Fall Reflection: Cultivating Hope

As we approach the end of the 6 month growing season in the near desert that is Colorado, it is time to reflect on “the season” that has nearly passed and start planning for 2023. So much more to do. So much more food to grow. So many more people to support. So much more soil to heal. So many more connections to foster. So much hope to cultivate.

2022 has been a busy year for Denver Urban Gardens (DUG)! In addition to building 2 new gardens, bringing us up to 192, we have been pursuing our BIG ROCKS: Food Forests for All, Grow a Green Workforce and Dig Deeper in Denver. Each rock has rolled a bit further down the road this season…

What’s a Food Forest? It’s essentially a glorified orchard. Fruit trees and perennial bushes and vines intentionally planted in guilds. An approach that we believe will work well in our harsh, semi arid climate.

  • By adding food forests to our gardens, we are adding much needed shade, increasing biodiversity, capturing carbon and helping enrich the soil to retain water and nutrients.
The Barnum Orchard


  • The DUG Corps was established in 2021 to provide boots on the ground (or hands in the dirt) to catalyze community building and provide support to our 17,000 gardeners.
The 2022 DUG Corps Class

Last but not least, DIG DEEPER IN DENVER.

  • DUG’s BASELINE INFRASTRUCTURE INITIATIVE (BII) continues as a critical element of our work to ensure all gardens in our network equitably resourced to thrive.

Things are not going to slow down in 2023 as we continue working on each rock, ever-evolving and improving our systems and processes and integrating JEDI practices into all we do as we amplify the impact of our work to better serve our community.

And as we DIG DEEPER IN DENVER, specifically:

  • We are planning THREE NEW COMMUNITY GARDENS: A purpose built garden for Firefly Autism in Lakewood, our 1st new free standing food forest in Denver’s North Side and a revised and revamped garden in Aurora designed in partnership with the Denver Permaculture Design Course which has been run through the DUG office this year.

I gotta say — the work we do at DUG fills me with enthusiasm, pride and joy. And, most importantly, HOPE. In the words of Lao Tzu, “As long as we have hope, we have direction, the energy to move, and the map to move by.” We, at DUG, have HOPE in spades.

DUG gardens are beacons of HOPE.

The DUG Team outside our office in RiNO, Denver



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The Appel Tree by Linda Appel Lipsius

Innovator | Entrepreneur | Evangelist. See things differently, seek healthy debate & inspire others to push their boundaries to reach their potential.