Each summer, the Dahlia Campus for Mental Health & Well-Being hosts an Annual Fish Fry, inviting community members to enjoy locally grown food in the heart of Northeast Park Hill. This year marked the fourth annual celebration, as the neighborhood gathered to eat fresh greens, mashed potatoes and fried catfish.
The intersection of mental health, nutritious food and community is a central focus at the Dahlia Campus. The Dahlia Campus provides critical services to the local community including child and family therapeutic and psychiatry services, educational services for K-8 grade students who have an identified special education disability and a dental clinic for children and teens provided by KIND (Kids in Need of Dentistry).
In alignment with their mission, the campus also owns a large urban agriculture plot on their property where garlic, sweet peppers, eggplant and green beans grow in abundance. The annual fish fry event provides the community with an opportunity to not only enjoy a local event, but also to buy some of the fresh produce grown in the Dahlia gardens. Fresh vegetables like kale and Swiss chard are hard to come by in Northeast Park Hill. The neighborhood is classified as a food desert, meaning residents lack nearby access to affordable, fresh and healthy food.
According to Dr. Lydia Prado, the Vice President of Child and Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver when the Dahlia Campus was founded, the gardens and farm help reinforce the link between healthy nutrition and positive mental health. The Fish Fry event served as a great example of how good food is at the center of well-being and community. The event felt like a family gathering where all members of the community could come together, enjoy locally grown food, chat with friends and take in the welcome warmth of summer.
On behalf of ULC, we are continuously impressed and thankful for the vision the Dahlia Campus has created and the success they have achieved. We are excited by their achievements towards raising awareness as it relates to health and wellness throughout the Northeast Park Hill community, and we can’t wait to see what they next accomplish!