By Alyssa Harding

Cultivate, educate, and serve the community; these are the main goals of urban agriculture. Whether you have a green roof, are just growing in a small space, or are part of a co-op, urban food initiatives solutions can provide you and your community with providing local, healthy, and sustainable food options.

Demand Towards Sustainable Food Choices

There are over 100 community gardens in Denver alone, and that number continues to grow as neighborhoods shift their demand towards sustainable food choices. In Boulder – which is one of the most environmentally progressive cities in Colorado – there’s an organization called Growing Gardens that manages around 500 individual community garden plots in various locations throughout Boulder County.

According to Growing Gardens’ website, each individual is assisted by a resident Garden Leader who helps new gardeners manage Colorado’s dynamic seasons. The community garden provides tools and water for its members, and also hosts a variety of classes that not only help with gardening, but also integrate beekeeping and aquaponics in order to give participants a chance to create their own micro system.

Community Garden Urban Food Initiatives

Joining a community garden typically costs $15 to $50 depending on the size of the plot and where it’s located. In order to yield a productive plot, new gardeners should focus on maintaining a rich soil that is high in organic matter, which can be done with an annual (or more frequent, depending on your environment) addition of compost or other organic materials.

Millennial Magazine - sustainable-garden

There are definitely some rules associated with growing in a community garden, however. Plots are usually on a first-come, first-serve basis, and most places will have you put your name on a waiting list a growing season or two before you begin planting. Also, members of the garden who participated during the previous growing season tend to have first pick of the garden. As a member, you have to keep your garden planted, weeded, and composted according to your community garden’s specific regulations.

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Potting soil, organic additives and other fertilizers range from about $10 to $40 depending on the amount and quality of the materials, but overall it’s relatively inexpensive and fairly simple to start a plot in a community garden.

Even if you lack the space or experience, growing your own food can be made easy and fun by joining a local urban food initiative. Get out there, plant yourself some dinner, and help your community become more sustainable!

This article originally appeared on PowerHouse Growers.