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
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
- Visit our Zoning for Urban Agriculture page for information about zoning and development standards for community gardens, market gardens and urban farms.
- Check out our Community Garden Zoning Handout, which includes a sample community garden site plan.
Composting and Soil Health Resources
- Visit our Composting and Soil Health page to learn about the City's Community Garden Compost Program, other composting options for Minneapolis residents, and resources for rain barrels and compost bins.
- Through the Community Garden Compost Program, Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling offers low-cost or no-cost compost to qualifying community gardens. Compost is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. However, community gardens that have never received compost, have poor soil quality, or are start-up gardens will get priority.
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.
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.
- Lawn/Garden & Professional Turf Tests
- Farm/Commercial Horticultural Fields Tests
- Soil Testing Form with Prices
- Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) Community Gardens
- MPRB Community Garden Information Sheet (pdf)
- MPRB Urban Agriculture Activity Plan
- Land 101 PowerPoint presentation (pdf)
- References to Community Gardens in the City’s Comprehensive Plan (pdf)
- Minnesota Community Gardening (formerly Gardening Matters)
- Local Food Resource Hubs, an initiative of the City of Minneapolis, community partners, and Gardening Matters.
- University of Minnesota Extension- Yard and Garden Resources
- American Community Gardening Association
- National Gardening Association
- Do It Green! Minnesota
Last updated Jan 30, 2020