“Miracles Can Happen” celebrates expansion of Karamu Garden in north Minneapolis

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. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Park Board considers plan to expand urban agriculture

A forest of fruit trees or youth-run community garden could soon be growing in a Minneapolis Park near you. Opportunities like these are outlined in a Urban Agriculture Activity Plan that is currently under review by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.Additional goals outlined in the plan include: increase growing healthy, local food; use of outdoor public spaces to promote, sell and distribute local food; increase edible landscaping and urban fruit tree growth; expand community gardening options; and, enrich youth programs.Russ Henry, an advocate for the plan and former resident of Corcoran, presented the December meeting of Corcoran’s Land Use and Housing Committee. CNO members asked questions about the proposed plan and discussed how urban agriculture could impact the neighborhood and city.”Urban agriculture is an important way to enhance food security for underserved neighborhoods” shares Henry, “and improve access to health for residents throughout Minneapolis. The MPRB Urban Ag Activity Plan, if adopted will give neighbors access to more tools, resources, and knowledge that will empower Minneapolis residents to grow health and sustainability in their neighborhoods.”However, Henry also shared that this plan is not a sure thing. He has a personal goal of recruiting 1,000 Minneapolitans to submit feedback about the Urban Agriculture Activity Plan. The Park Board will be hosting two more information sessions about the proposed Urban Agriculture Activity Plan:- Tuesday, December 17 from 5:15 – 7:15 PM at Hope Community- Thursday, December 19 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM at St. Olaf Community CampusPlease review the draft plan (PDF), and then take a minute to share your feedback in this online survey before December 21. For more information please refer to the MPRB project webpage. Continue Reading

Good at gardening? There’s a spot for your veggies at the Community Aggregation and Distribution Table

West Broadway Farmers Market staffed by West Broadway Coalition employee Matthew McGlory, a licensed and insured farmers market vendor and reseller.Are you a North Minneapolis resident growing your own fruits and vegetables? If you, or someone that you know has extra bounty to share, there’s an innovative resource available to help you earn money while sharing your produce with the local community. The Community Aggregation and Distribution Table is a resource at the West Broadway Farmers Market staffed by West Broadway Coalition employee Matthew McGlory, a licensed and insured farmers market vendor and reseller. By bringing their fresh goods to the table for McGlory to sell on their behalf, local growers can sell their produce without spending on overhead costs like insurance, market tent, table, signage and merchandising gear. For Northside growers that find themselves with too many tomatoes and wondering if they might share their bounty with their neighbors while making some extra money, working with the Community Ag. Table is as easy as following these simple steps:Mosezel Dixon, owner of Dixon’s Garden, got his start selling his collard greens at the Community Ag. Continue Reading

CSA Fair and Sustainability Fair

CSA FairSaturday was the CSA Fair at the Seward Co-op. There were nearly 30 farms selling shares. When we arrived at 1 p.m., farmers were reporting a great turn-out. The tent was still busy when we showed up, but we heard that earlier it was wall-to-wall with people wanting to learn about the farms and buy shares. If you’d like more information about CSAs, check out Seward Co-op’s list of FAQs.Farms at the fair are located in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Continue Reading

Prospect Park gardens prepare to blossom

In Shanda Demorest’s sunroom sit rows of tomato, thyme, cucumber and romaine seedlings.MN Daily Editor’s Note: The community gardens provide space to grow vegetables and other plants.Demorest has lived in Prospect Park for three years, but until recently didn’t have space to garden in Minneapolis.“It is hard to have plants as a student,” said Demorest, a University of Minnesota nursing senior.Soon Demorest will move her plants to a new community garden in Prospect Park.The Prospect Park Community Gardens provide gardeners with land to grow vegetables and other plants.Sam Johnson helped create the program for apartment dwellers and other residents of Prospect Park, where it’s often too shady for vegetables to grow.“It’s a great opportunity for community building,” the five-year resident of Prospect Park said.Residents can reserve a 200- or 400-square-foot lot for $20 to $30 per year.The PPCG has 25 gardeners and a waiting list, Johnson said.The group is diverse, ranging from parents and their children to people in their eighties and college students, said Vera Marshall, longtime resident and member of the Prospect Park Gardening Club.“Some have gardened forever, and some are new to gardening,” she said.Demorest, a horticulture minor, said she got her green thumb from her grandparents.“I love being in nature and playing with my food,” she said.Demorest will move her seedlings into her 20-feet-by-20-feet garden plot later this spring. She said she’ll maximize her space with keyhole gardens and a path running through her plot.A keyhole garden is a circular garden, where the gardener can stand in the center and reach all of the plants. Keyhole gardens are popular in urban gardening, where space is limited, Demorest said.“For students, it’s really neat to have community gardens close by,” said Prospect Park Garden Club member Kent Petterson.Petterson has lived in the neighborhood since the 1970s, when he was an economics student at the University of Minnesota. Petterson now owns Terrace Horticultural Books in St. Paul.Petterson, who gardens in his own yard, said his plot will house a brick oven, where he can bake bread and pizza and will also serve as a gathering spot.PPCG co-coordinator Del Hampton taught a vegetable growing class for the gardeners in March. Continue Reading

E-DEMOCRACY | Burning trash and growing vegetables

From: andrea schaerf Date: Mar 07So the air is more polluted due to our burning in downtown. The cars left lead and other toxins I dont know. So the city wants public gardens to grow vegetables for communities. Do the vegetables in vacant lots have soil ansd ‘air testing’ to know it is safe to eat. If any mercury or sulfer comes out does it go on food?It seems like conflicting policies to support more buerning while the poor grow food.From: Lara Norkus-Crampton RN Date: Mar 07It seems reasonable that if you have a known regional polluter like HERC, and previous plume studies from the 1986 EIS predicting concentrations of HERC emissions landing in parts of the North Side and the South Side, and recent studies showing concentrations of asthma hospitalizations and elevated blood lead levels in or near these same areas, that it is time-27 years later-to have a full independent assessment of the public health impacts and the alternatives (like aggressive recycling) to this approach to waste management. Continue Reading

The hungry insurgent: With spring garden prep in full swing, think about wise water use

As I write, snow and ice are still thick on the ground and it’s below freezing, but I am planning for the spring. I’m getting ready for maple syrup season. As daytime temperatures inch above freezing, the sap starts to flow. To get ready, I have contacted friends and neighbors with maple trees, bought my taps, checked my buckets. I am feeling a smug self-satisfaction at using an “untapped” urban resource.But then I run into a wall. Continue Reading

The Beez Kneez’ Honey House – What everyone’s buzzing about

Kristy Allen and Erin Rupp, the two women behind Beez Kneez are on a mission to bring bees and bee education to Minneapolis in a big way, and their headquarters – the Honey House – will be right in Longfellow.The Honey House: Bee-coming a CommunityThe Honey House will serve a few purposes, it will be a place for the beekeeping community to share information, a place for members of the community to learn more about bees, and it will be a space for local beekeepers to extract honey.In the first year, the primary goal of the Honey House will be to provide local beekeepers the equipment to extract honey, and it wouldn’t be done by hand – it would be done by bike. Allen and Rupp developed what they believe is the first bicycle-powered extractor.The extractor itself works like a salad spinner. To extract honey, you first remove the wax capping that bees put on the top of the comb to preserve the honey. Then you place the frames that hold the honey and honey comb into the extractor and start spinning it, in this case by pedal power. The honey gets pulled out of the comb through centrifugal force.“It goes really fast,” said Allen. Continue Reading