Transform a vacant lot into a community garden

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 13 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 Pilot Program began in 2010 with 18 lots to help make Minneapolis more beautiful, provide healthy food and build community. Five 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. Applicants should be ready to discuss the layout of the community garden, how it will be managed and how it will engage and benefit the community.

The Community Garden Pilot Program is part of Homegrown Minneapolis. Homegrown Minneapolis is an initiative of the City of Minneapolis to help grow, sell, distribute and eat more healthy, locally grown foods within the city and the surrounding region. A community garden program is one of nine Homegrown Minneapolis recommendations adopted by the City Council.

For more information on the Homegrown Minneapolis Community Gardens Pilot Program, visit Homegrown Minneapolis or call (612) 673-2597.

Published Jan. 18, 2011