The GrowHaus: Denver marketplace creating a community-driven food system

Denver-based indoor farm, The GrowHaus, is creating a community-driven, neighborhood-based food system by growing produce, distributing food, and teaching about healthy living.

Located in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Colorado, The GrowHaus is working to make food security a reality in Elyria-Swansea through a holistic approach to addressing food access.

According to research, Elyria-Swansea, a known food desert, is the most polluted zip code in Colorado, as well as an area of marked low incomes, low education rates and low employment levels.

More than 6,500 people live in Elyria-Swansea and more than 25% of them live in poverty. About a third of the population are children.

Housed in a warehouse-style building in the centre of the Elyria-Swansea neighbourhood, The GrowHaus is home to a hydroponics farm, an aquaponics farm and several other small-scale agriculture operations.

The hydroponics farm holds 5,000 square feet of growing space and produces about 1,200 plants per week, and the aquaponics farm is about 3,200 square feet that produces nearly 1,000 plants per week, as well as cultivates fresh fish. The GrowHaus is also home to a micro mushroom farm, chickens and a seedling start nursery.

The GrowHaus works to provide fresh and healthy food at a low price to local residents and the greater Denver community. The non-profit organisation does this through three food distribution programmes – food boxes, the GrowHaus Market and Cosechando Salud, a no-cost food pantry and cooking class.

While ensuring that people in the neighbourhood have food to feed themselves and their families, The GrowHaus is insistent on educating the people of Elyria-Swansea on how to grow produce, inspiring future generations to become involved in food cultivation.

The GrowHaus’s ultimate goal is for the staff to be replaced by residents who can move the organisation forward on their own – and for the greater good.

Coby Gould, co-founder of The GrowHaus, said: “When we started on this journey, we said our intention was to work ourselves out of a job, and that this would be run by residents. It is still very much the intent.”

“Our goal is every neighbourhood has its growing hub where the community is producing its own food and their is a more shared responsibility of where their food is coming from.”

The GrowHaus

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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