Tag Archives: gardening

Minnesotans Celebrate Community Gardens and Gardeners on August 11

The frost is still deep in the ground when the preparations begin.  Neighbors gather to pour over seed catalogs, sign up for tasks, exchange gardening tips and harvest preferences. 

As the back hoes come out of storage the community gardeners face reality – the hours of stooped labor, sources of water, careful labeling or indistinguishable seeds.

Next the seedlings – and friendships – begin to sprout.  Shared decision-making and the hard labor that gardening demands mean hours of collaboration on a common purpose and a sense of community pride that are the glue of lasting friendships.

On Saturday, August 11, Minnesotans will pause in their labors, get up from their kneepads, pluck a fresh veggie from the vine, and share in a celebration of Community Garden Day.  There will be proclamations and posters, kudos and public praise for all that community gardeners contribute to the health of Minnesotans, the economy, the environment and the access of gardeners and their families to the rich harvest at its peak. 

One subtle benefit of community gardening is the cross pollenating of cultures.  As they work in tandem, gardeners share knowledge of traditional fruits and vegetables along with stories and recipes reminiscent of the heritage that new Americans contribute to Minnesotans whose knowledge of culinary delights is growing by the season.

In many neighborhoods individuals and families in need will enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal or two when generous gardeners contribute their surplus produce to a local food shelf.

Gardening Matters is the prime mover behind the celebration of Community Garden Day in Minnesota.  Check their website for more about the day, about their regional hubs, and about the countless contributions of community gardens and gardeners to Minnesota.

Parade of Community Gardens

Whether you prefer begonias or broccoli, petunias or peas, roses or radishes , an ornamental, native, even a therapeutic garden, there’s something for you at the 5th Annual Parade of Community Gardens sponsored by the nonprofit organization Gardening Matters. “Community gardening isn’t just about growing vegetables and flowers.  It’s about growing community, both in and around the garden space,” says Margaret Shields, Communications Intern at Gardening Matters. “The Parade of Community Gardens presents the opportunity to connect the garden to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to the garden.”

To celebrate the riches of this community’s gardens, walk or bike to as many of the 66 participating gardens you can visit during the four-hour parade that stretches throughout the metro area from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 21.

Gardening Matters has produced a Parade Guide that is loaded with details about the featured gardens.  There’s a great map divided by neighborhood.  Each entry has a brief description of the garden and the gardeners responsible.  The Parade is on rain or shine with backup plans in case of severe weather.  Everything is free and open to all gardeners, admirers and green thumb wannabes.

In addition to the Parade Guide, Gardening Matters offers a wealth of related information and communications and education tools.  “The mission of Gardening Matters is to connect gardeners with each other, with their communities and with the tools they need to ensure the long-term success of their community garden,” says Shields.  There’s an online garden directory, a virtual library of resources about gardening and more, a listserv to connect with community gardeners, monthly learning networks, a workshop on how to start a community garden and regular email and newsletters.

Look for Community Gardens on Parade throughout the cities – places of worship, parks, railroad land, senior centers, schools, businesses and vacant lots.  No matter who owns the land, “gardens, neighbors and novices are all encouraged to come out and celebrate the Parade of Community Gardens and feel the sense of pride and shared ownership in these important community spaces,” says Shields.

When you visit Gardens on Parade, ask the community gardeners on hand about their reasons for participating.  Some want to improve the neighborhood and enhance the involvement of neighbors.  Others see community gardening as a pleasant and productive road to health.  An increasing number find that one answer to the rising cost of groceries, coupled with today’s focus on nutrition, inspire them to dig, prune, weed – now pick and enjoy – their own produce.

Don’t forget your camera on Saturday.  There’s a Community Garden Photo Contest sponsored by  Bike Walk Twin Cities (BWTC), an initiative of Transit for Livable Communities.  Sponsors encourage you to submit photos of you, your shoes, your bike, your family and friends enjoying the Parade and touring the gardens.  Deadline for photo submission if Friday, August 27th.  Winners will be drawn on Monday, August 30th.  Prizes include a Burley Travoy, a NiceRide MN subscription, t-shirts, reflective arm/leg bands, and a bike light set.

BWTC also created special walking and biking routes for select self-guided tours to gardens on the Parade.  So, put on your comfort shoes, slather on the sunscreen and bug spray, then head out to walk or bike to meet your neighborhood community gardeners at as many of the 66 participating gardens you can visit during the Parade.

Check it all out online or call Gardening Matters at 612 821 2358.

And have a glorious ride or walk through your neighborhood – or learn about another community – by joining the Parade of Community Gardens next weekend.