City owned vacant lots available for community gardens

With seed catalogues arriving in the mail and flower and garden shows around the corner, now is a good time to look into establishing a community garden. The City of Minneapolis has 10 vacant lots available for qualifying groups to lease for community gardens. These City-owned lots were selected because they are not appropriate for development. This means that they will remain available for years of gardening even as the economy changes and redevelopment picks up.

The Community Garden Program began in 2010 to help make Minneapolis more beautiful, provide healthy food and build community. Seven of the lots are already leased to community groups. The City of Minneapolis supports community gardens in its commitment to promoting access to good nutrition, improving the ecological footprint of the city, encouraging active and healthy living and providing spaces for human interaction, food production and beauty in our daily lives. In addition to these lots, Minneapolis already has about 100 community gardens throughout the city.

Lots are available first-come, first-served to qualifying groups. Experienced community garden groups may be eligible for three- to five-year leases, while groups gardening for the first time will start with one-year leases. A qualifying group will be a not-for-profit or a group with a not-for-profit sponsor. The garden will need to have liability insurance. During the application, applicants and City staff will discuss the layout of the community garden, how it will be managed and how it will engage and benefit the community.

The Community Garden Program is part of Homegrown Minneapolis. Homegrown Minneapolis is a citywide initiative started in December of 2008 by the City of Minneapolis to expand the community’s ability to grow, process, distribute, eat and compost more healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods within the city and the surrounding region. Development of a community gardens program is one of the Homegrown Minneapolis recommendations adopted by the City Council.

For more information on the Homegrown Minneapolis Community Gardens Program, visit the Homegrown Minneapolis website or call 612-673-5051.

Published Jan. 12, 2012