The St. Anthony Park Community Gardens will showcase their prairie garden and new signage during the fifth annual Parade of Community Gardens Aug. 21. The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The St. Anthony Park gardens will feature garden experts highlighting gardening strategies, scavenger hunts for adults and children, garden poetry readings on the hour and tomato tasting.
District 12 Community Council received a $6,355 Good Neighbor grant this spring from the University of Minnesota to purchase a sign and repair, restore and reseed the Robbins Avenue garden, which was damaged when the city did sewer work last winter. The Good Neighbor Fund was established to help neighborhood communities that are adjacent to the Twin Cities Campus and are affected by the school’s on-campus football stadium.
Sixty-six gardens are on this year’s tour, which spans from Rogers and Mankato to communities in Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota counties. Also on the tour are the Cornercopia Student Organic Farm at Dudley and Lindig avenues and the University of Minnesota’s Native American Medicine Gardens at Larpenteur and Cleveland, both in Falcon Heights.
Sue Conner, a longtime community garden activist in St. Anthony Park, said she’s hoping the tour will help more people understand the importance of the St. Anthony Park Community Gardens. “Community gardens are always at risk of having their land yanked away,” she said, “even when they own the land, as we do.”
Area residents have been gardening along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line since the early 1980s. It began with 19 plots and now features 96, which are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis during a sign-up period in late winter. In 1999, District 12 bought the land, which runs along the Burlington Northern rail line just east of Highway 280, from the railroad.
The Parade of Community Gardens is organized by a group called Gardening Matters, which provides training and resources to support community gardeners. The group hosts an online community forum and maintains an online map of the region’s community gardens. You can learn more at the group’s website, www.gardeningmatters.org.