Adams, Denver and Jefferson counties work together on food security

They’ve got support from a big state grant.

Onions and beets for sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens' farmer's market inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Onions and beets for sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens' farmer's market inside the Wellington Webb Building downtown. July 19, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver and two of its neighboring counties will use a $2.1 million state grant to improve food security across the region.

Mondi Mason, food policy program administrator at Denver’ Department of Public Health and Environment, said Friday that some of the money from the state health department’s Cancer, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease Grant Program will be used to fund promising pilot projects envisioned by community groups in Adams, Denver and Jefferson counties. Some will support projects already underway, she said.

County public health experts, who expect to work with a half dozen communities during the three years of the grant, are ready to listen, not impose ideas, Mason said.

“We’re really trying to be equal partners in this process,” she said.

The first community planning meeting is set for April 4 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library on East Colfax. That area near where Denver meets Aurora already has community gardens and corner shops that sell fresh produce, Mason said.

“It’s an opportunity to build on what we already know … and envision what would this look like in three to five years and beyond,” she said. “It’s really about working closely with communities to further build out their food environment.”

Strategies and goals highlighted in Denver’s neighborhood planning process could strengthen the project, Mason said.

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