Next time you’re on a quick grocery run, consider how long it takes you to get to the store. On average, Denverites travel about a mile to reach a King Soopers, Safeway, or Wal-Mart. In Globeville, though, there is no large, chain grocery store. You’ll find plenty of gas stations, corner shops, or fast-food options, but a fennel bulb? No chance.
That’s something Elyria-Swansea’s the GrowHaus hopes to change. Inside the nonprofit’s 20,000-square-foot space, you’ll find a greenhouse for hydroponic and aquaponic plants. The company produces lettuce for Whole Foods and other markets, sells CSA-style fresh food boxes (customers who live in the neighborhood get a discount), and operates a daily storefront.
In addition, the GrowHaus offers food-themed educational programs and distributes donated food to families in need. Their workers sometimes wander the neighborhood handing out fresh lettuce samples to entice new customers. In all, they connect with about 150 local families each week. “The idea of ‘food hubs’ is really growing,” the GrowHaus’ executive director, Coby Gould, says. “And we see ourselves as a neighborhood food hub.”
It wasn’t easy to get the message to nearby Globeville. There’s no easy east-west access that connects the areas above I-70, so to travel between the two neighborhoods, you need to get on I-70 or loop around below the interstate. All of which ensures that Globeville’s status as a food desert isn’t likely to change any time soon.