The Twin Cities Metro Growers Network was busy in June, fitting in two farm visits in a week!
A small but mighty group of growers and local foods supporters gathered to explore Prairie Smoke Gardens in St. Paul on June 3. Katie and Madrone Kubovcik led us through the “neighborhood supported agriculture” operation on a beautiful afternoon. Katie is also a Farm Education Consultant, working with Big River Farms and Renewing the Countryside as a technical assistance provider, FSA/NRCS Connector and Land Access Navigator.
The Kubovcik produce and eggs help feed 10 families in their neighborhood, and the whole farm is rooted in good community relationships. Says Katie, “because they want us here and support what we are doing, we don’t have all the obstacles to navigate that are common in urban areas. We rent land from our neighbors, they are our customers and their engagement supports not only our production, but the larger goal of building community around food and increasing people’s access and interest in local food production.”
The following Friday, a large group of gardeners, farmers, MDA and other agency staff met up in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis to visit Bullthistle Gardens. David Gray and his family (formerly active in the Cannon River chapter) now grow in a high tunnel atop a parking lot leased through the Minneapolis Garden Lease program. David shared his experience with high tunnel construction, urban growing, and more. He intends to use the high tunnel (pictured above) as a farm stand in the winter with other local growers.
Staff from the Farm Service Agency were also in attendance, and discussed the growing resources for urban and suburban growers in FSA. The Twin Cities are home to an urban FSA County Committee, which David also serves on.
Bullthistle is conveniently located next to Arbeiter Brewing Company, where a few visitors wandered over to to cool off after the tour.
If you live in the Metro (or are willing to drive in), we’d love to see you at a TC Growers event this summer! Stay tuned for more announcements to come. Coordinator Karl Hakanson is always open to ideas for tours and events: email@example.com.
The Twin Cities Metro Growers Network is a collaboration between SFA and University of Minnesota Extension.