Denver’s Growth Leaves Grocers and Healthy Food Efforts in its Wake

Cities like Denver are booming. The past ten years have seen Denver and its metropolitan population grow by nearly 20 percent. Real estate prices, speculation, and development are surging. 

Such explosive growth and gentrification can be dizzying, bringing instability and risk for residents and businesses alike — especially for small, independent businesses and those serving lower-income residents. 

Such has been the story for Denver’s small, neighborhood grocers, which are at risk of being washed away in the wake of the city’s rapid growth. In recent years, Denver, like many other US cities, has invested in healthy food access programs with a focus on supporting neighborhood grocers, which are seen as community anchors. These efforts are an attractive way to both address affordability and transportation barriers experienced by low-income residents and boost local businesses owned by people of color (POC) in recognition of persistent racial wealth gaps. 

Despite such investments, many such businesses are now at risk of being displaced. Indeed, the past year has seen the closure of multiple grocers participating in such programs. 

What can be done in the face of such growth to reduce the risks to small grocers and other healthy food access investments? 

We teamed up with Nourish Colorado to investigate these dynamics in Denver and came up with three recommendations. Dig into our findings for more.


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”” text=”



Nourish Colorado transforms the food system to ensure equitable access to nutritious foods for all Coloradans. Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit on a mission to connect people to the power of food to grow community health and wealth.