Posts By Kari Keller
The onset of the economic downturn may have proven to be a blessing in disguise for one of Denver, Colorado’s poorest inner city neighborhoods. Like so many other accomplished professionals, JD Sawyer was laid off from his job as the Director of Operations for Johnson & Wales University Denver campus in 2009. With extra time on his hands and a desire to teach his three children sustainable farming techniques, JD read an article in the local newspaper about a low income neighborhood in the middle of Denver where people had very limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables – a right JD believes everyone should have.
“The article made me realize I had an opportunity to help teach people how to take charge of their own food production,” said JD Sawyer. “I realized we had the opportunity to grow food in our backyard where people needed it most.”
Colorado has played a central role in U.S. agriculture since the first permanent European settlement took root in southwest Colorado in the San Luis Valley in 1851. As if to underscore the importance of agriculture to the state, Colorado State University, the state’s only land-grant university, first opened its doors in 1879 under the name Colorado Agriculture College.
Over the past couple of decades, CSU has taken great strides to integrate sustainable and organic agriculture programs into their graduate and undergraduate level agriculture curriculum.
One sustainable agriculture-related program of note at CSU is the Integrated Resource Management program (IRM), which is run by the Western Center for Integrated Resource Management (WCIRM) whose long-term goal is to “improve the competitive position and sustainability of independent livestock producers and the economic and environmental health of rural communities.”