Our current focus areas include: Air, Climate, Energy, Food, Land, Water, and Youth. Unlike other environmentally focused organizations, GWD builds and maintains meaningful partnerships with residents, businesses, other nonprofits and City agencies to deliver our programs in lower income communities.
Climate Safe Neighborhoods (CSN): As a part of the CSN Partnership, GWD explores the relationship between historical race-based housing segregation and the current and predicted impacts of climate change. Through this partnership GWD is able to work with residents, stakeholders and other local nonprofits to move forward initiatives to mitigate problems caused by the extensive impermeable pavement and sparse tree canopies in these areas. Some of these initiatives include installing rain barrels and planting trees.
Energy Programs: The energy program offers a unique strategy to engage low-income and elderly residents with assistance to reduce their energy bills. Community volunteers go door-to-door offering free Energy-Efficient lightbulbs while introducing residents to our energy program and the benefits of an energy audit. Income qualifying households are then provided with a free energy audit, where GWD’s trained Energy Specialists perform an assessment of the home’s energy efficiency including insulation levels, air leakage (draftiness), and furnace safety and efficiency. Once the assessment is complete, the auditors identify one to three major priorities, and then the generate a cost-benefit snapshot along with next-step recommendations.
Groundwork Greens: In 2014, GWD opened a hydroponic greenhouse called Groundwork Greens. Groundwork Greens reduces the negative effects of urban food deserts by providing healthy and affordable local produce to various Denver communities who do not otherwise have access to fresh produce. Over 15 varieties of seeds are grown in our 1,800 square foot space, producing around 10,000 lbs. of food every year. Groundwork Greens directly supplies the residents in the surrounding neighborhoods with fresh produce through our weekly Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) Boxes.
Fresh Food Connect: GWD partnered with the Denver Food Rescue and the Denver Urban Gardens to produce a web-app called Fresh Food Connect (FFC). FFC was designed to reduce food hunger and address food waste in urban food deserts. This is done by collecting excess garden produce from urban gardeners and then distributing the fresh produce in various neighborhoods facing food insecurity.
Platte Farm Open Space Project: Platte Farm Open Space is a resident-led, brownfield to open-space project in the Globeville neighborhood. GWD has acted as a liaison between the Platte Farm Open Space steering committee, property owners, and Denver’s Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure the residents voices are heard. Landscape architects, environmental consultants and survey experts have helped us conduct our due diligence while implementing Platte Farm Open Space project. Construction began on the site in the fall of 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in late summer 2020.
Urban Waters Initiative: GWD and community members developed and are continuing to implement a watershed plan for Bear Creek, host volunteer activities to improve riparian corridors, and improve access to the South Platte River from the surrounding neighborhoods. In 2019, GWD hosted a volunteer river clean-up and a tree planting event, and youth installed and maintained 23 rain barrels and one rain garden on private property.
Youth Employment: GWD supports the development of environmental and community leaders through job training, internships, and volunteer opportunities. The Green Team Program provides low-income teens and young adults with the opportunity to learn new skills, earn income, and improve their own communities. The goal of the program is to introduce urban youth from Denver's lower-income neighborhoods to a wide range of environmental and conservation careers while building environmental stewardship, developing leadership skills, and providing economic opportunities.