By Sydney Towns, ELK 2016 Urban Ranger
Both during the summer of 2015 and 2016, the ELK Urban Ranger group has partnered with Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms to run a farm stand at the Human Resource Office in Montbello. There are three different locations where the farm stands are located. On Mondays they are on Federal Blvd., on Fridays they are located at the Montbello Office on Peoria St., and on Saturdays they are at Union Station. These farm stands are every week from June to October. The Urban Ranger group works primarily at the Montbello Office Farm Stand. At the Farm Stand, the Urban Rangers interact with customers about our produce as well as help keep track of the cash register.
My experience with the Farm Stand has been really eye opening because of the impact it makes on the community that many of our Urban Rangers and ELK students call home. It is amazing to see many of the people in the Montbello area appreciate and take advantage of the opportunity to get fresh organic produce for a low price. The farm stand lets our customers pay in cash, credit, checks, or EBT. This makes the produce very accessible for the community. We also have our produce labeled in Spanish and English in order to reach out to a more diverse population. My favorite part of helping the Botanic Gardens with the farm stand is the look on the customer’s face when we tell them the prices. The Stand provides fresh and healthy food for families that may not be able to afford the grocery store prices. The farm stand is another small thing that I can do to give back to the community.
I had asked Janet, the Market Coordinator for the Denver Botanic Gardens, how her experience has been working at the Montbello location and she said, “The Farm Stands are a great way to help the community and I hope the word keeps spreading about them so that we can keep building the community and I would really like to see even more people come and support our stands”. Janet, like the Urban Rangers, has the same goal which is to provide the people in the Denver/Montbello area with the opportunity to have fresh organic produce. Helping with these Farm Stands has truly shown me how the Urban Rangers have an impact on our city and I think it is important to show that little things like these farms stands really do give back to what we call home. I hope that future Urban Rangers have similar positive experiences as I have the past two years working the farm stand.