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Community Gardens

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Nearly 300 community gardens exist throughout the City of Minneapolis, including more than 50 gardens on vacant City-owned lots through the Minneapolis Garden Lease Program. Community gardens promote access to good nutrition, improve the ecological systems of the city, encourage active and healthy living, and provide spaces for community building, food production and beauty in our daily lives.

How the City Supports Community Gardening

The City of Minneapolis has flexible Zoning for Urban Agriculture and offers specific vacant City-owned lots to lease for community or market gardens through the Minneapolis Garden Lease Program.

In addition to community and market gardens on City-owned lots, there are other community gardens throughout the city that offer plots. If you are seeking a plot in an existing Minneapolis community garden, please talk to your neighborhood organization, post on the COMGAR listserve or check out the resources available on Minnesota Community Gardening (formerly Gardening Matters).

The City also has other resources available for community gardens through the programs and policies listed below. The Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council and Homegrown Minneapolis staff are also resources for information and advocacy around community gardens in Minneapolis.

Zoning and Development Standards

Composting and Soil Health Resources

Water Access

The Water Works Permit Office issues hydrant garden permits to community gardens and urban farmers to access a specific fire hydrant for their garden/farm when there is no other water option available. The person must have legal documentation from owner giving permission to use land. These permits are issued seasonally. The water usage is metered and paid for during the growing season. To apply for a permit call (612) 673-2865 or or visit the Public Service Center located at 250 S 4th St., Room 224, Minneapolis. Learn more about accessing water for your garden or farm.

Minnesota Brownfields has funding to help clean up properties to become community gardens

Minnesota Brownfields received Environmental Response Fund funding in 2014 to provide small grants for environmental assessment and clean-up of property in contamination levels at proposed redevelopment and community garden sites. The fund is intended to be used for unexpected environmental issues, to prepare for a larger funding request in the County testing cycle, or to identify/clarify and, in some cases, remediate suspected environmental concerns. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis. Eligible community garden sites must be either owned or controlled by a public entity or a nonprofit organization. The application (pdf) asks for city approval, but formal authorization was passed by the City Council on May 13, 2011, so Minneapolis community garden applicants do not need to take additional steps to provide it.

Soil Testing

For private property, soil testing for lead, salt and other nutrient tests can be completed by sending soil samples into the University of Minnesota’s Soil Testing laboratory as described on their website. Lead testing costs $15.

Additional Resources

 

Last updated Jan 30, 2020

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