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Garden outside Denver police station will feed community

A local nonprofit is working on a new project to help end food insecurity. The Table Urban Farm has been growing food in Denver since 2012. All the food is donated to the community, and it's grown in unsuspecting places, like outside a Denver police station. 

Since there is a limited number of plots in the city, The Table Urban Farm often partners with homeowners who allow them to use their yard space to grow vegetables. 

Their latest urban garden in Denver's College View neighborhood is sharing land with the Denver Police Department. Co-director Jeanine Kopaska Broek knew the land at Clay Street and Warren Avenue had potential. 

"I was driving in the neighborhood and looking for a space. When I saw this land, I thought, this could be possible," said Broek. "It took me about a month to get up the courage to go inside and ask. They just were so enthusiastic."

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Denver police says building an urban garden on the property is good way to positively connect with the community and serve those in need. The plot can grow 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of food that'll go home to local families. 

"Very close to where the hub of our organization is the Overland neighborhood. It's a food desert, which means there's not a grocery store within a mile of that space," said Broek. 

She says officers have already offered to help maintain it. Even ones who've hung up their uniforms. 

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Retired officer Allison Casias grew up nearby and served her city as an officer in District 4. She's volunteering with the garden. Casias and her mother brought cardboard to the site on Friday. 

She medically retired from DPD following two brain surgeries. 

"For some reason, the 'individual upstairs' kept me around for something. Maybe it was to help others and to give back to the community," said Casias. 

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Broek says gardening could even help the wellness of officers on the job. 

"We know that growing food and having your hands in the dirt and tending something is very calming. It builds resiliency and it really does help people with their mental health," said Broek. 

The garden will be ready for planting next year. 

The Table Urban Farm is always looking for people willing able to share a portion of their garden to support their mission of feeding Denver. 

For more information visit: https://bit.ly/3DSpTex

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