11/11/2011 02:08 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2012

Denver Urban Gardens Awarded $70,000 Grant From USDA People's Garden Grant Program (VIDEO)

When Denver Urban Gardens started in 1985, few would have predicted its astonishing growth. In 26 years, the project has sprouted from just three gardens to 114. More than 4,500 volunteers now help cultivate upwards of 294 tons of fresh produce annually, not to mention the strengthened community bonds formed in the process.

And the group seems poised to keep growing. On November 10, The United States Department of Agriculture announced Denver Urban Gardens would receive $70,000 via the People's Garden Grant Program (PGGP).

The USDA awarded the money to Denver and nine other U.S. cities out of 360 total proposals. People's Garden began in 2009, with particular intent to:

invest in urban and rural areas identified as food deserts or food insecure areas, particularly those with persistent poverty. Inaddition, PGGP seeks to address health issues closely related to malnutrition, including food insecurity, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, through onsite education programs.

"In recent years, we've seen results from our research with the Colorado School of Public Health about how important they are to food access and food security," Denver Urban Gardens spokeswoman Abbie Harris told the Denver Post.

Denver Urban Gardens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization funded through a combination of individual contributions, and government grants, as well as private and corporate foundations.

Those interested in volunteering with Denver Urban Gardens are encouraged to browse their current volunteer opportunities online or contact the office at (303)292-9900.