through education and by connecting our community and establishing more sustainable practices. We want our actions to become established practices in our community, and this is at the center of everything Jovial Concepts does. From our lessons about seed saving with volunteers, to garden and food systems development, to community engagement, we want to create healthier, more robust, and better connected communities. We have many plans for 2022, and many opportunities to do just this.

Happy 2022 everyone!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Revel In Life at Jovial Gardens this Summer
Revel In Life at Jovial Gardens this Summer

This report is for the third quarter for the Jovial Gardens Initiative with Jovial Concepts.

Dear Friends,

The number of community members we are able to serve continues to grow with your support. We have established gardens in Barnum, Edgewater, North and South Lakewood, and Wheat Ridge, and our Gardening with Disabilities program has continued to strengthen its partnerships with Revel, Laradon, and Activity Options. Combined, so far in this 3rd quarter, our harvest from the Jovial Gardens has totaled 2736 lbs. Thanks to your support, our community based gardening initiative was able to donate literally over a ton of fresh produce to local community members in need.

I want to share one experience this fall that has really stuck with me. On multiple weekends this fall, we had a young volunteer come out to help harvest and tend some of the gardens with us. We had the opportunity to introduce this volunteer to the world of fresh vine ripened tomatoes and garden grown produce. This was their first time trying a tomato from the vine and there was some uncertainty about the entire process and about the bugs which flit about the garden. During our outings, we observed and discussed bees and pollinators and were able to show them that bees will leave us alone if we leave them alone... and that nothing beats a vine ripened tomato! Our team provides an environment where volunteers and community members can have a hands-on gardening experience at a comfortable pace and with personal guidance. This is an engaging experience that we wish to bring to more residents in the metro area, and to people who may not have had the opportunity to garden in the past. We are able to do this and reach our community in this way and provide such engaging experiences due to your support.

This quarter we had a good deal of fun and incredible participation with our Wednesday and Thursday Gardening with Disabilities groups from Revel, Laradon, and Activity Options. It truly is a blast to work with such a fun group of kind and enthusiastic individuals. In this coming year, we are looking to expand our Gardening with Disabilities program to Mondays and Tuesdays so that we can invite a Public School’s transition group to also garden with us.

I am excited to report that our community connections are growing rapidly. We have developed a Sustainability Committee that includes members of the public and which is focused on supporting community based gardening and conservation. We will soon be canvasing to encourage our community to compost leaves this fall and to raise awareness about using leaves as a great source of organic matter for gardens and landscapes.

With your continued support, we are looking forward to increasing the number of garden beds that we manage next season. We will be constructing a few additional beds this fall and will likely be growing our team next year as we bring on some new neighborhood gardening leaders. We have a wonderful team and despite challenges in these past two years, our connection with the community continues to thrive.

With warmth this fall and winter,
Your Jovial team.

A successful harvest with a young volunteer
A successful harvest with a young volunteer
A volunteer having a great time at the gardens
A volunteer having a great time at the gardens
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Jovial Concepts

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @jovialconcepts
Project Leader:
Kristina Welch
Denver, CO United States
$38,811 raised of $80,000 goal
 
687 donations
$41,189 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Jovial Concepts has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.