When you think of Las Vegas, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The Strip awash in neon lights? Thousands of people sitting in front of slot machines hoping for a big win? Crowds flocking to big brand-name shows? We could go on, but chances are “community garden” won’t be anywhere near the top of that long list. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that a group of hardworking folks tilling the land in their corner of downtown Sin City, however, is working to change that.
Founded in March of 2010 by Las Vegas native Rosalind Brooks, the Vegas Roots Community Garden is the first and so far only urban farm in Las Vegas. Running entirely on labor provided by a community of warm-hearted volunteers, Vegas Roots serves around 800 visitors a years and donates 60lbs of fresh, pesticide-free produce daily.
As the only urban community garden in Las Vegas, Vegas Roots is the veritable “rose that grew in concrete”, if you will. It’s far from being the only community garden in and around the area, however.
The oldest community garden in the area, the Las Vegas Doolittle Senior Center Community Garden, just celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. There have also been around a dozen other community gardens that have blossomed since 2010, with a couple more slated to open their gates to the public later in the year.
This booming grassroots sustainability drive, which may well be just what the city needs in light of declining revenues in the gaming industry. Online games that let players join live roulette games with actual real life dealers from halfway around the world may have eaten up the formerly massive gaming pie into a dismal little slice, but now people may come to Vegas to experience what else Nevada has to offer in its natural beauty and resources — the outdoor adventures, the parks, the bike trails, and if all goes well, the lure of fresh, 100% organic produce.