Environmental Initiative Fetes Project Sweetie Pie

Project Sweetie Pie Earns 2 Environmental Initiative Awards

Environmental-InitiativeMay 22, 2014–Project Sweetie Pie was awarded the “Community Action” and the “Partnerships” award before 480 guests at the Environmental Initiative Awards Ceremony at the Nicollet Inn Pavillion.

Project Sweetie Pie was was selected as exemplifying the Environmental Initiative’s mission to build networks of nonprofit, business, and governmental leaders to work collaboratively to solve environmental problems. Established in 1994, the awards honor partnerships, inspire other organizations to create similar projects, and encourage collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving.

Project Sweetie Pie was a part of the Community Action category along with sister projects, the Frogtown Park and Farm, and the Maplewood Living Streets Policy and Demonstration Project. Other categories included: Energy and Climate, Environmental Education, Food Stewardship, Natural Resources, and Sustainable Business.

Project Sweetie Pie won the Community Action category and was also the winner of eighteen finalists projects receiving the Partnership of the Year Award.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a champion in this great collection of wise and innovative solutions to environmental challenges facing our communities in Minnesota. We look forward to developing new partnerships, making new connections and working together. We hope to bring urban agriculture, solar and other technologies together to create an economic cluster featuring food production, processing and food distribution. We envision training and 21st century jobs for hundreds of residents moving out of poverty. We know it can be done. We want to show the country that focusing on the creation of sustainable wage jobs is as important to our regional vitality as focusing on high end professional jobs. Project Sweetie Pie is seeding change, and we are honored to be recognized as doing things in an admirable way”, stated Michael Chaney, founder.

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

Springing into Action!

March 26 at 8:15 am in Room 5 of the State Office Building

GREAT NEWS!!!….All our hard work paid off!!…We got a formal hearing!!>..NOW we need YOU to show up!!!….

Good people!
Thank you for staying engaged and continuing to make your voice heard at the Capitol!
Our Urban Agriculture bills will be heard in the House Urban Agriculture Policy Committee this Wednesday, March 26th, at 8:15am in Room 5 of the State Office Building.
Make sure to RSVP and attend in support!
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Seed Saving with Master Gardeners

Seed Saving Class AND a Beginning Vegetable Gardening Class at MSHS

MSHS has a couple of great and inexpensive classes coming up.  Enrollment is limited, and pre-registration is required. Please call the MSHS office at 651-643-3601.

Seed Saving – Best Practices Tuesday March 18, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.MSHS Classroom 2705 Lincoln DriveRoseville, MN  55113 $10 MSHS members, $15 nonmembers

Agriculture and gardening, seed saving is the practice of saving seeds or other reproductive material from vegetables, grain, herbs, and flowers for use from year to year. Seeds are generous – one plant can yield over a decade’s worth of seed, saving you incredible amounts of money while offering more varieties to work with in your garden. Learn new skills to be successful at seed saving to ensure desired characteristics are retained.  You can achieve seed saving success! You will learn rules to save seed from your own garden.  You then can share both seed and seed saving knowledge with family and friends.  Cosponsored by Seed Savers Exchange, www.seedsavers.org. Instructor Marty Bergland is a lifelong gardener and Master Gardener Emeritus. She is owner of Heirloom House MN, and a lifetime member of Seed Savers Exchange.  Marty has authored several publications.

Beginning Vegetable Gardening Tuesday April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13 and 20 (6 sessions)6:00 to 8:00 p.m.Location MSHS Classroom 2705 Lincoln DriveRoseville, MN  55113 $30 for all 6 classes. You will receive a certificate of completion if you complete 5 out of 6 classes.

Would you like to start a vegetable garden but don’t know where to start? This series is intended for those with little or no gardening experience.  Learn how to develop a garden plan, choose the best vegetables for your site and maintain your garden throughout the growing season. Classes include presentations, handouts, demonstrations and valuable hands-on activities. Instructors: U of M Extension Master Gardeners from Ramsey County.  Refunds will not be issued for nonattendance except by cancellation at least one week prior to class. MSHS requires a five-student minimum to hold a class. If a class is going to be cancelled, you will be notified three days prior to the class’s start date. You will get a refund if MSHS cancels the class.

Questions? Contact Vicky VogelsCommunity Outreach CoordinatorMinnesota State Horticultural Society2705 Lincoln DriveRoseville, MN  55113 www.northerngardener.org                          651-643-3601, ext 211

Urban Gardening Goes to the Fair!

Thanks to dozens of Project Sweetie Pie supporters and hundreds of corporations and individuals. Urban gardening had its day at the Mn State Fair. Our partner Burpee Seeds provided enough packets to distribute to the hundreds of State-Fair Goers. We will be using these seeds during the winter to start seedlings for next year’s gardens.

Armed with produce and knowledgeable volunteers!

We were armed with sample produce from Minneapolis urban gardens, seeds from Burpee, handbills, cards and knowledgeable volunteers. Project Sweetie Pie brought the story of the inner city green revolution to the state fair. Young volunteers led conversations which ranged from recipes for pickles, to mulching, soil testing, harvesting produce from scattered sites and volunteering. Many visitors wanted to volunteer for a day or two here or there. And, of course the answer is resoundingly YES! Let us know if you are available to help tend to the gardens between now and the fall by contacting us here!

The events at the Mn State Fair were another way to get the message to countless people that Minneapolis is positioned to become an urban gardening model. Next year, Project Sweetie Pie will explore straw-bale gardening, raised beds on pallets similar to what is being done in Seattle WA, and assigning a master gardener to each garden. As well, more classes are planned to help people use, store and freeze foods from the gardens. We invite you to be a part of this exciting transition.

Here are some photos of the fair:


Project Sweetie Pie at the Fair tomorrow Aug 30th

Come join Project Sweetie Pie in the EcoEducation Building from 8am-8pm as we help people learn about urban agriculture.

Sweetie Pie featured in Southwest Journal

Mosaic gardenProject Sweetie Pie Garden Troubadours were spotted doing good at Kingfield Park as they installed Mosaic gardens. These gardens have galvanized CultureCafes, designed to bring social justice and urban food issues to the minds of neighbors and friends. We can all do something about these issues as we create a peaceful and powerful world. . . more here


Spokesman Fete’s Project Sweetie Pie as Teens Get Fresh Food by Stephanie Fox

Gardens to the Markets in North Minneapolis
Gardens to the Markets in North Minneapolis


“Teen Led, Teen Fed” quips Founder Michael Chaney at this year’s outstanding young garden troubadours support more than 20+ gardens all over north Minneapolis. . . more here



Minneapolis: Veggies Rule at Oak Park Food Charter from North News by Maddy  Wegner

This summer has changed lives
This summer has changed lives

Combining the Minnesota Food charter with the launch of the YouthCafe movement brought  food justice issues to the community in a very delicious way. A night of teen talent, food harvested from blocks away and prepared to perfection by Chef Eric Austin (Big E) helped North Minneapolis get on the state of Minnesota’s Food Charter map. . more here

Community Gardens in North Minneapolis!

A memo from Ed Brown At Oasis of Love Garden says:

HELLO — PSP !!!   EVERYBODY JOIN US at 2304 Emerson Ave North

AGAPE KIDS AND FAMILY GARDEN will host a tour (listed in Garden Day Directory) from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Saturday.  We’ll have prizes for the best “top chef” garden fresh recipe and garden poster art contest.  People can share their garden stories during our open mike.  There’ll be garden tasting, music, and fun.
OASIS of Love, Inc.
2304 Emerson Avenue North
612/529-6055 or 612/287-9775
preferred email:  oasisofloveinc@comcast.net
GardeningMatters.org says:
Remember there are tons of other gardens and fun activities on Saturday Aug 10th. Check out the website gardening matters.org for maps and lists.
A Memo from Chris Kosowski: North End Community Garden, with the Project Sweetie Pie plot, is having an open house celebration too!  Contact Anita Wallace (walla027@umn.edu) for details.

Thanks, Chris Kosowski
It starts in a garden
Here is the Northside Community Garden as well!







Here are other gardens all over the city, many in north Minneapolis have been tended by the Project Sweetie Pie/AfroEco/EJAM STEP-UP students this summer:

AGAPE/OASIS Kids & Family Garden Project 2305 Emerson Ave N. Join us for food, art, music, open mic garden storytelling, and prizes for winners of the “top chef garden recipe contest!” 1:30-3:30pm. www.oasisofloveinc.org

Common Ground 52nd & Newton Ave N. Come see the native prairie area, winding shady path, herb garden, and raised vegetable beds. 11:00am-12:30pm. More info: 763-561-1616

Emerson Place Garden 25th Ave N & Emerson Ave N Homemade lemonade, garden tours, and newly installed bee hives! 4-6pm 

Hawthorne EcoVillage Community Garden 3100 Lyndale Ave N. Stop in for a snack, garden tour, and more info about our energy efficiency, fore-closure/crime prevention, and other community-based initiatives! 3:00-5:00pm. Facebook- HawthorneEcovillageCommunityGarden

JD Rivers Children’s Garden 2900 Glenwood Ave. Youth will prepare gar-den snacks, provide tours of the garden, and lead scavenger hunts in the garden for kids. 11:30am-1:30pm. More info: 612 499-9248

Kwanzaa Church Community Garden & EJAM 2100 Emerson Ave. N. Fun, kid-friendly event will include demonstration of compressed earth blocks as a construction form! 10am-Noon www.facebook.com/EJAMN.org

North End Community Garden Lowry and Penn Ave N. Snacks, art pro-jects, and garden tours! 12:00-2:00pm. More info: 612-716-1453

The Olive Garden 1422 Oliver Ave N Celebration of “Gardens Galore” in N Mpls with Project Sweetie Pie & Afro Eco. Music, speakers, kids activities, & more! Sisters Camelot will bring their bus and distribute vegetables  2-4pm projectsweetiepie.org or info@projectsweetiepie.org

Project Superman Neighborhood Garden 2028 Sheridan Ave N. & Garden of Eating Diabetic Garden 3001 James Ave N. Food, music, games, & more! 12:00-2:30pm. More info: supermanproject.rh@gmail.com or 612-600-3744

St. Olaf Community Campus Farm 2901 Emerson Ave N. Harvest feast featuring youth-grown veggies, youth-led garden tours, bouncy castle, face painting, garden games, and more! 2:00-4:00pm. youthfarmmn.org

Washington Community Garden 3346 Washington Ave N Light snacks, tour led by Hmong gardeners, educational opportunities, and support Go Motor shop. 10:30am-1:30pm More info: 612-721-0122 or capiusa.org

WE WIN Institute 621 Elwood Ave N. African drumming & dance, food, kids activities, & garden tour! 11:00am-1:00pm. More info: 612-721-2364


Fresh Food On 4th 4000 4th Ave S. Collard Green Cook-Off and tasting, a gardening skill share, and many more gardening activities for adults and youth. 12:00pm-2:00pm. More info: 612-280-7072

Jardin Paraiso/Paradise Garden 3405 Chicago Ave. Demos and recipes for purslane, or verdolagas, the edible plant considered a “weed” here. 10am-noon. More info: silvia@corcoranneighborhood.org

Southside Star Community Garden 4100 South 32nd Ave Join us for sto-rytime with Roosevelt Library from 5-5:30pm. The rest of the evening will be filled with food, discussion, kids activities, and tours. 4:00-8:00pm. More info: 612-968-4777

Windom Community Garden 62nd St & Nicollet Ave Potluck picnic, lemon-ade & cookies provided. Face painting, scavenger hunt, crafts, & musical jam—bring your instruments! 4:30-6:30pm. More info: 612-423-7554


Alley Cat Community Garden 3606 . Van Buren St NE Mingle with some gardeners and enjoy acoustic music, face painting, and an art project for kids. Please park on Columbia Pkwy, and walk down alley between Van Buren and Architect. 1:30-3:00pm. More info: 612-703-2102

Fairshare Farm and Como Corner 1000 22nd Ave SE Como Corner Commotion Block Party: Local vendors, artists, musicians, food, and presentations by Como Corner and FairShare Farm gardeners. 12-6pm. www.secomo.org

Foundry Community Garden 349 13th Ave NE Join us for music and a tour of gardens and surrounding businesses. 12:00-4:00pm. More info: 608-628-5432

NE United Methodist Community Garden 2510 Cleveland St NE. Demo for garden markers, recycled garden art projects, and tours led by gardeners! 2:00-5:00pm. More info: 612-789-7462

Prospect Park Community Gardens- Yale 1401 Yale Ave SE Snacks from the onsite brick oven using fresh garden ingredients served from noon-3pm. 10am-3pm. ppcg.info@gmail.com

Waite Park Community Garden 3601 Lincoln St NE. Take an evening stroll through the garden and sample some garden produce! 6:30-8:30pm. wpccngmember@gmail.com or find on Facebook


www.gardeningmatters.org 612-821-2358