Adam Brock is the co-founder and Director of Operations at the GrowHaus.  From their website:
The GrowHaus is located in Elyria-Swansea, a historic working-class community first developed in the 1880s. For its first half-century, the area was home to residents of Eastern European origin. Elyria-Swansea’s location near downtown, the Platte River, and the railroad made it an attractive site for warehouses and factories, and as a result the residences in the neighborhood eventually became surrounded by manufacturing and transportation infrastructure. In the 1960s, the area began to shift to being predominantly Latino, which it remains today. At around the same time, the construction of I-70 placed a imposing barrier directly through the community, adding to the mounting pollution from sites such as the nearby Asarco smelter and water treatment plant. By the 1990s, the neighborhood had earned the dubious distinction of being the most polluted zip code in the state of Colorado, and was used as a textbook example of environmental injustice. Elyria-Swansea today is a neighborhood of contrasts, with both significant opportunities and challenges. The lack of services and geographic isolation has created a tight-knit community, with many neighbors attending the same church and looking after each other’s children. At the same time, air and soil pollution remain pervasive problems despite decades of activism and cleanup efforts, and neglect from the city has lead to a dearth of public amenities, unpaved alleyways and sidewalks badly in need of repair. Finally, Elyria-Swansea lies in the middle of a large “food desert” in Northeast Denver, where access to fresh, healthy produce is limited or nonexistent. The nearest full-service grocery store is over 2 miles away, and sells poor quality food at higher-than-market prices. Within the neighborhood itself there are several corner stores, some of which carry small selections of produce, meat, dairy, and dry goods. Although these stores help serve the neighborhood grocery demand, most residents travel outside of the neighborhood for their day-to-day grocery needs.
How did the GrowHaus start? Well, it was a confluence of the right people, right building, and the right location at the right time.  I met Paul Amburello, Ashara Ekundayo (former TEDxMileHigh speaker), and Kendra Sandoval after I graduated from NYU, and things shortly thereafter seemed to align quickly. What’s the future of food look like in the US?  And feel free to take it from an idealist perspective or not… As a permaculturist, I tend think long-term about questions like that.  That said, I really think that everything will be much more local, out of both necessity and personal fulfillment. People are really digging the local food movement because of the stories, all of the “comfy things” we love to hear about and be involved with. But I think that long transportation will not be economically viable, and local food will have to become not just something that’s ‘in-vogue,’ but a necessary part of people’s lives in the 21st century. Is Denver the place to be for the local food movement?  I don’t think that Denver is the place; I think it’s wherever you’re at. There is so much happening in so many places, and we’re (the GrowHaus) inspired by what’s taking place elsewhere. Given Colorado’s climate and public transportation, it’s actually a bit of a difficult place to be! But there’s a lot of good happening, and we’re excited to see what happens in the coming years here. For those who don’t know anything about permaculture, where should they begin?  It all depends on their passions. This movement at the GrowHaus, and those all around the country, contain a world of knowledge that’s difficult to swallow all at once. In terms of aquaponics, we have a monthly class here. We also do a permaculture course. I would, however, recommend the book, “The Permaculture Handbook,” which provides a solid outline of the permaculture world in general. You studied at NYU. Why didn’t you stay in New York?  You know, I had a great time in New York, but it wasn’t home. I was born and raised here, and I felt called to return. During my senior year, I had a gut feeling that I should pursue opportunities at home–turns out my gut was right on! Besides food, what are you passions?  I got into permaculture for the concept of sustainable food systems, but it’s pushed me to think about a lot of things differently. It’s become a mindset, a vocation, rather than a job. I think it’s led me to become more vocal and passionate about a lot of connected issues: social justice, cultural vibrancy, racial diversity, and deepening community. We are diverse city, but you wouldn’t always know it.  Through my work at the GrowHaus, I’ve been able to interact with a wide variety of people, all pushing for similar goals. My passions extend far beyond healthy food – but it’s all interconnected. What’s something that very few people know about you?  Ha. Well I’m obsessed with music and was in a band with our Executive Director (Coby Gould) in high school. It was a grunge band – a pretty corny, but I dare say awesome, rip-off of Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots. Okay, fill-in-the-blank. If I weren’t an urban permaculturist, I’d be… A rural permaculturist? Ha, I don’t know. This is more than what I do; it’s who I am. More than anything, it’s a mindset. I could be doing a variety of things under the same mindset, but I do believe that I’ve found it. I found what’s right for me.   Adam Brock is speaking at TEDxMileHigh: Values + Instincts. Do you have your ticket yet?