A 5,000-square-foot lot next to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver has been turned into an urban farm, with hopes that it will eventually be able to produce thousands of pounds of food per growing season.

An initiative which began two years ago by a partnership between the convention center’s catering partner Centerplate, Produce Denver, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Denver Seeds initiative, the food grown at Blue Bear Farm will be used at the convention center eateries and in Centerplate’s mobile food truck. Encompassing over 2,000 plantings of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, along with two beehives for fresh honey and pollination, the farm is projected to produce 1,800 pounds of food in its first year and 5,000 pounds by its fourth and fifth.

“We just think this farm-to-table concept of providing fresh produce is one that works,” said Centerplate Chef Carmen Callo. “Our cooks walk about 200 feet outside the kitchen, pick their produce, take it back in and use it to serve all of our varied guests.”

The Denver Seeds initiative promotes local food and urban gardens throughout the city. It aims to create a network of urban farm small businesses and create jobs on the local level while giving residents access to healthy and fresh food in their own neighborhoods.

“Blue Bear Farm is a perfect example of how my Denver Seeds Initiative is growing a fresh food economy that will create jobs from plant to plate,” Mayor Hancock said. “Together, through public-private partnerships like this, we are increasing the production, processing and distribution of local, healthy foods that will serve as a model for our entire region.”

Blue Bear Farm will also offer free gardening classes to city residents so that they can grow some of their own food at home.

While urban flower gardens and parks are of course nothing new in cities across the country, urban food farms are starting to pop up in vacant lots and open spaces previously left abandoned. In Detroit, a city struggling to stay alive for the last few decades, the world’s largest urban farm is in planning stages right now to take over 10,000 acres of vacant land throughout the city. Could your city be the next one to have an urban farm producing thousands of pounds of fresh local food? Let’s hope so.

Check out a video of Blue Bear Farm:

[via Denver Post]

Image Credit: MargaretNapier/Flickr