Revision International helps turn Denver’s urban garden crops into cash.
Denver’s Revision International might subscribe to the “slow food” philosophy—a grassroots movement that advocates eating in a way that nurtures community and environment—but the nonprofit’s growth has been anything but plodding.
Launched in 2009 in southwest Denver’s Westwood neighborhood, Revision tackles obesity and limited access to nutritious foods by empowering families to grow produce in their own backyards. Today, the organization supplies seeds, plants, compost, tools, technical assistance, and support to 200 households in 12 contiguous Denver neighborhoods; another 100 families are on the waiting list.
And, thanks in part to a recent grant from the Slow Money Alliance—a Boulder investment group that has poured some $30 million into conscientious food-related businesses around the country—Revision is currently developing a for-profit co-op that will aggregate extra produce from backyard gardens and urban farms to sell at a low price to residents in the 12 neighborhoods it serves.
Revision won the grant at this past spring’s Slow Money National Gathering, which brought international investors and food activists to Boulder. The convention culminated in a showcase in which 25 food entrepreneurs pitched their initiatives to potential investors. Revision beat out the competition, including six other Colorado organizations, to claim the $50,000 prize.
The Slow Money award also aided Revision in collecting $60,000 from other investors. A $300,000 three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant came along around the same time. This influx will allow Revision to build a processing facility that will let residents create shelf-stable goods such as jam and canned tomatoes—a move that will take slow food beyond the garden and straight to the bank. slowmoney.org, revisioninternational.org
To support the Denver food community, invest with your local Slow Money chapter (slowmoney.org), check out Revision International’s Facebook page for volunteer opportunities (facebook.com/revisioninternational), or simply shop your local farmers’ market or participate in a CSA.