This Aurora-based non-profit aims to bridge the gap between the socio-economic silos in Northwest Aurora and Northeast Denver. 

The Village Exchange Center (VEC) acts as a community center and multifaith worship space for immigrants, refugees, and the underserved residents of Aurora. VEC helps 2,000 individuals on a monthly basis by celebrating and appreciating religious and cultural diversity, along with providing supportive and educational resources. 

On April 15, 2020, VEC debuted an urban farm located at 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, in the Stanley Marketplace. The Village Farms at Stanley's goal is to not only mitigate the area's food desert, but to grow and cook food in accordance with a variety of different agricultural practices. The farm itself incorporates both soil and hydroponic farming methods in order to increase access to fresh and culturally-appreciated foods, encourage careers in agriculture, and to generate revenue.

Opening amid COVID-19 has allowed for an expected source of relief and recovery for both food and agricultural work. In the construction of the farm alone, VEC has managed to offer nine community members jobs to help offset their struggles during this difficult and unpredictable era.

men farming

COVID-19 has shown the world the importance of access and supply to healthy foods. Since Colorado enacted the stay-at-home order in March, VEC's mobile food pantry has fed over 1,600 at-risk families from over 18 different countries of origin. VEC has also partnered with Impact Charitable, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and Social Venture Partners to provide cash assistance to more than 180 families that are not eligible for unemployment or other federal assistance.

One of the best feelings a person can have from growing their own food is a deep sense of pride, something that should never be in short supply. 

If you are interested in supporting this project and providing food and encouragement to many, you may donate here. For more information and all press inquiries, please contact Amanda Blaurock, VEC Executive director at amanda@villageexchangecenter.org, or call (202) 210-5565.