Eat Local, Eat Healthy
Growing, Preparing, and Preserving Food
Community and Home Gardens
There are currently more than 200 community gardens in the city of Minneapolis. Gardening Matters, a local non-profit in the Twin Cities, is a great resource if you’re interested in starting or joining a community garden in your neighborhood. Check out gardeningmatters.org for a directory of community gardens, factsheets, upcoming workshops, and helpful tips to get started.
Community gardens are located in a variety of areas throughout the city some are even on city-owned parcels of land. In April 2010, the City's Community Garden Pilot Program (pdf) released 22 parcels for new gardens.
Its also important to remember that residents can grow food in front-, side-, and backyard gardens, as long as garden structures meet standards set by the City's Zoning Code. Why maintain a large expanse of grass that you just have to mow and water when you could turn that space into a productive food garden that can feed your family? If a home garden isn’t an option for you, consider planting vegetables or herbs in containers that you can keep on your porch, balcony, or even your windowsills.
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Gardening Opportunities (pdf).
City of Minneapolis policy on community gardens (pdf).
University of Minnesota Extension Garden website.
Container Vegetable Gardening guide from Iowa State Extension.
Composting is a practical and convenient way to dispose of much of your household food waste while producing nutrient-rich soil that can be used on your garden, trees, shrubs, and other landscaping. For more information on what you can compost and how you can start composting, check out these links:
City of Minneapolis guide to composting.
The Division of Solid Waste and Recycling offers free compost to community garden through its Community Garden Compost Program.
Food Preparation and Preservation
Many Minneapolis residents are growing their own produce during the summer, but what do you do with that abundant supply of fresh food come fall and how do you preserve food to last you through the winter months? There are many classes offered throughout the city (sometimes free of charge) that will teach you how to can, freeze, and preserve fresh food that you grow yourself or that you buy at a market/store. Many organizations are also starting community cooking classes where you can learn to cook seasonal produce with your neighbors.
University of Minnesota Extension Food Safety Education.
"Pickle Bill" – An exemption under state law for selling certain home-processed and home-canned foods.
Minneapolis is home to a number of community kitchens – spaces to do communal cooking, processing and food preservation. Ask your local park recreation center, place of worship, school, or food business if they have space available for food-related activities.
Starting a Local Food Business
Are you interested in starting a small business focused on local food production, processing, or distribution? The City of Minneapolis has resources available to help small businesses and entrepreneurs including low-interest loan programs and business development services. There are also a variety of community organizations that provide small business training and assistance. Check out this inventory to learn more about what opportunities exist both within City government and the community.
Business Assistance – Community Planning & Economic Development.
Land Stewardship Project Farm Beginnings program.
Permaculture Research Institute Urban Farming courses.
Last updated Jun 17, 2014