Potted Plants Turns to Plotted Land

When you see your Dakota County neighbors outside in a T-shirt in 50 degree weather, you know winter is about to lift. Portable plant nurseries pop up in parking lots and the John Deere is rattling in the garage, preparing for the first trim.

Spring is almost here and more and more people aren’t just shopping for pretty plants and pots to plant them in. They’re scoping out edible plants and plots to plant them in.

The Dakota County community gardening scene is really taking off, said Kelsey Barale, Gardening Matters GreenCorps member in a recent e-mail.

“Gardening Matters has been meeting with garden groups who are interested in either starting or expanding Dakota County gardens to provide them with support and organizational assistance.”

They’ve done lots of work with community gardens in the Minneapolis and surrounding area, and are now in our backyard.

Pat Schoenecker of Growing Community is another advocate for gardening. She explains, “Growing Community is a citizen-based organization I’ve recently started to help reconnect us to food.” She says that through food, we connect to one another and her organization intends to raise awareness about the importance of healthy food and communities through hands on activities.

Schoenecker sums it up nicely when she says, “Community gardens are just as much about growing community as about growing food.”

For Dakota County residents, the possibilities for gardening are growing, and fast. There are approximately 10 community gardens already and if you’re interested in joining or creating one, Gardening Matters has an abundance of resources on their Web site: www.gardeningmatters.org. You can request a plot and find a garden or even volunteer in a donation-based garden.

Valley Natural Foods supports these efforts in the community through donations, educational opportunities, CSA subscriptions, donation options and other great activities.

To learn more about the gardening and food education scene in Dakota County please visit :

*Gardening Matters suggests using the plot request form to find a community garden near you.

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