As Twin Cities gardeners gear up for the upcoming growing season, the Minneapolis Healthy Food Shelf Network is encouraging would-be urban farmers to plant an extra row to harvest for food shelves.
More than 10 percent of homes in Minnesota experience food insecurity, meaning that their access to quality and a variety of foods is limited, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2011, Hunger Solutions MN reported that there were more than 3 million visits to food shelves.
One way for gardeners to combat these problems is to connect with the Local Food Resource Hubs Network, a joint effort between Gardening Matters, Homegrown Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Health Department.
The Local Food Resource Hubs Network is sponsoring events Saturday in North and Northeast Minneapolis, and East St. Paul to encourage gardeners to join the hubs and plant an extra row of produce for food shelf donation. Gardeners who participate will be given a free packet of seeds and help in connecting with their local food shelf.
The hubs, through Gardening Matters, offer several garden packages to members—for small gardens up to community gardens—with a mix of seeds and seedlings at prices ranging from $10 to $100.
Nadia Berneche, program director for Gardening Matters, said the program helps reduce barriers to participating in gardening in three ways: it offers access to physical resources, it provides education and it helps create and support community.
“It’s just a way for priming the pump,” she said.
This weekend’s events will be at St. Olaf’s Church in North Minneapolis at 2901 Emerson Ave. N from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Northeast United Methodist Church in Northeast Minneapolis at 2501 Cleveland St. NE from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at First Covenant Church in East St. Paul at 2180 Arcade St. from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Alexander Holston is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.