In many ways, farming is about the future. One plants seeds, knowing growth may not be seen for many months.
The City of Lakewood, Sprout City Farms and Kaiser Permanente looked to the future on Sept. 28, by hosting a volunteer day with Kaiser employees at the Mountair Park Community Farm.
“It’s amazing to see what a community garden can do for the community,” said Mayor Adam Paul as he kicked off the day. “We’re grateful to you guys for coming out. What makes Lakewood great is partnerships like this.”
About a dozen Kaiser employees spent the day at the park planting a new berry patch and painting a mural on one of the farm’s walls.
The farm was started in 2014 as a part of the 20-minute neighborhood initiative, which is funded by the Denver Regional Council of Governments and focuses on enhancing the neighborhood around the Sheridan transportation hub to help make the community safer. The food grown at Mountair is distributed through a Community Supported Agriculture program, and residents participate in workshops, schools programs and cooking demonstrations.
“We’re in our third season at Mountair, and people are starting to feel really welcome at our farm,” said Katie Huszcza, Sprout City’s Mountair Farm manager.
“This is a long-term project for us, one we’ve been chipping away at for a while,” added Laura Lavid, Sprout City’s executive director.
Under flawless blue skies, Kaiser employees stood out against the browning landscape in their neon green T-shirts. Half the employees handled the mural painting, the other had the chance to get dirt under their fingernails planting raspberry plants.
The is the second autumn Kaiser has spent a volunteer day at the farm. Last year employees planted trees.
“I’ve been with Kaiser for about four years, but this is the first time my schedule worked out to where I could participate,” said Jacob Wager, Kaiser’s government relations liaison. “It’s a great opportunity to spend a day out in the community.”
The day is a win-win for everyone — the farm receives some care, and Kaiser gets to help the community firsthand.
“Days like this really fit with our mission,” Wager said. “Healthy food is so important for healthy living.”