Foodscaping Downtown Mpls

grgardens-1Green Rock Apartments is growing veggies in the median! A long narrow space between parking lots at our downtown Minneapolis location on Washington Ave is now home to all sorts of veggies: broccoli tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplant, bean, and kale. Plus we’ve got a giant wormwood plant and climbing morning glories, and of course, everything here is organically grown without the use of chemicals.

It’s what we like to call foodscaping – growing edible plants in places where we might otherwise put grass, flowers or shrubs. We have taken this approach to all of our properties, providing the perk of fresh veggies to our tenants.

Scroll down for more pics. Happy gardening!

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Urban Farming Episode Recap

Last weekend Dale brought on guests Russ Henry and Jane Shey from Giving Tree Gardens and Home Grown Minnesota to discuss Urban Farming here in Minneapolis. In case you missed the show, you can listen to it here. Read on to get the highlights! When you eat local food you use a lot less oil than food that is shipped around the world. Better yet, food grown organically in your yard can truly be “fossil fuel free food.” But what about my precious green grass?! Grass has just a slightly better run-off rate than concrete – meaning, most water runs off the grass and into the sewer system rather than going back into the watershed. This is a HUGE problem! We are draining of watersheds faster than we are filling them, which will eventually lead to a shortage of water. By planting native grasses or gardens in your lawn instead of grass you can minimize water run-off. A brief urban farming history of Minneapolis: from 1963-2012 it was illegal to farm – aka sell produce from your garden – in Minneapolis. In 2012 those laws were overturned to not only allow but to encourage urban farms. This monumental change was not without resistance though. Some local city politicians (who did not win the support of their party in the following election cycle!) formed a coalition that insisted on market garden licenses for urban farming that would restrict the days that they could sell to just 15 pre-described days per year. Thankfully a little something called the Constitution of the State of Minnesota says in article 13 section 7 that there should be no limits or requirements on the sale of farm produce. Take that status-quo defenders! We are living at a time of revolution for the food system. By taking the matter into our own hands – and into our own gardens – we are changing the culture of food and the impact it has on Earth. Last year there were 106 community gardens in Minneapolis, making a total of 21.5 acres of food production in the city. Right now there are 1500 vacant lots in North Minneapolis, most of which used to have residential property that went into foreclosure. Think of the growing potential of all that land… When you garden you may find that you have a surplus during the harvest season – more than you can eat or store, or give away to friends and family. Our guests suggested a great alternative to letting it spoil: donate it to a food shelf! There are over 75 food shelves in Minneapolis, and all of them need fresh produce. An organization called Healthy Food Shelves is running a campaign to “Plant an Extra Row” so that you can easily donate during the growing season. It’s that simple! Learn more at http://www.healthyfoodshelves.org/ Here are some other great websites mentioned during the show: We Can Grow | They will come set-up a garden for you and teach you how to garden! http://wecangrowmn.blogspot.com/ Gardening Matters | Local Resource Hub, get hooked up with a gardening club and on-going classes  http://www.gardeningmatters.org/hubs Home Grown Minneapolis | Grow, process, distribute, eat and compost more healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods here in Minneapolis. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability/homegrown/ Minneapolis Dept. of Agriculture | Minnesota Grown, directory of all the farmers in the state. http://www3.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown/ Here is the list of Minneapolis Farmer’s Markets locations and schedules: