The student publication of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado

The Arapahoe Pinnacle

The student publication of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado

The Arapahoe Pinnacle

The student publication of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado

The Arapahoe Pinnacle

ACC Students and Faculty Make Efforts to Reopen Community Garden

With warm weather slowly creeping in, Coloradans are impatiently counting down the days until they can bask in the sunlight. Like Coloradans, plants also love to soak up the rays, and what’s a better place for them to do that than in a community garden? Of course, the plants can’t always take care of themselves, so that’s where volunteers come in. Directly behind the Fitness Center in the Annex Building at Arapahoe Community College sits a small plot of land where a garden once sat. Due to coronovirus lockdowns, the garden was no longer tended to, but through the efforts of several ACC students and faculty members, this green space will soon be opened yet again.

Bringing gardens to the community
In 2010, several student volunteers, faculty members, and friends from the Littleton community pitched in to install the school’s first community garden.

“I noticed that the garden was demolished and expressed my concern about losing such a vital community piece,” Biology Faculty Professor Nia Bauer said over email. “I was a part of the initial installation of the community garden in 2010. This grew out of a student club, the Sustainability Club.  We raised funds, and accepted donations to get it together. We even had a build day where the ACC community came together!”

ACC volunteers and nearby residents get together to open school’s community garden in 2010. (Image via ACC Biology Professor Nia Bauer)

A quick hiatus, then back in action
Like many other projects, the community garden was shut down due to Coronavirus lockdowns. Years passed, then in the fall of 2023, Apprenticeship Program Manager for Health and Public Services Keysha Boggess took part in the ACC Leadership Academy.

“I worked with Cynthia Koenck, the ACC Grants Development Director, to apply for a grant through the Colorado Garden Foundation, and we were awarded $15,000,” Boggess said in an email. “That will go to installing a fence, ground cover, 22 raised beds, and supplies.”

Additionally, the garden will feature 22 plots, some 4×4 and some 4×6. People will be able to manage their own plot or join in with others. Later on, the garden will have some perennial plants around the borders and feature a few fruit trees and vegetable plots. Then the gardeners will have the option to donate any fruits and/or veggies to ACC’s food pantry.

ACC’s not alone
As spring slowly arrives so does the warm weather, which in turn brings out Colorado’s many gardeners. With around 200 community gardens throughout the Denver area, Coloradans love using their green thumbs to make our state the beautiful home that we know and love.

Organizations like Denver Urban Gardens are leading the way with their 200 community and school-based gardens and 20 food forests across six counties. In late 2023, neighborhoods in West Denver were also awarded a $500,000 grant to start urban gardens and food forests. With these ventures, ACC’s community garden is in great company in their effort to bring more color to the neighborhood.

Gardens are important

Gardens aren’t just for beautiful flowers, but are a great meeting place for pollinators like bees, moths, butterflies, and some small mammals. These garden visitors don’t just eat the nectar from the plants, but also unknowingly carry the pollen to other gardens to aid the life cycle of various plants. ACC’s community garden will be an important puzzle piece in this greater biosphere.

“I hope that the garden is a place where people will be able to gather and spend time enjoying nature. We will be able to offer community education classes for people to learn everything from soil management to growing a salsa garden,” Boggess said over email.

Boggess also has high hopes for the future. “I’m excited for future events that can take place through the garden, like a seed swap at the start of the growing season, to outdoor classroom education,” she said. “Gardeners will have the option to give back some of what they’ve grown to our ACC food pantry. The options for use and collaboration are endless and I’m excited to see how it grows!”

Not quite there yet

The community garden is still in the planning stages, and it isn’t yet known when it will be open, but ACC faculty and students alike have high hopes for the project. With various vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, and perennial plants all eagerly waiting to settle in to their new home, it’s expected that the future of ACC’s community garden looks very bright.

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About the Contributor
Cody Knudson
Cody Knudson, Reporter
Having spent half of his life in Nebraska and the other half in Colorado, Cody is a homegrown Midwesterner. He is currently studying Journalism and is working towards becoming a movie critic.
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