DENVER, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After debuting to widespread praise and publicity, the Colorado Convention Center's innovative Blue Bear Farm faces a new challenge: winter. While the farm has been producing fresh, grown-on-site produce, herbs and fruit for Convention Center hospitality partner Centerplate and their chefs, the winter months and freezing temperatures pose a deadly threat to many of the farms 2,000 plants. Centerplate created the farm in conjunction with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's Denver Seeds initiative, and is now launching an equally creative solution to find these fragile plants a warm winter home – Denver's first "Adopt-a-Pot" program.
Across Denver, civic and business leaders are already volunteering to house Blue Bear Farm plants between now and May, 2013. Up to twelve sets of pots, containing plants like Cranberry Red Single Hibiscus, Lemon Licorice and Rosemary need to be adopted. The "early-adopters" include Mayor Michael Hancock, the Denver Office of Arts and Venues, Denver Seeds, Visit Denver, Centerplate, Karsh and Hagen Public Relations and CU Denver, which will house their plants in their sustainability classroom. Produce Denver, which maintains Blue Bear Farm, will also feed and water the plants throughout the winter.
"When we committed to the Blue Bear Farm project, we weren't just giving our guests and chefs the freshest Colorado produce, we wanted to make an investment that would help Denver by creating local jobs and putting the Colorado Convention Center on the map as a green, sustainable facility," says Des Hague, President and CEO of Centerplate. "It's been amazing to see how many Denver leaders have been willing to help us, and have stepped up this winter to provide a home for these plants."
With over 5,000 square feet of growing space, Blue Bear Farms is projected to grow 1,800 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables in its first year, 3,600 pounds in year two and will ultimately reach over 5,000 pounds in years four and five. Two on-site beehives also produce fresh honey, contributing to a total planned garden of over 2,000 fruit bushes, herbs, perennial plants and flowering bulbs, including: spinach, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, and strawberries. Centerplate chefs include the fresh produce from the farm in dishes such as the traditional Colorado Green Chili and fresh homemade salsa.