DENVER – Today, Bruce Randolph School in DPS celebrated the grand opening of a hydroponic farm inside the school. This is the second school-based garden/farm at the school.
Through a partnership with Teens for Food Justice and a $500,000 Healthy Foods for Denver’s Kids grant in addition to $1.14 million in bond funds approved by Denver voters in November 2020, students are growing as much as 1,000 pounds of fresh produce every month from the indoor hydroponic farm. Attendees of the grand opening were able to enjoy food that was prepared from the first harvest.
“This is another example of how partnerships between DPS schools and local, state, and national partners can benefit both the school and our community,” said DPS Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero. “The Bruce Randolph students are learning about urban gardening while providing fruits and vegetables for the school and their surrounding community.”
The communities around the school are among the home neighborhoods that Bruce Randolph School serves and are located on former Superfund sites designated for cleanup of hazardous material contaminants. Because of concerns regarding arsenic and other pollutants in the soil, traditional gardening efforts are challenging. It’s also not something many of the kids have done before due to living in an urban community.
A previously constructed outdoor, above-ground garden and the new hydroponic farm inside the building will provide fresh produce for the school and the community. A greenhouse is scheduled to be completed later this summer.
About Teens for Food Justice
Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) operates high-capacity hydroponic farms on five school campuses across four New York City boroughs, with multiple additional farms in development across the city. It has now expanded nationally with the opening of its first school-based farm in Denver, Colorado. TFFJ students use real-world 21st-century science and technology to grow up to 12,000 pounds of hydroponic produce per school annually. Through the program, TFFJ’s farmers develop a meaningful solution to food insecurity, transform their relationship with the food they eat, and develop cutting-edge STEM skills needed in a new green sector economy. The TFFJ program is scheduled to launch in Miami, through a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 2022 and a second Denver farm is scheduled for 2023.
About Health Food for Denver’s Kids
Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids (HFDK) Initiative proposed to increase taxes to establish a fund for healthy food and food-based education for Denver’s youth. The ballot measure was approved by 59% of voters on November 6, 2018, and went into effect in January 2019. The 0.08% increase in sales and use tax within the City and County of Denver is expected to generate approximately $11 million dollars annually and will sunset after 10 years. Funds will be collected from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2028, and distributed by Dec. 31, 2029.