GREELEY, Colo. — With the unique situation of the global pandemic that began back in March, many CSU Extension staff shifted gears to create the Grow & GiveTM program. This program took the idea of the victory garden and modernized it for 2020 by creating a comprehensive, statewide horticulture initiative focused on helping people grow a food garden and donate the produce locally to address food insecurity. The program registered almost 600 gardens across 37 counties in Colorado, with participation from individuals, Master Gardeners and community-run gardens.
During the Grow & GiveTM program’s pilot year, there have been over 1600 reported donations across the state, totaling more than 40,000 pounds of produce! In addition to all of the amazing donations that were spurred by the program, the organizing team created several new resources for participants to help them with their ‘growing and giving’ questions and needs. To learn more about the Grow & GiveTM program, visit growandgivecolorado.org.
One particular garden in my home county deserves some serious recognition for their past and present involvement in growing food for donations and their participation in this year’s Grow & GiveTM program. The Treasure Island Demonstration Garden donated over 5,580 pounds of produce over the past few months, all donated locally! Although this wasn’t their first year growing food for donation (they’ve been doing that for over 10 years), it was the first year they had to do it while dealing with restrictions due to the pandemic.
Treasure Island Demonstration Garden, conveniently located along the Poudre River Trail in Windsor, is visited by thousands of pedestrians and cyclists each year as they pass by the long garden area. The garden started 13 years ago as a side project for a small group of Weld County Colorado Master Gardeners. In their first year, they grew lots of pumpkins to get the garden up and running. Since then, the garden has grown to be an attractive and educational landmark of the town.
Today, Treasure Island is home to several garden sections including a very large vegetable garden, kitchen garden, dahlia garden, ornamental grass garden, memorial rose garden, a crevice garden and several mixed perennial gardens.
The vegetable garden has really been thriving this year, with an abundance of crops such as cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, onions, and tomatoes and peppers of all kinds! All of the fresh produce is donated to the Windsor Food Pantry for distribution throughout the area to those in need.
We are so proud of Windsor’s volunteers at the Treasure Island Demonstration Garden and their continued efforts to help their local community! The Treasure Island Demonstration Garden is located at 1560 7th St. in Windsor, Colorado.
— Amy Lentz, CSU – Weld County Horticulture Agent
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