US (CO): Urban farm connects mental health center with community

The Mental Health Center of Denver, Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being provides a place for community members to connect with their neighbors, learn new skills and find supports they need to increase their health and well-being. Over the last several years, Northeast Park Hill residents shared their ideas about well-being, health, education, food access, access to dental care and mental health. Building on the strengths of the community and informed by natural community leaders, Dahlia Campus offers a comprehensive array of services focused on what neighbors report they need, including food.

The project was developed in response to the surrounding community's vocal desire for improved fresh food access and local food production. This unique partnership was forged to meet those needs by transforming nearly half of the Dahlia Campus into a food producing area that will grow food while engaging the community through educational programs and volunteer opportunities. From year-round production in the greenhouse to literacy-based programs with early childhood programs to healthy food sampling, this project will be able to have an impact in the community through its diverse and collaborative partners.

The Dahlia Campus Farms and Gardens is a collaborative approach to growing and educating community members about food. The Dahlia Campus Farms and Gardens includes a one-acre urban farm, a 5,400 square foot aquaponic greenhouse, experiential gardens for children, horticultural therapy gardens, emergency food assistance and food rescue and a farmers market. This innovative project is a collaborative effort between the Mental Health Center of Denver, Sprout City Farms, Colorado Aquaponics, Children's Farms of America, People's Community Food Project, and Mo' Betta Green Marketplace.

Now the group is working to reach a broader community through a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds and continue the progress already underway. The Kickstarter campaign runs through Nov 21.

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