A Mile High and Growing

Blue Bear Farm at the Colorado Convention Center

Just steps away from the kitchen, bees buzz from herb to vegetable to hive while guests enjoy a late afternoon garden party. The bucolic scene isn’t something you’d expect in the middle of one of America’s largest cities; but this oasis was created by Centerplate and local partners at the gateway to the Colorado Convention Center as part of an integrated effort to bring community, local sourcing, and sustainability to life for the city and its visitors.

A Centerplate client for 25 years, the Colorado Convention Center has been recognized among the world’s top venues for meetings and events, garnering mention in Convene, the leading publication for the meeting planning industry, as well as regional acclaim. An environmentally-conscious community, we sought to work with Convention Center leaders and city officials, as well as local business and non-profit partners, to bring the vision of Blue Bear Farm to life.

The Blue Bear farm is a perfect example of how my Denver Seeds Initiative is building a fresh food economy that will create jobs from plant to plate. Together, with public-private partnerships like this, we are increasing the production, processing and distribution of local food – and doing it in a highly visible location that will serve as a model for the entire region.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver, Colorado

With over 5,000 square feet of growing space, Blue Bear Farm is one of the largest convention center gardens in the country. More than 2,000 plants and 2 beehives were introduced to meet the Center’s goal of 1,800 pounds of produce for the first year (on the way to 5,000 by year 5).

Recipe for Success:

  • Partner with Produce Denver and local businesses to create a living partnership for education, local food production, and small business investment
  • Updated menus and recipes to incorporate fresh produce and devoted labor to care for the garden

Results:

  • Support the Center in its LEED certification
  • Improved quality for menu items
  • 5,000ft.sq. of public green space downtown
  • “Best of the Best” Accolade in leading industry magazine