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:

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:



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