U of M Extension Master Gardeners train public housing residents to beautify their surroundings, grow their own food and make their high-rise apartments and town homes feel more like home. The residents do this by becoming Garden Mentors. They take on leadership and facilitation responsibilities in their neighborhood community garden. Garden Mentors currently work the gardens at six high-rises and one town home development.
By giving away the easy-care houseplants in pretty containers, along with written instructions for their care, Stevens County Master Gardeners have created awareness and grown interest in gardening with more than 150 college students this year. They also made them feel less lonely being away from home.
Realizing that not everyone has access to land to plant a large-scale vegetable garden, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in Hubbard County coordinated a “Patio Vegetable Gardening Program” to reduce that obstacle for food shelf clientele.
The schoolyard garden at Bruce Vento Elementary in St. Paul continues to grow, with Extension and other parts of the University of Minnesota working together. In 2018, seven Extension Master Gardener volunteers from Ramsey County funded and assisted students and staff with an overhaul of eight raised garden beds they had built in 2015, making them more accessible for all types of gardeners.
Residents of Rush City had some land and funds to start a community garden, and plenty of motivation—there is no full-service grocery story within the city limits. They contacted the University of Minnesota Extension office in Chisago County for help starting a community garden.