Minneapolis Community Gardens Protected

For current information about community gardening in the Twin Cities, please see www.gardeningmatters.org

Minneapolis, MN, 9/27/02 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), Sustainable Resources Center and the Green Institute announce the acquisition of six city lots to be protected as community gardens in Minneapolis neighborhoods. The properties, which have been used as gardens on a temporary basis, were purchased from the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) and will be managed permanently by the neighborhood gardeners and the two organizations.

“These gardens provide a place for neighbors to grow fresh, nutritious food in the inner city,”said Susan Schmidt, State Director of the Trust for Public Land. “Garden permanency not only ensures continued access to land people need for healthy lives, but means these city lots can continue to be powerful places for community building and pride for years to come.”

The gardens purchased are six of nine that TPL is working with the two groups to protect as permanent gardens. Previously owned by the MCDA and leased to the gardeners on a season-to-season basis, the land was made available for sale one year ago. When the MCDA prepared to sell the land, two local community groups, the Green Institute and the Sustainable Resources Center, approached TPL to help negotiate the purchase. TPL and the Sustainable Resources Center completed the acquisition of three community gardens in North Minneapolis and one garden in Phillips last month. TPL and the Green Institute successfully purchased two gardens in Phillips last week. Three more sales are pending.

For over ten years, MCDA has worked with the Sustainable Resources Center to provide leases to Minneapolis community gardeners. In 2000, MCDA temporarily changed their policy to allow the sale of these lands for non-economic development purposes after recognizing the value of the gardens to the quality of life in the city.

“These community gardens will help preserve and enhance the unique urban character of living in Minneapolis,”said Interim MCDA Executive Director Chuck Lutz, “and provide people with an ongoing healthy connection to their environment.”

The Green Institute and Sustainable Resources Center will be the owners of their respective gardens and will continue to manage them in partnership with the local gardeners – who represent a diverse array of cultures including Hmong, Somali, Hispanic, and Thai.

“Community gardeners have invested time, energy, and resources into their gardens and neighborhoods and now they can be assured that their investment with continue for years to come. We are excited that after years of lobbying on the policy level for garden permanency, gardens are now being preserved in perpetuity. We will continue to work hard to preserve community gardens in the Twin Cities,” said Sue Gunderson Executive Director of the Sustainable Resources Center.

“These community garden purchases represent the work of many community members over many years and is only one step toward the permanency of community gardening in Minneapolis. Much work remains in protecting dozens of other community gardens still at risk,” noted Corrie Zoll, Program Director at Green Institute.

The Green Institute is a non-profit organization promoting urban development through sustainable enterprise, job creation, and environmental education. GreenSpace Partners, a program of the Green Institute, works with community members to enhance the urban environment through green space projects including community gardens, tree planting projects, and city park renovations.

The Sustainable Resources Center is a non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen communities so children and families thrive. Since 1973, the Urban Lands Program at the Sustainable Resources Center has promoted sustainable urban environments, community building, and community food security by providing technical assistance and advocacy to Twin Cities community gardeners.

The Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) is the housing and economic development arm of the City of Minneapolis. The MCDA buys and sells land, assists small businesses, promotes home ownership, and provides financing and other resources for a wide range of business and residential property developments. For more information, call the MCDA at (612) 673-MCDA (6232) or visit us on the Web at www.mcda.org.

For thirty years, the Trust for Public Land has been conserving land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. In Minnesota, TPL has helped communities protect regional open space treasures including Quarry Park Scientific Natural Area in Stearns County, Grays Bay Public Access on Lake Minnetonka, Miesville Ravine in Dakota County, and significant lands throughout the Northwoods.