Nestled at the base of the Front Range, the upper Rocky Mountain Steppe is a ecologically diverse system in which to cultivate high desert restoration sites along urban corridors. Denver is located on the traditional lands of the Ute, Arapaho & Cheyenne tribes and served as a crossroads for over 50 additional tribes who traversed the region. Today it is experiencing massive urbanization despite water scarcity. Our work here promotes dryland cultivation of native foodways and medicine paths and looks at the historical migration of plants that have arrived with waves of immigrants who have settled in the west.
The Stiles African American Heritage Gardens
In December 2022, the City of Denver’s Art & Venues program awarded us a PS You Are Here grant to establish the Stiles African American Heritage Gardens in the hell-strip surrounding the center. The project consists building and cultivating a stone crevice garden filled with plants associated with historical entrepreneurs who found early Denver a platform to thrive. In this way, we intend to bring the intentions of the center into the public sphere, expanding on the physical installation with an online component. Information on native plant medicine is paired with stories featuring Aunt Clara Brown. Madam CJ Walker got her start in Denver and developed the recipes with ingredients like rose and violets, native varieties of which are important parts of our ecology. Culinary arts will be represented by Barney Ford, who elevated western cuisine using game like venison and prairie dog to go along with the oysters he trained in from the east coast. Online components addresses issues that continue to confront African American communities and provide resources and solutions to these challenges.
2023 Saturday Afternoon Teas:
Exploring plant relationships of African Americans in the West
April 15th: Honoring Aunt Clara Brown & Plant Medicine
May 13th: Honoring Madam CJ Walker & Afro Natural Beauty
TBA – Upcoming: In collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Land Library – Book signing with Camille Dungy & her new book, Soil, The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden
The ‘Den’ on Historic Dollhouse Row
The SEED den is an incubator located on historic dollhouse row in central Denver.