A diverse mix of city and community leaders gathered with north side residents and community partners June 2 to celebrate the expansion of Karamu Garden in north Minneapolis.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges helped preside over the garden groundbreaking and dedication ceremony entitled “Miracles Can Happen,” along with Barry Sanders, President and Chief Operating Officer of Scotts Miracle-Gro, members of Project Sweetie Pie, the Black Storytellers Alliance and a host of others. Attendees enjoyed free hot dogs and refreshments, a health fair, commemorative speeches, and live entertainment from musician Blair Lee, and Asian Media Alliance performers whose ribbons danced in the blustery wind.
Karamu Garden, located on 1600 Plymouth Avenue North, and the city of Minneapolis, are one of five national recipients of a grant through the U.S. Council of Mayors by Scotts Miracle-Gro’s GRO1000 program. The program is dedicated to creating more than 1,000 community gardens and green spaces in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2018.
Project Sweetie Pie founder Michael Chaney sees the Plymouth Avenue location of Karamu Garden as fertile ground for his broader vision. “Plymouth Avenue is the Nile of the North!” proclaimed Chaney. “I’d like this garden to be the impetus for a Plymouth Avenue makeover, with Karamu Garden becoming the Rose Garden of north Minneapolis.”
Karamu Garden has been redesigned to become a municipal community garden with food planted and harvested as a givng garden, unfolding over the next three years. In addition to an education and training program, the expansion will also feature raised edible garden beds, benches, and a shade stage to accommodate storytelling, community happenings, and local art.
“We’re working with Minneapolis Parks and Rec’s team and team works to help maintain the garden going forward” explained Chaney. “We’d like the garden to be a demonstration for the city — like the urban gardening version of Habitat for Humanity — where we partner the affluent with low income folks to close the economic gap and celebrate the humanity in each other.”
Enjoy highlights from “Miracles Can Happen” in the video and slideshow above and the photos below.
Dancers from Asian Media Access entertain the crowd with a Ribbon Dance
Workers helped cultivate Karamu Garden prior to the ceremony and throughout the day
Project Sweetie Pie Founder Michael Chaney rallies the crowd
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges holds a check presented to the city of Minneapolis and Karamu Garden from Scotts Miracle-Gro