Monday, April 19, 2010
Denver Urban Gardens - a 25 year old nonprofit organization works directly with Denver Public Schools (DPS) to lease over 100 plots along the Colorado Front Range, including 20 public schools in Denver.
Gardeners participating in these programs grow veggies and flowers in fenced in plots of ground on public school land. The gardeners are being asked to undergo a criminal background check if they wish to continue gardening.
DUG coordinator, Jessica Romer sent an email to all gardeners last week saying that "being a gardener on school property is a privilege," and that gardeners are guests and must comply with DPS policy.
"My reaction is disbelief and anger," said Kellie Papish, who with her husband, gardens at Steele Elementary School, "community gardeners are a threat to children? Where did we go so wrong that if you potentially have contact with a child you have to have a background check?"
The nearly $16,000 cost of the checks will be footed by DPS.