Minneapolis urban agriculture open house celebrates accomplishments of past year

“This is a movement!” said an elated Beth Dooley, a chef, food writer and member of the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, as she addressed a gymnasium of people at the December 5 urban agriculture open house at the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center.Full disclosure: I attended the open house both as a journalist and as a new volunteer to the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, the city initiative sponsoring the event.Attendees had the opportunity to peruse the dozen or so booths set up by local food activist organizations and enjoy a light dinner provided by Birchwood Café and Sister’s Camelot before the program started.During this time, Mayor Rybak said, “We knew that if we laid out a vision of where we want it to go, but mostly let the community tell us where it should go, we could do magic. This took a lot of pushing from inside city hall for awhile, and I’m going to push it as hard as I can, but the bottom line is there is enough momentum- that nothing is going to stop this. So I think it’s great, it really warms my heart.”During the formal program, City council member Cam Gordon and his aide Robin Garwood were honored as 2012 Homegrown Minneapolis heroes for their efforts in city hall. Both Mayor Rybak and his wife, Megan O’Hara, a leader in founding the Homegrown initiative, spoke. The keynote for the program was a conversation between Eric Larsen of Stone’s Throw Urban Farm and Jim Bovino of California Street Farm.Homegrown Minneapolis coordinator Jane Shey offered two reasons why urban agriculture was important to the vitality of a city: “Obviously you’re producing food within the community, food that’s fresh, and in many cases more healthy. Continue Reading