The GES Neighborhood’s First-Ever Food Forest is Officially On its Way

By Ana Varela

Neighbors and partners met March 6 at the recently acquired site for a food forest at 4790 Josephine St. The group looked at the empty lot together to gain a more clear sense of the forest’s boundaries and where trees, shrubs and paths could go. The group then walked down the Josephine Columbine ally and around to Focus Points where the meeting continued inside. Refreshments included hand-made nopales salad, potato gorditas, nuts, apple and pear slices, and large bowls of jujube fruit and raspberries – all examples of ingredients that can be grown on the site.

Discussion flowed freely about which trees, bushes and other perennial plants – plants that come back year after year – might be a good fit for the food forest in our Denver climate. Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), a nonprofit organization that “provides access, skills, and resources for people to grow healthy food in communities and regenerate urban green spaces” will be the tree-planting and long-term maintenance partner for the project. Suggested trees for the food forest included pear, apple, cherry and more.

Neighbors with questions about how fruit from the trees would be safe to eat if the soil was contaminated were assured by DUG that not only do toxins stay in the tree trunk so that the fruit is clean, although washing the fruits is necessary, but also that recent testing showed the site is not terribly contaminated after all. 

DUG described ways to get involved, including their “tree keeper program,” through which any neighbor can sign up to learn skills about planting and maintaining the food forest. Large papers with an outline of the property were spread out on a table for neighbors to leave ideas for where trees, walkways and other plants could be planted.

Upcoming volunteer opportunities for the food forest at 4790 Josephine St. include a ground soil preparation day on April 19 and a tree planting day on May 1.

While Tierra Colectiva officially purchased the land on March 5, fundraising efforts continue in order to help cover an estimated $10,000 for a water tap and $10,000 for irrigation.

You can learn more about the food forest and how to support it To send your tree or forest naming suggestions, or to get involved with the food forest or other GES Coalition and Tierra Colectiva projects visit

Ana Varela is an Elyria resident and the communications director for the Tierra Colectiva and GES Coalition. You know her as our monthly Spanish translator for the GES Gazette. You can contact her at 

1 Comment

  1. That’s exciting news about the food forest! Thanks for sharing. I hope to participate in the soil prep day.

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