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Sunday July 23rd 2017

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Growing the Backyard CHAT Returns to its Roots

Container Garden at 2020 Oakland Avenue

Container Garden at 2020 Oakland Avenue

By Cherry Flowers and Tim Page

With renewed enthusiasm, and building on the successes of previous years, Growing the Backyard CHAT (Community Health Action Team) members are focusing energy on truly GROWING the backyards of residents in the “Backyard” neighborhoods! Growing the Backyard CHAT is part of the Backyard Initiative facilitated by the Cultural Wellness Center, and sponsored by Allina Health. This year, Growing the Backyard CHAT existing members-Collie Graddick, Candis McKelvy, and Tim Page-the Project Manager, welcome new active members: Cherry Flowers, Bunmi Odumuye, Abdullah Mohamud, and Dallas Johnson. The team is also looking for more neighbors who have knowledge to share.

Do YOU have a urban farming related skill to share with your neighbors? Volunteer to be a resident facilitator! Young adults involved in the TEENs CHAT will also facilitate SkillShare opportunities for interested residents including members of other CHATs. Participants will share knowledge and skills related to urban farming in order to empower neighbors to pursue related interests. We also plan to tap into the knowledge of Hennepin County Master Gardeners at events as much as possible.

Over the past 5 years, Growing the Backyard CHAT members have helped provide locally grown produce to area food pantries, provided free cooking classes to community members, sold produce at market stands at Midtown Global Market and the Wellness Center market, and worked on the Minneapolis HomeGrown Corner store Initiative to improve healthy food offerings at these stores. The CHAT plans to build on this activity by forging connections that will make each of these projects self-reliant.

The Wellness Center mini-(farmers) market, located at 2025 Portland Ave will offer a variety of locally grown and crafted items. Visit the market on Tuesdays, 12-2pm, June 16 – October 15 and enjoy educational activities at the adjacent demonstration garden from 10-12. The CHAT goal is for fresh produce sold at markets in the backyard to be sourced from growers in the backyard with back up sourced from other local suppliers. Are YOU a grower who is thinking about selling excess produce?

Working with the TEENs CHAT, the Growing the Backyard CHAT plans to implement a public calendar of events and compile a list of neighborhood based resources related to urban farming. All gardening resources that are compiled for the Backyard area will be published in a future issue of the Alley Newspaper.

Do you know of urban farming related resources? Do YOU want to grow YOUR backyard? Do YOU…live in a “Backyard” neighborhood? (East Phillips, Midtown Phillips, Ventura Village, Phillips West, Corcoran, Central, Powderhorn Park–see map in right hand corner of this page) Are you interested in urban farming? Contact: Tim Page Tpage4@gmail.com.

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