Community Roots: The Next Frontier for Supplying Local Food

Finding space for one large community garden is not the only option for producing your local food. Community Roots, in Boulder, Colorado, has another creative approach to feeding your hometown.

Kipp Nash links the productive capacity of suburban yards in his Boulder neighborhood to grow enough crops for a CSA. Nash and his group of urban farmers are currently cultivating thirteen gardens in the South Boulder area.

Two churches and eleven families offer their yard space in return for a share of the combined harvest. People who want to partake in the CSA without offering up a lawn pay approximately four hundred dollars for a pile of veggies and fruit that is delivered once a week throughout the five month growing season. Surplus vegetables are sold at the Boulder farmers market or donated to the hungry.

In 2009, five low-income families received a free share in the CSA. Another twenty five families bought a share from the multi-plot farm. “It’s much more than just a producer-consumer relationship. It’s an opportunity…I want to start encouraging people to work together in producing food, sharing food and creating community around growing food,” Nash told the Daily Camera. According to Boulder’s local newspapers, many happy neighbors are excited about the program’s potential, voicing appreciation for the opportunity to learn gardening skills, leave the lawnmower behind, and eat food that supports alternative means of transportation (Nash rides his bike to the different plots around town). “He has changed my life. I now have all of this lush, delicious, gorgeous, mouthwatering food right outside of my door,” says next door neighbor Camille Hook. This momentum is inspiring cooperation between Nash and neighborhood gardeners from other regions as well.

The Community Roots team also helps people implement the neighborhood supported agriculture model across the country. People who are interested in establishing their own “NSA” can participate in an apprenticeship program and develop the necessary skills for a successful enterprise. Apprentices learn everything involved, from start up costs to marketing and planting crops. Further afield, the organization hopes to tackle climate change and dependence on industrial agriculture, promoting urban farms through a Community Roots Institute.

This post first appeared at Food First, AKA the Institute for Food and Development Policy – which works to eliminate the injustices that cause hunger.

photo credit: istock
By Heather Quinlan


Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec5 years ago

Hooray Community Roots! Hooray for community gardens! Hooray for neighborhood supported agriculture! Go gardens!

Sue Picco
Sue Picco5 years ago

We've had a wonderful garden this year and even planted a quarter acre of soybeans and sunflowers. The benefits are getting the land in shape, getting ourselves in shape and having enough dried beans to start making our own soy flour! Even if you just plant radishes or lettuce in a container garden-- it's worth it!

Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec5 years ago

Bravo urban farmers! Gardens are good for the community and the people.

Vilislav I.
Vilislav I.6 years ago

thanks for the information

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat6 years ago


Peter Finn
Peter Finn6 years ago

As I continue to translate the 1570s'writings on agronomy i discover we have not been blessed with the finer details inherent in these early studies and given that most of the surviving works are guarded in Libraries and Miseums it begs the question "What is really being concealed in these writings" I have discovered the first reference to the expression "BUY One Get One Free" and this is from a 1568 expression coined in Occitan which i'm sure any supermarket chain would love to make reference to in their publicity showing a caring and interested supermarket. So the ideas that survive are only those that were championed loudest but there are a myriad of ideas still waiting to be discovered its only time and these books which are the obstacles .Si look out in your library or museum for that obscure gardening reference or technique which is still waiting to be reinvented Since it seems we are only now coming to accpet the idea of communal gardens as if we invented them in the last few decades How strange really when it has been around since weel before the 16th century. This also applied to communal areas for cooking bread which we have since delegated to the baker , and its delegation which has created dependance none moreso that dependance on Supermarkets which even 40 years ago were a novelty. We need to revert back.

Philippa P.
Philippa P.6 years ago

Community gardens are very popular in Vancouver, British Columbia. From our elevated LRT it is easy to see these patches of veggies and flowers dotting everywhere.

Erin R.
Erin R.6 years ago

Good article!

Erin R.
Erin R.6 years ago

Do you grow your own vegetables (or some of them?)

Some of them!

Dawn D.
Dawn D.6 years ago

Very cool. There are community gardens here in Austin. I enjoy haunting the farmer's market for local fresh produce as well.