Urban Ag Needs Your Support: Join Us On January 15th @ 12N


We can work together ensure that a healthy food source continues growing. We welcome  your  support, comments, suggestions and attendence.  Share with your Facebook, Twitter friends.  All are welcome. 

For More Information Contact:

Carolyn Brown:    Phone: 651-225-8778   Email:  csp501dale@gmail.com

                   Michael Chaney:  Phone: 763-227-4881                                                                                                                                      Email info@projectsweetiepie.org or mvchane@netscape.net

                  Ed McDonald:      Phone: 651-757-1751   Email:   edward.mcdonald@state.mn.us

Urban Ag Legislation

State Council on Black Minnesotans: January 15, 2015 - 12PM
State Council on Black Minnesotans: January 15, 2015 – 12PM

January 15 _Urban Ag Legislation Page 3 of 6January 15 _Urban Ag Legislation Page 4 of 6January 15 _Urban Ag Legislation Page5 of 6January 15 _Urban Ag Legislation Page 6 of 6


History is in the making. Join us in growing the green movement. The
future of urban farming is in your hands. Please share with your
networks and join us on the hill.

Happy New Year!!! We are excited to have you and others involved with
this effort. Representative Clark has build a lot of energy for out
efforts at the Capitol and are counting on us to deliver the community
support for this nation leading urban agriculture effort. We are
working hard to not let her down and we will not.  Please join our
efforts. Visit the council web site atwww.mn.gov/cobm to get
information about our day on the hill (agenda) Thursday, Janurary 15th
and various legislative proposals (including Urban Ag detail
legislation) in the 2015 legislative proposal document.  To your
question, the Urban Agriculture Bills achieve the following:
·        Requires cities with 60,000 or more residents to create
agriculture development zones when conducting land use
planning. ·        Make the League of Minnesota Cities a source for
model urban agriculture ordinance. ·        Requires the Department of
Agriculture to make grant and loans available for urban agriculture
activities in cities with populations of 60,000 or more
residents. ·        Requires The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable
Agriculture to establish a framework for
participatory    problem-solving in local communities throughout
ruraland urban Minnesota that will strengthen the connection between
local communities, identified food deserts, as defined by the United
States  Department of Agriculture, and deficient affordable fresh and
organic food access zones in urban communities,regions, and the
land-grant university; invest research, education, and outreach dollars
to meet agreed- upon local and regional needs; and foster the
development of integrated agricultural systems that are profitable,
enhance environmental quality, and supporthealthy rural and urban
communities. Let me know f you have other questions.
Edward C. McDonald | Executive Director | Council On Black Minnesotans
1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E1240 St. Paul
MN 55101
Direct:  651-757-1751 | Email:edward.mcdonald@state.mn.us | website:
Moving Beyond Tolerance to Allophilia

Connect with Council On Black Minnesotans

Michael Chaney/PSP 763-227-4881.

Field Trips, Garden Tips, News & Events

Project Sweetie Pie:  Road Trip!
On Thursday July 31, 2014 Project Sweetie Pie youth, mentors and North side Resident Redevelopment Council/NRRC Step-Up summer interns got on the bus, packed the chicken sandwiches and left the mean streets and green gardens of north Minneapolis far behind. We went on a ROAD TRIP and were pleasantly pleased to find that there is life forms beyond the 55411 zip code. The tour was coordinated, organized, and sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Say What?

NRCS is a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture with field agents scattered and housed throughout the state, Cutrina Moreland/NRCSwas our gracious host and she “made our day”.  We started the day with a visit to Waconia, Minnesota where we met Lisa Buckner/district conservationist. Our gardening troubadours learned about soil erosion and were given a first-hand demonstration on how to use survey equipment.

Lisa Buckner/district conservationist with the United States Department of
Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service demonstrates setup and
use of survey equipment at the Waconia field office.

We then traveled south to Jordan, Minnesota. We had lunch at the Jerry Blackwell farm. Jerry is an African American corporate lawyer. He is creating a working farm/retreat center for urban youth. Urban dwellers will be able to visit a working farm and experience first-hand the values and virtues of country living. We were given a royal reception by Jerry’s father in law-Dale Wilson. Goats, Chickens, and Bees (oh my) Jerry we salute you. The farm is remarkable. Your vision is incredible. Job well done!

Pictured: Cutrina Moreland of NRCS-Step Up Youth, KatundraShears, District Conservationist, and Leslie Diaz-soil conservationist.

We concluded our sojourn to the country by visiting the Scott County Fair Grounds. There we were introduced to Leslie Diaz/soil conservationist and Katundra Shears/district conservationist. Both have enjoyed long and illustrious careers with the USDA. They shared with our Step Up students some of their vast knowledge about soil texture and tried and true means and methods of preventing soil erosion. Thank you ladies for sharing tricks of the trade that are invaluable to all urban farmers- young or old.

Photos courtesy of Julie MacSwain/NRCS

KARE 11 Talks With Eleven Who Care Award Winner             Michael Chaney Of Project Sweetie Pie 

It’s Saturday morning and Project Sweetie Pie’s Founder Michael Chaney, Treasurer Catherine Fleming, Youth Leader Adam Pruitt, share a discussion with Kare11 television. Mentors, volunteers and Karamu Garden’s neighborhood community share in a demonstration.

Check out this story courtesy of KARE11 at:


Follow Project Sweetie Pie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProjectSweetieP

Making A Difference? Eleven Who Cares Celebrates With 30th Year Anniversary Awards Ceremony

Golden Valley, MN:  2014 marks the 30th class of outstanding local volunteers recognized through the Eleven Who Care program. KARE 11 will share the unique and inspiring stories of eleven outstanding volunteers, recognizing a different honoree each month.

Recipient & Award Winner Michael Chaney: Project Sweetie Pie (Minneapolis) – Founder and leader of Project Sweetie Pie, a program dedicated to connecting youth in North Minneapolis with community gardening. Known as the Johnny Appleseed of North Minneapolis, Michael and the PSP team works to manage over 25 gardens while partnering with other non-profits to expand urban farming and entrepreneurial opportunities in the community.

At the foot of the Masters
As experienced as they might or might not be, garden enthusiasts took the time out of their busy schedules to tour the Karamu garden located at 1600 Plymouth Ave. N. On Saturday, Aug 3rd members of that elite group known as the Master Gardeners explored the tomatoes and examined the raised beds full of cilantro, mustard greens, and collards. Under the apt leadership of Terri Straub the Master Garden Program is an initiative of the University of Minnesota that assists in the development of not only community gardens but also certifies and trains individuals interested in the art or gardening. A special shout out to Mr. Del Hampton affectionately known to all his e-mail friends as “Farmer Del”. He not only helped coordinate the tour but was one of the many fine gardeners who volunteered to assist in the design and implementation of the garden. He is pictured here leading the charge. Thank you Del for your continued leadership. As mouthwatering as the rows and rows of horticultural splendor might be many of the guests to the garden seemed particularly enamored with the magnificent bed of wild flowers. The honey bees and the many visiting lovely monarch butterflies seem to share that sentiment. Let your feet do the voting, feel free to stop by the garden. Pull a weed/feel free to pick a carrot or a fresh red cherry tomato. Come and Meet the neighbors!

Photos courtesy of  Michael Chaney, PSP

Photos courtesy of  Terry Straub, Program Coordinator,University of Minnesota Extension,
Master Gardener Program — Hennepin County


Spread the word, forward our email and share this flyer!   All Volunteers are welcome to join us for our September 6th event. 

Interested In:
Advertising or Sponsorship’s?
Donations of supplies-plants-seeds-tools?

Contact Michael Chaney: T: 763-227-4881 or Email: mvchane@aim.com



Mn Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger praises Open Streets

Project Sweetie Pie received the most wonderful letter from Minnesota Health Department Commissioner Ed Ehlinger praising the May 31, 2014 Open Streets event. Here is what he says:

From: Ehlinger, Ed (MDH)
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2014 9:33 PM
Subject: Open Streets – North Minneapolis Greenway Experience

20140531_114117On Saturday, while participating in this summer’s first Open Streets event, lines from a couple Maya Angelou poems kept running through my mind.  Given that Angelou had died just three days earlier and that I was biking with members of the Major Taylor Bicycle Club (an African American bike club) through north Minneapolis, I wasn’t surprised that verses from “Still I Rise” and “Million Man March” were rising into my consciousness and marching through my brain.

Biking down Humboldt Avenue North and seeing the remnants of the house and tree damage caused by the tornado 3 years ago and the foreclosed homes and vacant lots caused by predatory lending of the last decade and years of community-level poverty, I could hear the poet clearly lament:

The night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.
Million Man March

Appetite for ChangeBut the mood was not one of sadness or defeat.  Instead, there was joy in the air and it was contagious as our group pedaled through the neighborhood.  There were bikers everywhere.  Those who weren’t biking were laughing, waving, and enjoying the spectacle. Many of the vacant lots were slowly being reclaimed by sprouting vegetables – part of a network of community gardens.  Schools and churches along the route were offering food and music.  Dance groups were performing on temporary stages at several venues.  Tents put up by community agencies lined the streets and offered education, information, connections, and water.  And community members were beaming as they interacted with each other. Among this hubbub I could envision a triumphant smile on the face of Maya Angelou as she demanded:

I say, clap hands and let’s come together in this meeting ground,
I say, clap hands and let’s deal with each other with love,
I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference,
Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts,
Let us come together and revise our spirits,
Let us come together and cleanse our souls
 Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge,Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation,
Million Man March

photoAnd there was joy in this Open Streets community-building conversation/event that couldn’t be dampened even by the threat of rain.

Our Advancing Health Equity report outlined many of the policies and structural inequities that have disadvantaged communities of color and American Indians in our state and it highlighted many of the health disparities that have resulted.  It did one of the things that public health is supposed to do – redefine the unacceptable.  What hasn’t received as much attention is the more up-lifting role of public health that the report suggested – assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.  photo 1Engaging and empowering communities in creating opportunities to be healthy is one of the best ways to do that.  Community engagement and empowerment is what I saw rising up last weekend in one of the poorest and most stressed neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.         
Still I Rise

Despite the magnitude and seeming intractability of the disparities in our state, I am optimistic that we can achieve health equity. Community after community is showing us how to make that happen.

Health equity is on the rise.

Edward P. Ehlinger, MD, MSPH
Minnesota Department of Health
625 Robert St. N.
P.O. Box 64975
St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
(651) 201-5810
Assistant: Sandy Pizzuti
(651) 201-5804

Gardening and Urban Farming Academy June 1


Community Garden Academy

Working in partnership with Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, ScottsMiracle-Gro, Gardening Matters, Mpls Homegrown, Project Sweetie Pie, an educational program for community gardeners will be offered for free:

Sunday, June 1 from 3:00 – 5:30 pm at Rainbow Terrace Community Room, 1710 Plymouth Ave. N. Minneapolis 55411.          

Pizza will be served.

GRO1000 Community Garden Academy is a 2.5-hour free workshop designed to bring together those individuals invested in community gardens to discuss gardening best practices and sustainability. The Academy will be led by community garden expert Bill Dawson of the award-winning Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Bill Dawson has devoted his lifetime to teaching others about his love of gardening and nature and inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds by his passion and enthusiasm for his work.

Franklin Botanical Park Bill has worked at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for over 20 years and has been leading the Conservatory’s Growing to Green Community Garden Program since 2000. Since the creation of Growing to Green in 2000, Bill has helped to grow the number of community gardens in Columbus, Ohio from a dozen to more than 250 in just 14 years. Today, thanks to Bill’s help, the City of Columbus has more thriving community gardens per capita than any other major metropolitan city.

Please RSVP to: info@projectsweetiepie.org space is limited to 40 people so make your reservation now.