On February 17 I took an Environmental Justice tour of the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea neighborhoods sponsored by the Cross Community Coalition. I heard of it through Transition Denver and the Growhaus, located in the old Lehrer Flowers building on York between 47th and 48th.
The tour guide, Michael Maes, said Globeville (located around the intersection of I-25 and I-70; Elyria and Swansea are to the east, with York as their dividing line), used to be the “garden” area of Denver, with lots of small gardens and truck farms. People could drive there and buy produce from the farmers’ trucks. But the last farm in the area sold out five years ago. It’s located on Franklin, but unfortunately I didn’t write down the cross-street (58th, perhaps?). It’s the dark house on the right in the photo. The beige building on Franklin was built in the past five years.Maes said there are 6 Superfund sites within a 2-mile radius of these neighborhoods (and that Swansea and Elyria are one of those Superfund sites). There is an oil refinery in this area, at least 1 coal-burning plant, and a water management plant.
Michael grew up in the area and has lived there all his life. He was there when Denver decided to approve an enterprise zone in the city, which allows business and industry to move in. On the tour, I saw streets where businesses had bought a couple of lots and torn down the houses and put some kind of business in its place. How would you feel if someone bought the 2 houses next to you and turned those lots into industry?
If you want more information about Growhaus, I suggest contacting Wild Green Yonder, a site focused on sustainability and the grow local movement.