YA Dig! Blog

Planting and Tilling with Project Sweetie Pie


We are starting to need some help with the gardens Here is the list: we will be updating it as we go forward. Each garden is managed independently. Project Sweetie Pie helps gardens take root and blossom into a more vibrant and engaged community.

Tilling and Planting MAY start this weekend at the following gardens:


1) 1403 Plymouth–find Nardal Stroud

2) Anwattin School–look for James White

3) 8th and Humboldt

4) 12th and Knox–look for Candis McKelvy

5) 1422 Olive Garden–look for Jack Jackman and Robert Chaney

6) 24th and Emerson Oasis of Love Garden–look for EB Brown

7) 2013 Sheridan–look for Rekoe Howard

8) 26th and Bryant

9) 3001 James–look for Darryl Lindsay with Better Futures

10) 4000 4th Ave South–look for Bill Green

11) 2700 Plymouth (Plymouth and Upton)–look for Rosemary Williams (need to get dirt and needs to get it spread around the garden–a lot of people with bad backs, need about 24 seedlings–open to whatever)

12) Kingfield Neighborhood on Nicollet Ave S–look for Cheryl or Sarah Lynes Robinson, however, work will start sometime next week–check for updates

13) 3648 Fremont Ave N Camden Garden–look for Lisa Dunlap (need to remove rocks, till soil, extra digging, can always use more seedlings)

14) 3653 Emerson Ave N Camden Garden (next door to Sanctuary Church Bldg)–look for LIsa Dunlap (need to put raised beds together with bricks, can always use more seedlings)

15) 2001 Newton N need to dig up the land tomorrow–look for Ramadan Campbell-Bey

16) 1827 Dupont–look for Rev. Michael Pugh

17) 4220 Newton Ave N the garden is on Morgan across the street from Patrick Henry High School–look Louis Alemayehu this garden won’t go in this weekend, but hopefully the next week after the hoop house tarp is purchased.

More information, coming, send us photos, stories and videos!

Community Table Business Planning in Hutchinson MN

Mr. Blia Thao and Mrs. Phua Yang, Spring Valley WI local farmers. Visit them at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market!

May 9, 2013–A group of 15 farmers, food producers, volunteers, food managers, coop visionaries, and Project Sweetie Pie car-pooled to Hutchinson MN as guests of AgStar Bank  to develop  a business plan for Community Table with Paul Filzen, Zach Rada, Steve Zenk and Mike Mastey, Farm Business Management Instructors with Ridgewater College.

Attendees spent the day refinin  a business structure and financial plan that organizes a network with the Hmong Farmers Cooperative, the Cooperative of Latin American Growers, Happy Acres Farm, Project Sweetie Pie and other grower cooperatives. The Community Table would aggregate the food, and then process it and distribute to large and small customers. This would allow many farmers a chance to sell up to 30% more produce. It would also allow food from small scattered gardens grown by kids in the community to be sold to a large buyer like the MPS school system where the kids could then eat the produce for lunch.

This effort unites the urban agricultural movement with its local rural movement so that  the growth of city gardening does not adversely impact local farmers.

15 local and urban farmers and coop organizers car-pooled to Hutchinson MN to learn about building an integrated farm network thanks to AgStar Bank and the instructors at Ridgewater College Farm Business Management Instructors.



The Morrill Hall/Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Connection

During 1968 after the assignation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hundreds of organizations on and off campuses across the country took action to create social justice. In 1969, at the University of Minnesota, a campus of 40,000 students, only 87 were Black and none were from the local area. There was no mention of African American, Native American, Latino or other cultural histories. Many student groups still had written guidelines restricting the inclusion of Black students.

In 1968 the Afro American Action Committee (AAAC) emerged from the civil rights movement and  stood on the shoulders of the NAACP and the Niagra Movement. In 1969 thirty students sacrificed all that they had and staged a sit-in at Morrill Hall, then the President’s office at UMN and the hub of college business. They had 7 demands which included scholarships for bright local high school students, the establishment of an Afro American Department, and demanded integration of policy and governance organizations within the University of Minnesota.

Take a moment to view the AAAC’s award-winning video:

This story told by Rose Freeman Massey, Ph.D, Horace Huntley, Ph.D., and John S. Wright Ph.D. was also outlined in an article from the Mn Daily  Rachel Tilsen epitomized the term Social Justice. She was a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister friend and wife–and a good lawyer. She was a fierce freedom fighter and lover of life. She show us how to stand in quiet, and sometimes very noisy support of social justice regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, or cultural beliefs. These courageous 30 students and Rachel Tilsen, Ken Tilsen and the Tilsen generations give us an example of how simple actions create social justice for all. On their behalf, our project was chosen, and we are so grateful.

Rose McGee and Project Sweetie Pie

History of PSP (North High and Rose McGee)
This is not the first opportunity for Project Sweetie Pie to use neighborhood scattered gardens to seed community activism and help the community’s youth bring food justice issues forward. PSP started as a response to the closing of North High School. Project Sweetie Pie has a similar history to Kingfield—community misunderstanding and disenfranchisement.  When the school board was about to close North High, Project Sweetie Pie started a program to grow sweet potato plants in the North High green house. Within three months in 2011, 5 scattered gardens were developed. Community members joyfully came together to work in the gardens under the watchful eyes of the University of Minnesota’s master gardeners who taught youngsters how to plant and tend gardens. Rose McGee purchased the sweet potatoes to make sweet potato pies. Artists and chefs came to the gardens to show people how to prepare the fresh vegetables and how to celebrate this new urban gardening. The next year, 2012, 10 gardens were nurtured. This year more than 20 gardens will be cultivated—seeds are being grown at the Shakopee Mdewanketon reservation, North High and at various churches and schools. Project Sweetie Pie is working with Community Table to aggregate the produce from the gardens and sell it to the Minneapolis Public Schools so that the kids eat what they grow.

Celebrating at the Morrill Hall/Rachel Tilsen Fund Dinner on May 4, 2013 are Rose McGee, Michael Chaney, Rep. Karen Clark and Peg Thomas


Healing a rift: 50 years after 35W tore us apart

Project Sweetie Pie and Kingfield Neighborhood Get Morrill Hall/Tilsen Foundation Award to continue racial healing

Few track the anniversaries of highways, but 35W, in 1963 was a strategic decision to divide the Black communities from the more affluent white communities in Minneapolis–and it succeeded. Cultures evolved differently between the Kingfield Neighborhood with an average of $50,000 and adjacent Bryant neighborhood with an average of $12,000. Other statistics couldn’t be more sharply contrasted. The healing started, and this year exciting events will help it continue.


More Photos Here
Partnership between Project Sweetie Pie the Kingfield Neighborhood Association and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Committee

To honor the work of the Afro American Action Committee (AAAC) and Rachel Tilsen, the Kingfield Neighborhood Association, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Committee (with members of Field, Regina, Bryant, Lynhurst and Kingfield neighborhoods), and Project Sweetie Pie will be creating a mosaic vegetable garden at the Martin Luther King Park in South Minneapolis. This project galvanizes mutual understand and friendship between neighbors in the Kingfield, Bryant and Field communities. Together the Kingfield Neighborhood Association and Project Sweetie Pie will engage people young and old to benefit from gardening, creating art, and culinary classes.


Kingfield and Project Sweetie Pie Create Gardens

Dear MLK Garden Stakeholders:

I know it has been a long time since we met and talked and planned for a community at MLK Park, and for a solid year I have had nothing to report, and suddenly I do! A couple of weeks ago I met with a man named Michael Chaney who started and runs an organization called Project Sweetie Pie, we talked for an hour or two and Peg Thomas joined us toward the end of the conversation, she whipped out a grant and submitted it within a matter of days and it was approved last week and the $4000 award from the Morrill Hall/Rachael Tilsen Fund was given at a ceremony this past weekend—suddenly this project is real!

IMG_0454 IMG_0471

The project will begin this year as a youth garden organized and led by Project Sweetie Pie, integrating paid youth interns from Step-up with unpaid community youth. It will be small– 9 raised beds or 81 square feet. The beds will mimic the demographics of the Mosaic Quilting project recently installed on the other side of the building which celebrates the cultural communities that make up our neighborhood. The mosaics of glass and metal interpret cultural textile patterns. The gardens will do the same through cultural food crops, and eventually though cultural cooking and celebrations we hope.

Thanks to the MN Horticultural Society we are receiving the cedar boxes , dirt to fill them, and a donation of plants at no cost. We will pick these up next week, and then begin to try and figure out dates for the community interaction to begin on this project. If you are still interested in this project and want to be kept informed as we move forward, including being invited to volunteer plot building, planting, and cooking days…please let me know!

Thank you all for your energy and commitment to a greener and healthier Kingfield—please let me know how you would like to be involved!
Sarah Linnes-Robinson, Executive Director
Kingfield Neighborhood Association

Sacred Garden Flash Mob Planting Powderhorn Park

Plant seeds to be used by youth gardeners all over the community. Plant the seeds of change!


Convocation/Ribbon of Life

(A Sacred Garden Flash Mob Planting)
We can grow
Walk in faith
Sharing space
Mother Earth
“A Sacred Place”
Blessed Be-Peace
Within the family of man
-Blessed Be The Peacemakers-for they shall inherit the earth
One Love-One Mind-One People-One EarthJoin us in celebrating the Coming of Spring. Let us celebrate as one/a
community in harmony and herald in the gardening season in unison.
Let us give voice and give thanks to our continued joy, peace, and tranquility.On Sunday, May 5th at 4:30 p.m. at the May Day Celebration at Powderhorn Park
we are planting the seeds of change. We will be seeding starter plants that will be
donated to youth garden projects in the Twin Cities.If you are a beginning or experienced gardener, Conga Drummer,
Buddhist or Tibetan Chanter, Yoga Practitioner, Praise Dancer, Sufi
Dancer, Tai Chi or Qigong practicioner,
we would like to invite you to come gather with us in your sacred practice
as we honor Mother Earth by creating a  ceremonial labyrinth and communal ritual
that joins us all in a symbolic ribbon of life.

4:30 p.m.
Sunday May 5th
May Day Celebration at Powderhorn Park

Near the Pagoda

***Special Thanks***

Gardening Matters * Project Sweetie Pie *
Douglas Ewart/Aarawak Productions
*The Qigong Connection*

For more information about how you can be involved in
the ceremony and other communal garden starter plantings call
Michael Chaney/Project Sweetie Pie at 651-307-2563

Project Sweetie Pie “Planting the Seeds of Change”


PeaceJam with Project Sweetie Pie

Join up at PeaceJam at North High on 15th and James in North Minneapolis on this glorious Saturday at 1:15 pm in Oak Park as we plant the seeds of change! Activities on Saturday and Sunday feature the projects and learning our youth will be showing Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee from Liberia. Vision a world of peace and understanding.

Just last week we were warming ourselves at the Paul Wellstone Center as we celebrated the Mother Earth Fest. We are thrilled to be involved in these events.

Project Sweetie Pie and the Kingfield Neighborhood Association were honored to receive one of three Morrill Hall Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund award for work to create a community garden.

Creating a Mosaic Garden at the Martin Luther King Park in South Minneapolis continues the legacy of Rachel Tilsen and the AAC committee which in 1969 took over Morrill Hall at the University of Minnesota in an effort to create more attention to Black and ethnic integration and academic scholarship. The Kingfield mosaics were created by over 300 community members. Designing and implementing a garden featuring these beautiful mosaic panels with patterns from ethnic communities in South Minneapolis galvanizes mutual understand and friendship between neighbors in the Kingfield, Bryant and Field communities. Together the Kingfield Neighborhood Association and Project Sweetie Pie will engage people young and old to benefit from gardening, art, and culinary classes culminating in a harvest fest.

Thanks for keeping up with Project Sweetie Pie. Next week we will tell you about the 20+ gardens that we are planning so that North Minneapolis is going green!