Just in time for Earth Day 2022, Colorado State University’s Department of Construction Management’s CM Cares Program delivered 10 garden boxes to families in two Denver neighborhoods that are in a food desert, which is defined as an urban area without abundant sources of affordable fresh food. Globeville and Elyria-Swansea are some of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods, with industrial roots that predate the 1900s.
The Globeville/Elyria-Swansea historic neighborhood in Denver, annexed to Denver in 1902, is approximately 3.144 square miles with a population of about 7,000 representing close to 1800 households. It is bordered by the Platte River on the west, E. 40th Street on the south, Colorado Blvd on the west and the Denver County boundary with Adams County to the north (about E. 54th Avenue).
Partnerships for success
CSU Construction Management students from the U.S. Green Building Council Student Group built the raised garden beds for families in the neighborhoods that surround CSU Spur, part of the National Western Complex, also located in the Denver neighborhood. This project is part of a partnership with CSU Spur, Colorado State University Extension, and local nonprofit Growhaus food distribution program.
CM student and USGBCSG president Cayden Fish led the garden box build, with materials donated from Swinerton, and was part of the team that delivered the boxes. Students regularly comment that the community service aspect of service-learning makes the most impact, and shapes their overall college experience.
Of his own experience, Fish said, “This project has provided me with a unique opportunity to lead a community service initiative. Although coordination, construction, and delivery of these boxes have been labor-intensive, it has been a rewarding and educational experience. Involvement in projects like this highlights the good that still exists in a hectic world; it is inspiring to see many people come together to help one another.”
In addition to the garden boxes the families will be equipped with the soil, seeds, and gardening instructions in both Spanish and English to begin growing vegetables. A service day will be held in May to plant the garden beds.
This latest CM Cares project embraces one of the department’s values to care for our community, with the goal to promote the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability with special emphasis on community, healthy living, and human equality.
Previous partnerships between CM Cares and CSU Spur included several CM student club organizations assisting with small projects that improve the lives of residents through the Denver Extreme Community Makeover.
CM Cares, Colorado State University’s Department of Construction Management’s community service-learning initiative, has completed over 30 projects throughout Colorado over the course of eleven years with the support of donors and alumni.