In September of 2013, the Colorado Front Range experienced a 1-in-1,000 year flood, causing shortages of food, water, and fuel in Nederland. Concerned about the threats posed by climate change and a precarious global economy, two local residents resolved to make Nederland a more resilient community. They decided to start by building local food systems.
When Victory Gardens was formed in 2015, its mission was to increase local food security by growing food on scale, developing partnerships, and providing educational services. As directors, we envisioned a grassroots effort that involved the entire community. We made public presentations outlining the benefits of local food systems, hosted community meetings, and published an educational website. We proposed launching a local farmers market, reviving the dormant community garden, and building economic relationships. Since then, much of this has come to pass, thanks to the efforts of the entire community.
All the while, we grew food at the Nederland Library, the Community Center, and on private property, selling and donating our produce locally. Then, in 2018, Lyn Hanna offered her property in Nederland to be the permanent home of Victory Gardens. In 2020, with the support of grants, we donated hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to three local food banks.
What motivates us is the belief among citizens that what we do is important. People respond to delicious nutritious food, to pollinator gardens full of butterflies and hummingbirds, to the feel of rich soil in their hands. They understand the ecological and economic challenges of our time, and they want to do something about it—to get their lives in line with what they know to be real. They want to have hope for a better world, and a belief that their work has purpose and meaning.
Victory Gardens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making Nederland a more resilient community, primarily through local food production and renewable energy. We are committed to a grassroots initiative based on the principles of self-reliance, community, and sustainable living. We envision a community that directs and provides vital services related to the basic necessities of food, water, energy, waste management, medicine, and information.
We advocate a practical and common-sense approach that integrates local knowledge, science and technology, education, and information sharing. Our strategy is to begin with where we are, utilizing the material and human resources that already exist in the community. Drawing from the knowledge and creativity of local residents, we hope to build a more resilient community to meet the challenges posed by an uncertain future.
Who is Ned Victory Gardens?
Victory Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization directed by Wendy Monroe and Jim McVey. Wendy earned her B.A. in English from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She is the former CEO of Mycobiological Laboratories, LLC, and current proprietor of Native Medicinals.
Jim is a former professor at the University of Colorado. He is the author of three books including The Way Home: Essays on the Outside West.
But this is not a top-down organization. A meaningful local food system can only be sustained from the ground up. Our Board of Directors consists of three local residents. In addition, we rely upon an Advisory Board for input and insight. We also depend upon a group of volunteers who assist in a variety of work (contact us if you’d like to be included.)
By creating and developing markets in the community, we hope to provide economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs. We are especially interested in getting more young people involved. In the final analysis, a successful local food system relies on the support and participation of the entire community.