Press Releases: Colorado
May 20, 2010
Denver Botanic Gardens and Kaiser Permanente Plant Seeds for Healthy Eating
First-of-its-kind Community Supporting Agriculture program will bring fresh local produce to more Colorado families
DENVER — Denver Botanic Gardens and Kaiser Permanente are kicking off the growing season with a brand new Community Supporting Agriculture program. The garden will be introduced to the community during a planting celebration on May 20, where students from Primrose Elementary School in Lone Tree and volunteers will help plant the garden’s first crop of peppers and tomatoes.
Made possible through a three-year, $500,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente, the CSA will operate as a community farm at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield — located at C-470 and Wadsworth Blvd. in Littleton. Shares of the CSA are sold to members of the public who then receive portions of the garden’s fresh produce during the harvest season, from June through October.
This new venture marks an important milestone: The Gardens is the first botanical garden in the country to operate a CSA program of this scale. This partnership is also believed to be the nation’s first CSA collaboration between a botanical garden and a health care provider.
“We’re excited to bring the CSA model to Denver Botanic Gardens. This will truly be a first for the world of public horticulture,” said Leigh Rovegno, manager of the CSA at Chatfield. “On a larger level, we’re proud to be partnering with Kaiser Permanente on a committed movement toward healthier eating.”
In its first year, the Chatfield CSA will serve approximately 65 families who have already signed up for the program. In addition, a percentage of the fresh produce will be donated to local food banks in the Rocky Mountain region. There are plans to expand the garden next season to allow for additional CSA memberships.
”We know that what you eat is the single most important factor in good health,” said Donna Lynne, DrPH, president, Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving the health of our community, and by supporting the CSA at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, we are not only creating a new source of fresh vegetables for families, we’re making more people aware of the benefits of healthy eating.”
HEALTHY FOOD FOCUS
Finding new ways to provide access to healthy foods is more important then ever, as the nation’s obesity rate continues to soar. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about a third of all children in America are overweight or obese. In Colorado, which is often considered one of the “leanest” states for adults, nearly 30 percent of children are obese or overweight.
Kaiser Permanente is a strong supporter of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and serves as a Founding Member of her new foundation, The Partnership for a Healthier America. The First Lady’s initiative addresses the obesity epidemic by educating parents about making healthy choices, improving access to healthy foods, and increasing opportunities for kids to be physically active.
THE HISTORY OF COMMUNITY SUPPORTING AGRICULTURE
The original CSA model was developed in Japan in the early 1960s by a group of women who approached local farmers to grow food for their families in exchange for financial support and volunteer labor. These community farms came to be known as teikeis, which translates literally as “partnership” and philosophically as “food with the farmer’s face on it.” In the United States, the first CSAs were formed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1986. Since then, the CSA movement has exploded across the country and now includes more than 12,000 farms nationwide. There are currently hundreds of CSAs in Colorado and many have long waiting lists.
About Denver Botanic Gardens
Green inside and out, the Gardens is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the United States and a pioneer in water conservation. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Gardens’ living collections encompass specimens from the tropics to the tundra, showcasing a plant palette chosen to thrive in Colorado’s semi-arid climate. The Gardens’ dynamic, 23-acre urban oasis in the heart of the city is now in its 51st year, offering unforgettable opportunities to flourish with unique garden experiences for the whole family — as well as world-class education and plant conservation research programs. Additional sites at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, a 750-acre wildlife and native plant refuge in Jefferson County; and Mount Goliath, a high-altitude trail and interpretive site on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, extend this experience throughout the Front Range. For more information, visit us online at www.botanicgardens.org.
About Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, proudly working to improve the lives and health of Denver, Boulder, and Southern Colorado area residents for 40 years. Kaiser Permanente Colorado provides comprehensive health care services to more than 500,000 members through 20 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians. The health plan was recently named “Highest in Member Satisfaction” among Commercial Health Plans by J.D. Power and Associates for the third straight year. Kaiser Permanente was also named the top-ranked commercial health plan and Medicare plan in Colorado by US News & World Report/NCQA. In 2008, Kaiser Permanente proudly directed more than $82 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/newscenter or follow us on twitter @kpcolorado or facebook.com/kpcolorado.