Urban agriculture contributes to the Twin Cities’ food security and food safety. It increases the total amount of food available to people living in these two metropolitan area cities. It also allows fresh, high-quality vegetables, fruits, and other food products to be grown and produced for urban customers.
Farmers deliver delicious, fresh-picked produce to markets and garden stores around MSP, while local organizations assist in promoting local agriculture and establishing an urban farm infrastructure. Organizations, such as the Shared Ground Farmers’ Co-op, have demonstrated a strong commitment to making environmentally sustainable farming a career and business venture for any who chose to pursue it.
Business partnerships cultivate group and individual plots that occupy several acres across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Each of these agriculture entities produces organic and healthy food that is USDA certified.
One business venture—in particular, Stone’s Throw—serves as a cooperative storefront and distribution arm that provides many of the perishable crops that don’t require a lot of space, like tomatoes, lettuce and cooking greens. Another nearby business, Growing Lots, is an organic urban farm that provides supplemental crops during the fall season until Thanksgiving.
Another staple of the Urban agriculture community is Frogtown Farm, a 5.5-acre farm embedded in a 12.7-acre park between Minnehaha Avenue, Lafond Avenue, Chatsworth Street and Victoria Street in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. Frogtown Farm is one of the country’s largest contiguous urban farms. Frogtown Farm supervises production on about three acres, distributing harvested produce to low-income residents.
Stone’s Throw and others are leveraging open spaces within the metropolitan landscape to plants and harvest hundreds of thousands of plants each year. In many cases, the harvest is greater than the capacity of the facilities upon which these entities sell their products. Therefore, the growers sell the surplus to partnering farms, restaurants, grocery stores, or other businesses in the area.
Although larger farms are thriving throughout MSP, many of the urban agricultural developments are smaller and less prominent. Yet, regardless of their size, small gardens are still making a significant impact in the community.
The most visible examples of MSP’s small-scale urban ag movement are community gardens, where single people, families, or small groups grow produce for themselves and, sometimes, a small farmers market stall. Gardening Matters, an urban gardening and agriculture organization, maintains a comprehensive map of community gardens in Minneapolis and St. Paul using data supplied by the gardens themselves. According to Gardening Matters, more than 350 community gardens currently exist across MSP. More than 250 of the gardens produce. Most are owned and operated by city governments, nonprofit institutions, faith-based institutions, or private individuals and families.
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