The creation of community gardens yields benefits far beyond their yield in vegetables. Community gardens serve to beautify neighborhoods; enhance community engagement; provide nutrition; engage youth; connect people with nature; and a bounty of other benefits.
EAS+Y is proud to have been involved in the conception, design, funding and construction of two community gardens (to date) in the mountain area: the Evergreen Community Garden at Buchanan Park and the Buffalo Park Community Garden. More information about each garden is provided below.
The Evergreen Community Garden at Buchanan Park
In 2013, Evergreen Park & Recreation District approved the creation of a community garden in Buchanan Park, in a very small plot that had been used for storage near the ball fields and Buchanan Recreation Center. The garden was completed with funding from Great Outdoors Colorado as well as with the help of smaller grants from the Colorado Home and Garden Show and the Evergreen Rotary. With this garden, Evergreen joins our neighbor communities such as Genesee, Idaho Springs, Kittredge, and 18,000+ other communities across the U.S., offering residents a place to grow that’s protected from wildlife and doesn’t violate HOA constraints on fencing or gardens….and is a beautiful space to grow, or just to stroll by and admire the handiwork of our neighbors and friends.
The garden is located just west of Bergen Parkway, approximately 1/4 mile north of the Buchanan Recreation Center.
The garden plots have been fully subscribed every year since the garden opened. Gardeners report a high degree of satisfaction with the garden. Based on an annual survey of the Buchanan Park Community gardeners, in addition to gaining new gardening skills, the gardeners report an increased sensitivity to our fragile environment (94% survey respondents), increased involvement in our community (88% respondents) and more time spent outdoors (81%).
Plot sizes in this all-organic garden include smaller 5′ x 16′ beds, larger 10′ x 16′ beds, and 5′ x 16′ raised beds. All plots are full for the 2017 growing season, but a wait list is maintained. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join the wait list for a plot.
Buffalo Park Community Garden
The Buffalo Park Community Garden celebrated its first harvest in 2016. This Community Garden is located on Wilmot Elementary School property and is shared between Wilmot, Evergreen High School and resident gardeners. High School and grade school teachers are actively utilizing their garden plots for a variety of science-based curriculum as well as inspiration for writing, art and mathematics classes.
Funding Grants Received from Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Home and Garden Show Inc., and Rotary Club of Evergreen
Read this exciting article published in The Denver Post’s YourHub announcing over $55,000 in grants received from these organizations for the development of the garden:
Overview of the community garden project
This presentation, adapted from one given to EPRD in 2012, gives a great little overview of the Buchanan Park project. Click the “four-arrow” icon in the lower right to see it full-sized (and just hit your ESC key to return to this page):
Frequently asked questions about the garden
Why do we need a community garden?
The Buchanan garden is a beautiful amenity for Evergreen residents who are interested in growing fresh food, herbs, and flowers for themselves and for their families. It provides a safe, fenced area to garden to those whose HOAs may not allow fences, sheds, and certain kinds of plants. In our health-conscious community, the garden is a gathering place where residents can not only garden, but also learn about proven, successful growing techniques in our high-altitude climate. With it, Evergreen’s Buchanan garden joins 18,000 other community gardens across the country, including local neighbors Idaho Springs, Kittredge, Mt. Vernon, and Genessee.
Where is the Buchanan garden located?
The garden is located at the Fahnenstiel homestead in Buchanan Park, not far from the Buchanan Park Recreation Center and ballfields. It takes up only 1/3rd acre of the Park’s 66 acres (less than 1/3rd of a baseball diamond) and is situated between the two old farm sheds that drivers/walkers see from Bergen Parkway.
Why was this location chosen?
The Buchanan garden is successful because it was placed in an area where people already play, socialize and associate with physical activity. This site also has great garden characteristics (excellent sun and soil, and available water) and is located on the historic Fahnenstiel homestead site. It is close to schools, retirement communities, HOAs (most with covenants requiring architectural review of fencing and prohibitions on sheds), and Buchanan Park Recreation Center, a mecca for physical activity and connection.
What did this cost us? How much did my taxes go up?
EAS+Y did not ask for any direct taxpayer dollars from Evergreen Parks & Recreation District (EPRD). Funding of the site construction was almost exclusively from private donations and fundraising efforts. EPRD had been asked for the following:
- A 5-year Cooperative Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding (to be able to use the land)
- Extension of Evergreen Metro District’s 50% discount to EPRD on water tap fees
- Collaboration to renovate sheds on historic homestead site
How many trees were needed to be cut down, or how else was the site be altered for the garden?
We did not see the need to remove any trees. The main work on the site was the removal of tons of construction trash that was stored at the site, and which has been an eyesore for local residents and park visitors alike for some time.
How were the deer and elk out of the garden plots? Was a big ugly fence necessary?
An 8-foot fence was installed. We placed a high priority on the aesthetics of the garden and envisioned a beautiful site incorporating design principles to mitigate the visual impact of the necessary deer and elk fencing. There are a number of fencing materials which are nearly invisible from a distance and when used in conjunction with other design elements create a natural, pleasing aesthetic that will fit the park perfectly.
What kind of impact does it have on the surrounding neighborhoods?
Several legitimate concerns were expressed by local residents, and we are did our best to address each of them:
Traffic: The garden utilizes existing parking areas accessible via the driveway to EPRD’s Administration and Maintenance Facilities. With the exception of scheduled work days, this garden sees 4-5 folks (maximum) working their plots at any given time. Additionally, because of central nature of this location, the garden is an easy walk and bike for many of the neighborhood gardeners.
Visual Impact: It’s important to EAS+Y that the garden remains a visual treat, not an eyesore. The garden includes a berm with native shrubs and flowers on its east side (the side facing the Trails at Hiwan and surrounding neighborhoods). The fencing scheme is as visually unobtrusive as possible, and a very clear set of garden guidelines is in place to avoid the site becoming cluttered and unsightly.
History and intended use: The Buchanan garden site was at one time a part of the historic Fahnenstiel homestead. Aside from the garden’s many benefits to the community, we see it as a way to partner with EPRD to preserve and renovate a portion of this historic property.