Karamu Garden’s Early Spring Makeover!

Karamu Urban Garden April 2014A call from Channel 9 to Michael Chaney got everything going Sunday April 13, 2014. By 3:00 pm in the afternoon more than a dozen youth in Project Sweetie Pie orange teeshirts were joined by about 50 neighbors and passer-byers wanting to know what was going on at 1600 Plymouth Av North . . .

Youth Clean Urban Karamu GardenThe work accomplished at 42 degrees was inspiring and a good time was had by all. The youth were rewarded with pizza while the neighbors talked about gardening, food, and worked together to build a wonderful spot.

Clemon Dabney III, Horticulturalist and Buckman Fellow from the University of Minnesota is helping Ms. Nothandu, President of the Black Storyteller’s Alliance and manager of the Karamu garden. For years Mr. Vusumuzi and Ms. Nothando Zulu have shouldered much of the organizing for this communal garden.

Tractor in the city!The Black Storyteller’s Karamu Gardens was formed in 2011 in response to a challenge by Homegrown Minneapolis, the city’s local food program, to encourage neighborhoods to come together to grow their own food. The Black Storytellers and several other community partners worked with Legacy Management, the owner of the next door apartment building with a vacant lot next door to create a communal garden at 1600 Plymouth Avenue North. Ms. Nothando has also been an active member of the Food Council, and a coalition with the Women’s Environmental Institute and EJAM (Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota).

A communal garden is different than a community garden because no one person has a growing plot. All that work in the garden have access to the food, in addition the garden produce is available to the people who live in the Legacy Housing, the neighborhood and with the local food bank.

Marking gardensIn the fall of 2013, the Karamu Garden partnered with Project Sweetie Pie to expand Karamu and make it a Northside Town Commons. The plans include food justice programs with multiple food-producing gardens in Minneapolis and hands on growing opportunities for the community. In January 2014, the Karamu Garden was one of 5 national recipients of the GRO1000 community garden grant awarded by Scott’s through the U.S. Conference of Mayors. This three year, $40,000 grant will provide funds for raised beds, a shade stage/tool shed and programs for local youth and their families.

This location allows Karamu Gardens to involve many other community members currently living in the Prestige Apartments. Because the Karamu Gardens offer a highly visible location on a busy artery in North Minneapolis, the location will also provide visual beauty to the neighborhood. Since early March more than 60 people have met each week at UROC to plan the garden, and to extend the design down Plymouth Ave N. Neighbors want to see a walking track with tiny vegetable gardens from Mickey’s Liquor store on Plymouth Ave N and Emerson up to Northpoint, Urban League and UROC at Plymouth Ave N and Penn Ave N. This .7 miles will be used by walking groups, athletes and others this summer during a walk-it-off campaign.

Tilling urban soil at KaramuMark Monday June 2 from 3-7pm on your calendars and join the fun as Mayor Betsy Hodges and other dignitaries cut a ribbon and launch an afternoon of festivities.


Starfish Throwers and Panel Sat April 12, 2014

April 12 Saturday at 2:00pm — A Panel on Hunger Relief at the Astor Cafe’s River Room (down the hall from St. Anthony Main Movie Theater with the film starting about 4:00 pm. Click here


Join us for an engaging, heartfelt, and practical discussion about how organizations and individuals are acting to end hunger and work toward a more equitable food system.


  • Moderator: Emily Torgrimson, National Co-founder & Executive Director of Eat for Equity
  • Allan Law, “The Sandwich Man,” Founder of Minneapolis Recreation Development, & film subject in The Starfish Throwers
  • Katie Stagliano, Founder & Chief Executive Gardner of Katie’s Krops, & film subject in The Starfish Throwers
  • David Dayhoff, Director of Partnership Engagement and Advocacy at Hunger-Free Minnesota
  • Michael Chaney, Founder of Project Sweetie Pie
  • LaDonna Sanders-Redmond, Education & Outreach Coordinator for Seward Coop


Click here for Trailer:


Minneapolis Wants Your Urban Agriculture Ideas

Good people of Minneapolis!

We have until April 4th to give the city of Minneapolis our thoughts about what are the most challenging barriers to urban agriculture. Please take a moment and rank the following 13 challenges using the Survey Monkey below:

Click here to take survey

Vishwarupa [Vish] Vasani, MPH, CHES Prevention Specialist with the Policy & Community Programs at the Minneapolis Health Department conducted a focus group which identified these as the most challenging barriers to overcome.

We now need you to take a moment to let us know what you have found to be the most vexing, and what you would like the city to focus on first. It’s hard, we would want all of these barriers to go away. However, let’s work together to get a few resolved ASAP!

Click here to take survey