It Began With a Global Vision
Following a service learning project in Nicaragua, University of Denver graduates Joseph Teipel and Eric Kornacki founded Re:Vision in Denver, Colorado in October 2007.
Taking Local Root
Re:Vision began its first program, Re:Farm Denver in 2009 by forming partnerships with community organizations, residents, stakeholders, and elected officials in Westwood, an at-risk neighborhood in Southwest Denver. After generating interest in local food cultivation, Re:Vision partnered with seven families to grow backyard gardens. The success of these initial seven gardens led to a massive ripple effect. Kepner Middle School expressed interest in growing their own food, and with Re:Vision’s help, Kepner soon became the site of one of Denver’s first urban farms.
Since 2009, Re:Vision has cultivated over 2,000 gardens in Southwest Denver, with the majority in Westwood. Collectively these gardens have produced over 500,000 pounds of food, saving families over $1M on their grocery bills. Re:Farm is now the largest resident-led urban agriculture and food justice program in the United States. Re:Vision has worked with partners to pilot an urban farm CSA with Somali Bantu refugees, to pioneer a “gardening not gangs” violence prevention youth food justice program, and to fiscally sponsor neighborhood projects around building healthier places.
Uniting a Community vision
As Re:Vision began to grow, it launched its resident leadership program, the Promotora model, and hired three residents as gardening and nutrition community health workers. After starting this train-the-trainer community-led strategy, Re:Vision transformed from a good idea into a groundbreaking model for community-generated growth.
Re:Vision has grown from a staff of two to over 20, with 10 hired Promotoras, and more in training.
Growing a Neighborhod Economy
2009 - Began in Westwood: 7 Backyard Gardens, Kepner Middle School Urban Farm.
2010 - Began Promotora program. Won Convergence Partnership Grant. Started Semillas Esperanza "Seeds of Hope" Youth Food Justice Program. Visited by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Túm. Received grant from Fruit Trees for People and planted 40 fruit trees at the Kepner Urban Farm, making it largest urban fruit orchard in Denver. Executive Director, Eric Kornacki, nominated by Mayor John Hickenlooper to serve as a founding member of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council.
2011 - Awarded New Belgium Brewing Company CEO, Kim Jordan, with the Re:Visionary Award, and Denver City Councilman, Paul Lopez, with Re:Vision Community Service Award.
2012 - Opened first office in Westwood. Awarded Dept. of Energy Grant for home energy audits and weatherization services for low-income households. Started the Ubuntu Urban Farm in partnership with Somali Bantu refugees.
2013 - Helped to form Westwood Unidos. Won Slow Money Entreprenuer of the Year Award. Won USDA Community Food Project Grant, scoring 4th out of 400+ national proposals.
2014 - Incorporated the Westwood Food Cooperative. Reached 300 backyard gardens. Awarded $1.3M grant from the Denver Office of Economic Development to purchase 1.7 acre commercial property for purpose of bringing a grocery store to Westwood. Helped Westwood win a $1M grant from the Colorado Healthy Foundation Healthy Places initiative. Launched La Cocina, a community-educational kitchen. ReBranded, dropping International from the name, now Re:Vision. Launched new strategic plan for 2014 - 2017.
2015 - Removed over 500 tons of trash, scrap and recyclables from old junkyard property on Morrison Road. Awarded $675,000 grant from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment to train Promotoras as Patient Navigators. Reached 400 backyard gardens. Launched Re:Vision Buying Club and La Tiendita, a pop-up fresh food market. Opening of La Casita.
2016 - Awarded $607,000 grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to support backyard garden program and Promotora training. Moved La Cocina into new property, and also opened a new fresh food marketplace in partnership with the Westwood Food Cooperative, called El Mercadito.
2017 - Purchased and renovated an auto body shop adjacent to property. Converted it into a co-working space, and launched the vision for RISE Westwood, a Community Hub for a Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy in Westwood. Won 2nd USDA Community Food Project Grant for FEED Westwood: Farming for Equitable Economic Development. Won ArtPlace America award, one of 30 winners out of 1,000+ applicants, and the only project funded in Colorado.
2018 - Co-founder Eric Kornacki, Executive Director since 2009, stepped down following the birth of his daughter, and developed new role as Director of Impact. Co-founder Joseph Teipel, Director of Operations since 2012, was promoted by the Board of Directors to serve as Re:Vision's 2nd Executive Director.