25% or more of the produce grown on all our farms is donated back into the community to social service organizations through Healing Foods. Some of the organizations our Healing Foods program works with include The Community Table (Arvada Food Bank), Commún, and Kaizen Food Rescue.
Pay What You Can Farmstand (SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID-19)
All of our farm stands have historically operated as pay what can stands in the communities near our Celebration Gardens and Sister Gardens locations. We invite our community to purchase top quality, fresh picked produce and to pay what they are able. Payment is intimate and as private as possible in order to uphold the dignity of those we serve. This process invites all our community relatives to make their own food choices regardless of the money they have. FrontLine Farming is partnered with Nourish Colorado, allowing us to offer Double Up Food Bucks for any customers receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) benefits.
No Cost Grocery Program
No cost grocery programs are an important way to address the major gaps in the city’s food redistribution as many brick and mortar food pantries are not located within the same neighborhoods as those who use them. There are also other barriers such as ID requirements, language differences, and the overall quality or nutritiousness of the food. Through a partnership with the Denver Food Rescue, our farmers and volunteers rescue produce and other food items from Whole Foods and Save A Lot once a week and set up a pick-your-own pantry or bring this produce to a partner food pantry. Through this program we play a role in addressing those facing substantial challenges with food access year round, whether or not we are currently harvesting on our farms. We also use this opportunity to build bridges to our farm sites for those unfamiliar or unaware of this community resource. Lastly, this program also engages in responsible food system practices as we work to reduce food waste in our city.
In 2017 we served over 3,700 participants and redistributed over 40,000 pounds of food.
BIPOC Beginning Farmer Apprenticeship Program
Frontline Farming’s Apprenticeship Program is a path for beginning to intermediate Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) growers who want to gain the fundamental skills needed in the movement toward personal and communal food sovereignty. We provide a culturally supportive and immersive environment for community, education and advocacy. It is our hope and determination to heal the pain and trauma from years of being subjected to systems of oppression throughout our historical bondage and use the knowledge of our ancestors to reconnect to the land for nourishment and reparations.
This program provides land-based skills to empower leadership as growers and as food activists for the participants and their communities. The training will go over farm planning, soil renewal and deep personal reflection as we affirm historical divorce from the land and reignite our cultural connection to the earth.
Educational Partnership and School Visits
We have been fortunate to provide education and share knowledge with a range of age groups. We host student groups from preschool to university aged and adult learners for on-farm education. Currently, our higher education partners are University of Colorado's Master of the Environment Program, University of Denver's Ethnography Lab, and various classes from Naropa University. Additionally, our farming staff visit local K-12 schools to bring farming and food equity to classrooms around the Denver metro area.
We believe that farms in urban centers do best when they are active and living parts of a community. All of our farmers are specifically skilled in volunteer management. It is important to include volunteers in planning and execution phases of community projects and we rely on these helping hands to increase our production. Working with volunteers must be mutually beneficial and foster a relationship that makes them feel valued and that they are gaining technical skills. It is also important for the farmer to work with volunteers to accomplish greater productivity on the farm. All of our farmers work directly with groups of young children, high school and university students, corporate groups, volunteer organizations, and countless individuals.
Monthly Class Series
For the past three years we have held a monthly class series at Sister Gardens with a sliding scale, nobody is turned away, pay set up. The classes follow relevant gardening topics with the season. In 2017, our Cultivate Health neighborhood healthy living coordinator conducted a survey for community members to let us know topics they were most interested in and we directed our classes to meet those interests. We learned for the 2018 season that many people were interested in herbalism in particular and so we included an ‘herbalism from different perspectives’ series into our monthly classes. In 2018 we expanded to offer garden based classes for adults at Celebration Gardens and we created programming for children’s garden based education on Saturday Market Days.