By Michael Abeyta

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – For 30 years, a two acre plot of land near Wadsworth Boulevard and Jewell Avenue in Lakewood sat undeveloped. Neighbors used it for just one thing.

“It’s been a shortcut to Magill’s Ice Cream for the neighborhood,” said Dale Crone.

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(credit: CBS)

That didn’t mean the Southern Gables neighborhood didn’t like having it around, but you can’t stop progress. Eventually the lot was purchased to be part of a new residential building.

“The neighborhood basically rioted because this was all going to be turned into part of a parking lot,” said Paul Fleischer.

(credit: CBS)

Paul is a local agriculture teacher and had his own plan for the plot. It backs up to his property, and he convinced the developer to sell him the land instead of trying to get their plan for a parking lot next to a wetlands approved. They took him up on his offer, and he created Fleischer Family Farm, a community-supported agriculture program and farm stand.

“It’s a subscription program where basically they say they support the agriculture in the area so they give me their payment early in the year and then for 18 weeks they get to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables once a week from the farm,” explains Paul.

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His neighbors love the idea.

(credit: CBS)

“I think everybody thinks it’s wonderful,” Dale said.

They appreciate it so much that they are spending their weekend collecting leaves to mulch so Paul can enrich the soil for next year’s growing season. It’s their way of saying thank you.

“Paul is such a great neighbor, he actually set signs out that say the path is still open. Just don’t step on the vegetables,” Dale said.

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The community helps the Fleischer Family Farm in Lakewood. (credit: CBS)

If you would like to apply to become a shareholder for Paul’s farm of find out about farming classes they teach you can visit their website.

Michael Abeyta