Urban Agriculture examples from the Twin Cities

I mentioned  my son’s commitment to the farm-to-table, local food movement in another post. He and I toured several urban agriculture sites during my recent trip to the Twin Cities.

I found them fascinating and am waiting to see just how widespread this movement becomes in cities like Chicago and Detroit, which have wide swathes of unused and abandoned land in their poorest enclaves where fresh food is most needed.

The House of Hope Community Garden
The House of Hope Community Garden

The House of Hope Community Garden, which is run by a local Presbyterian Church in St. Paul,  was a personal favorite for me to see because my son has been involved in design and work there. The garden grows food to feed the needy. To know that he’s committed his time and efforts to such a worthy undertaking really made me feel proud and humbled by his great work.

We also saw the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, thought to be one of only two urban gardens that can trace their beginnings all the way back to the World War II victory garden movement. It was started in 1943 and has been in continuous use since.

An old Victory Garden that never stopped fighting for fresh food.
An old Victory Garden that never stopped fighting for fresh food.

I was struck by how this concept, which began in the necessity of war, has come full circle to where today people like my son are advocating for new victory gardens, gardens that will free people from dependence on food trucked and flown in from hundreds and thousands of miles away with all the environmental tolls that involves.

People, especially Millennials, also are clamoring for food that tastes good again. Supermarket tomatoes flown from who knows where and picked green so they can make the trip can not hold a candle taste-wise to locally gown tomatoes picked and eaten fresh.

In a very real sense, my son’s generation is reconnecting with its grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations in their regard for good food, bought fresh, and they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and grow it if they have to.

Urban Ag advocate Matt Frank
Urban Ag advocate Matt Frank

Another stop for us was the Frogtown Farm in St. Paul. These former convent grounds are being converted into an urban farm. The Frogtown section of town is home to large numbers of Vietnamese and Hmong immigrants.

How does all this fit into my blog? Fresh food has no added salt, added fat or added sugar, so I opt for fresh ingredients for my recipes whenever possible. The more urban agriculture succeeds, the fresher my choices, and yours, will become.



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