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Thursday September 24th 2020

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Growing the Backyard CHAT-25 families and growing!

In the last two years, Growing the Backyard CHAT assisted 25 families to establish gardens and grow their own food. This CHAT empowers Backyard residents to produce their own healthy foods, increase connections to the local food system, and to increase each family’s understanding about how the food system works. Families participating in the project will actively take responsibility for creating and maintaining a series of gardens throughout the Backyard. These activities will also increase a sense of belonging and community for each family. The CHAT team members help to provide supplies and connections to gardening resources and the local food system.

The work of this CHAT team ties into overarching goals that were identified by the Assessment process conducted in 2009 by Backyard Initiative. Two specific points that related to the work of this CHAT include:

  • Families expressed a lack of access to affordable healthy food for their family
  • 97% of Backyard assessment participants felt that affordable locally grown fruits and vegetables were very important

Families have developed a dependency on grocers to provide access to food rather than being able to produce some amount of food on their own. Some families have expressed a reluctance to begin gardening because they have limited knowledge and resources. Others have expressed the belief that their cultural foods cannot grow in Minnesota. Residents may not feel comfortable navigating the existing food system because the system is complex, exclusive and although it may take into consideration cultural differences, it does a poor job of connecting to people of different cultures. Furthermore, promotion of over-processed foods has created a disconnect from the ability and know-how to prepare and store fresh food.

Many of the existing organizations in the backyard have programs that target children, youth and adults, but the work of this CHAT focuses on the entire family.

The Growing the Backyard CHAT feels that people growing food, preparing food, and becoming an active participant in the local food system is integral in preserving and sustaining family life.

CHAT Members include: Hashep Seka, David Boehnke, Deeq Abdi, Shea Peeples, Peter Noble, Lita Beach, Kurt Blomberg, Collie Graddick, Louann Replogle and Sainab Sahal.

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