The Denver farmers market now spans the entire city, taking the urban farming movement to an entirely new level. Earlier this month, the city council approved an amendment allowing city residents to sell the fresh produce and “cottage foods” that they grow and make themselves, straight from their homes. This means that groups meeting in the mile-high city can expect fresher, closer food than ever before.
“Denver has always been known as a city that appreciates ‘farm-to-table’ and using fresh produce and locally sourced foods, but this new law creates a whole new level of urban farming that will allow the city to become one big farmers market,” says Richard Scharf, president & CEO of Visit Denver.
The amendment went into effect on July 18, allowing residents with permits to sell raw and uncut fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that are grown by the seller in an on-site or community garden; whole eggs produced by chickens or ducks owned and kept by the seller at home; and “cottage foods,” which are low-risk unrefrigerated food products, such as spices honey, jams and baked goods, made onsite. Residents can sell from inside or outside their home daily from 8 a.m. to dusk and can sell up to $5,000 worth of goods a year.
While the change will surely add to Denver’s locavore appeal, urban farming is not a new concept for the city’s convention industry. The Colorado Convention Center opened Blue Bear Farm two years ago on the grounds of the convention center. It currently produces 5,000 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices used in the convention center’s kitchens. Now meeting planners can also expect these same fresh ingredients in almost every restaurant in the city.
“Many city restaurants have already put in their own gardens and farms, and now they will be able to buy vegetables, eggs, jams and fruits grown right in the neighborhood,” Scharf added.
Apart from bringing fresh foods to city residents and visitors, the new Denver farmers market is also intended to bring everyone access to affordable foods, as well as help with community building via increased neighbor-to-neighbor interactions. The change will also help meet the city’s sustainability goals by reducing the distance that food travels from farm to table and will help to create supplemental income opportunities for families seeking greater economic self-sufficiency.