What We Do

GROW FOOD

At our urban garden and at all of our gardens, we grow delicious produce using regenerative methods and high altitude growing techniques. We start seeds in February indoors then move the young starter plants into greenhouses after up potting. When the soil thaws, we direct sow seeds and plant potatoes in raised beds. After the threat of frost, we transplant starts into covered hoop houses and cold frames. Rotational plantings occur throughout the summer and in some beds we harvest as many as four crops of lettuces, spinach, kale, peas, arugula and Swiss chard. We feed our soil compost teas and top dress with local amendments. Regenerative methods, using only organic inputs, sequester carbon and leave the earth healthy and vibrant. Our urban farm is an oasis for birds, butterflies and other pollinators. We sell our produce through our CSA and donate food to local food pantries.

BUILD GARDENS

Our food system is built from the soil up, literally. Because topsoil is thin on a granite mountain, we build our soil from scratch. The black gold soil in our raised beds is an alchemical masterpiece, created through a labor of love. Mycology, biodynamic, organic and regenerative methods inform the process. We build living soil and feed it so it may feed us.

Because vegetable gardens are a novelty high in the Rockies, we build them. Raised beds with hoop houses protect tender sprouts from cold temps and heavy snows. Cold frames and greenhouses extend the short growing season and capitalize on Colorado bluebird days with ample sunshine. We demonstrate these different types of garden infrastructure at our urban farm and help others develop gardens. We help people set up gardens, build their soil, and learn to grow.

EDUCATION

Traditionally, vegetable gardening is not a part of mountain life. Yet we have technology to grow both indoors and outdoors, year round. Victory Gardens hosts classes and workshops on high-altitude growing. We are available for consultations to help set up your garden, design your greenhouse, and help source seeds. We are here to help you become more self-reliant and grow your own food. We help individuals, businesses, and schools grow their own food.

Contact us to help you with your garden.


Why We Do It

Growing Food at Altitude

Grow vegetables at altitude

We believe local food security begins with local food production. This can be done anywhere: at home, on business property, at schools, on government property, etc. We encourage everyone–private citizens, organizations, schools, local businesses, and Town officials–to grow food and get involved in this community-wide initiative. Growing at elevation has its challenges, but it can be done. For more information, please go to the articles on the “Resources” page. We at Victory Gardens are available for free consultation on how best to grow food according to your specific situation.

Building Local Food Systems

Build and promote local food systems

This requires building relationships within the community among farmers, citizens, businesses, schools, and Town officials. They key is connecting consumers with locally produced food. This can take a number of different forms: home gardens, direct sales, grocers and restaurants, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), value-added products, etc. Every community is unique, and its food systems should develop according to its specific needs and resources. We favor a community-wide approach that rewards the vision and initiative of local entrepreneurs.

Creating Markets and Economic Opportunities

Distributing plant starts at a local fleamarket

In Nederland and environs, we see market opportunities in the following areas: building infrastructure, composting and soil, dairy production, grain production, sales, value-added products, etc. As time goes on and community food systems develop, other opportunities should present themselves. Victory Gardens is committed to creating economic opportunities in the community (especially for young people) as a way to support the local economy.

Education and Information Sharing

Education and information sharing

Part of our mission is to be a resource of information for the community. This website is designed to facilitate that goal. (We invite you to visit the “Resources” page for more information about growing food and building food systems.)
Thanks to the vision and generosity of Lyn Hanna, Victory Gardens operates a bio-intensive “urban farm” on W. 3rd Street in downtown Nederland. We intend for this to serve as a demonstration facility where local residents can visit and learn about growing food. To advance the goal of education, we encourage local schools to become involved in this community-wide effort.


Our Projects

To build local food systems, we develop partnerships with businesses, schools, and other nonprofits. In 2020, we partnered with TEENS INC. to build raised beds, a pollinator garden, and a compost station at their Nederland location. From produce grown at our garden farm, we donated hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables to the Food Pantry and two other food banks. We also advised local homeowners in their efforts to build backyard gardens.

Teens, Inc./Chinook West

Chinook West is a fully accredited contract school housed in the Teens Inc. facility in Nederland. A non-profit organization itself, Teens Inc. provides youth services in the greater Nederland community.

With funds provided by both Victory Gardens and Teens, Inc., we completed a six-week educational class with Sandy Chervenak, science teacher at Chinook West, in which students learned about building garden infrastructure and growing food. By the time the course ended on November 1st, the class had successfully built a compost station, four raised beds (including soil), and a pollinator garden. By all accounts, the class was a tremendous success. Now, we want to develop the operation further so that students can learn about soil ecology, botany, nutrition, tending a vegetable garden, and preparing the harvest to distribute to local families in need.

It was such a blessing…

“It was such a blessing to have Victory Gardens come help Teens, Inc. to get a garden set up! Not only did they help us do the work, they gave tours to our high school students and taught them how to garden, use tools, and get a compost pile going. We will not only have a garden for generations to come where the community can come for food, but they continue to inspire local youth to live sustainably and continue gardening.”
Sandy Chervenak, Science Teacher, Chinook West High School

Assisting homeowners with their gardens and compost

Karelle, a long-time resident of Ward, has gardened at her high altitude property for 20+ years, carefully building soil from compost and worm castings and growing an impressive variety of vegetables. She’s reached the age where more and more tasks are harder to do and in 2020, amid a pandemic, she despaired of being able to complete, by herself, all the modifications and repairs that were needed on her garden and compost infrastructure.

She and Victory Gardens pulled in 6 volunteers, armed with power tools and strong backs, and they completed the necessary repairs in an afternoon. She now enjoys a 3 chambered compost bin, a cleared flower garden, and repairs to her main fenced garden. She added cured alpaca poop to the garden’s soil and some raw-ish horse manure to the 3rd chamber of the compost system, to mix in with the kitchen waste to enhance its microflora and to discourage bears.

Thank you for your help!

I couldn’t have done in 3 seasons what we accomplished in one afternoon!
Karelle Scharff

Consultation

Volunteering was a wonderful experience.

Volunteering with Victory Gardens in Nederland was a wonderful experience. Their efforts reach beyond their flagship garden, empowering our community to strengthen our self-reliance and sustainability right from our own home, no matter the yard size. Jim’s onsite visit last summer to help me plan out my own Victory Garden was so beneficial. I look forward to putting those ideas into action this spring!
Sarah Bishop