The GrowHaus

Naropa’s “Community-based Learning and Action” course has participated in service-learning activities at the GrowHaus for the past two years. The GrowHaus is a nonprofit urban farm and market in northeast Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood whose mission is to grow healthy community through food access, production and education.

Students participated in discussions about food deserts, food justice, and food security while learning about the growth and development of a local social enterprise. The GrowHaus operates on a ‘triple-bottom-line’ model, incorporating the core values of environmental sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability.

Student Reflection

“Today at GrowHaus we talked about the invisible web of structural violence. I loved this discussion because it is at the heart of the current Occupy Movement that is beginning which I envision as a complete restructuring of our world and the web of oppression. At The GrowHaus they are undertaking a humble and yet vital process of educating and empowering some of the web’s victims.

In the stench of the Purina dog food company, under the shadow of a freeway and in the midst of an economically and socially sick region of Denver, Colorado, a small group of young people have renovated an abandoned flower distribution warehouse to grow lettuce . . . I left with a sense of hope.

The reasons for this emotion are not rooted in logical analysis or left-brain statistics but in an internal and intuitive sense of insight that I felt and still feel. The task that The GrowHaus has undertaken—educating and empowering the underprivileged to gain more control of their food supply—is part of a much larger movement that includes food security but which is also inclusive of an entire structural shift.

I feel hopeful about The GrowHaus because there is a global social current sweeping away an unjust and unsustainable system, and every day more and more people are waking up and joining that forceful current. The GrowHaus is one of millions of tributaries that make up the river of social change . . . To see a real world example of one of the tributaries is what gave me so much hope today in Denver.” —Jacob Camara, PAX 250 blog, October, 2011