The GrowHaus continues to surpass our ideologies on what it means to grow leafy greens. On top of providing an otherwise produce-barren community with organic fruits, vegetables and meats they also equip their community with invaluable knowledge. Throughout the month the GrowHaus Denver puts on a number of events, classes and workshops to foster community involvement and to spread their belief that education is the best way to build a better society and an all around healthy environment. Their workshops and classes are a mix of traditional sit back and listen as well as a hands on, learn as we go style. We had the privilege of attending their Inflammation Cooking class last weekend and we’re shocked by how little we knew about the various causes and remedies for inflammation. Not to mention the cure all nature of Apple Cider Vinegar!
We barely scraped the iceberg with our class, the GrowHaus is an oasis of knowledge and events for our community. For example, If you’re a foodie in Denver you’ve more than likely heard of Harvest Week. An event that foodies and environmentalists praise alike... It’s a magical week that revolves around locally grown produce, star studded chefs and feeling no shame for wearing pants with elastic waistbands. But feeding the masses for Harvest Week (and every other week throughout the year) is no easy feat. If you’ve ever wondered how they do it, be sure to show up to the GrowHaus at 10am on Saturday and Sunday for an in-depth, behind the scenes tour.
The GrowHaus practices a couple of unique farming methods, including hydroponics and aquaponics. (The latter being our favorite because it involves a bunch of fish, we mean, who doesn’t love a farm that doubles as an aquarium?) Both methods of farming are ideal in the sense that they conserve up to 90% of the water that is used during commercial farming. On top of being water conscious they also distribute a portion of their produce to neighboring restaurants, which helps generate income for the haus while also spreading the organic love to Denver’s various restaurateurs. Through food production, distribution and education the GrowHaus is changing the way we think about food.
The inflammation class we attended covered how and why inflammation occurs and the various ways we can restore our bodies to their healthy homeostasis. The workshop began with an introduction and overview about our topic from an eccentric Western herbalist, who explained how inflammation occurs when our body is trying to return to normal. Symptoms include being red and puffy, having a fever, or to put it simply, just feeling a little icky. She focused on the idea that each individual ultimately knows more about their body and their health than any expert and therefore should really tune into how one feels. By tuning in, we can determine what our body needs, what it doesn’t need, and how we can operate at our best. Food is a big factor of course, so she really encouraged us to build a relationship with our food and cooking is the best way to do this because you get to interact with all of your ingredients directly. So from her perspective, the jokes about eating happy cows/chickens/etc are no laughing matter.
After we had a better understanding of inflammation and how the food we eat plays a huge role in how we feel and function, we moved into the kitchen to start creating! Our first creation was a “tincture” or more specifically an apple cider vinegar with a bunch of anti-inflammatory herbs, spices, and roots thoughtfully sprinkled in. Some of these heavy hitters included fresh ginger, garlic, sage and turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cayenne and onion. Everyone passed things around and we added what we wanted and sealed up our super tincture for two weeks so all of their powers could combine. After two or more weeks, we could open the jars and use it as salad dressing, cook with it or if you were feeling really ballsy take shots of it to directly detox your organs.
Our second anti-inflammatory creation was a Dhal or one pot soup consisting of a grain, vegetables, and plenty of herbs and spices. She explained how easy it is to make a big pot of this and keep it in the fridge all week or freeze for easy meals. Ours consisted of red lentils, onions, ginger, garlic, and many of the same herbs and spices that we used for our tinctures. She let it boil for about 30 minutes but said the longer the better for all of the ingredients to infuse the liquid. It was good and warming but a little potent for some of us not accustomed to these flavors. By this time in the class we had tried some fresh ginger, drank some apple cider tincture, eaten a fresh apple from the awe inspiring hydroponic farm and finished it all with a bowl of warm Dhal.
We feel so lucky to have gotten a glimpse inside of the ever evolving GrowHaus. If you’re feeling the need to get involved, there are a multitude of volunteer opportunities and classes to attend.. or support our local GrowHaus by shopping in their Mercado de al Lado. Trust us their fresh ginger will not disappoint. The resident driven GrowHaus is all about connecting people with food. Don’t miss out on your chance to cultivate that connection.