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Tuesday September 17th 2019

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courtesy WAITE HOUSE

Teens garden at Waite House

by Tesha M. Christensen

At the Waite House, they’re nurturing a healthy foundation by growing fresh vegetables and then working with kids on an business venture.

In all, Pillsbury United Communities, which runs the Waite House (2323 11th Ave S,,),  has five spots in the Phillips neighborhood that they farm or sign the  lease to provide technical support for community members to have their own plots, according to Food Systems Manager Ethan Neal.

Who is involved in your gardening program?

Ethan: One of our gardens, which is located behind the Phillips Community Center where Waite House is located, is entirely kept by a group of 14 and 15 years old. They worked with our chef to develop a new salad called La Fresca. They grow the food in back and sell it to another nonprofit called Roots for the Home Team, who then in turn makes the salads for Minnesota Twins games. Our kids then go to the Twins Games on the weekends to sell these salads and learn business acumen. 

What type of items were planted in the garden this year?

Ethan: This year we have a variety of things planted. A lot of kale, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, pollinators, strawberries, etc. 

What is the value of having a garden at Waite House and what skills are the kids learning?

Ethan: The value is multifaceted for sure. It serves as a place of education for youth ranging from how to create their own business, to soil health, to eating healthy. It also allows as an income stream for our youth and our nonprofit. The food also goes into our free community meals held at the Waite House. It also beautifies the neighborhood with well kept and tended land.

 

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN PLANTING SEEDS, GROWING COMMUNITY – Drop by Urban Ventures’ farm and farm stand for vegetables, wood-fired pizza, burritos, and salads on Tuesdays and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., July-October. Urban Farm on the Midtown Greenway is at 2841 Fifth Ave. S. (29th St. and 5th Ave. S.) Urban Ventures produce is not touched by harmful chemicals. SNAP/EBT benefits accepted. Neighborhood residents can enjoy a 50% discount on all vegetables and fresh food with our Neighbor Card. To get a card, simply sign up at the farm stand during open hours.

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Simone Rendon (left) along with daughter Moneek (center) and Alexie Pennie of Nice Ride, has been selling her jams and jellies at Four Sisters Farmers Market each Thursday since they opened. She grew up in Phillips and lives in Hastings now, where she enjoys foraging and harvesting her ingredients and then fashioning edible art. “It feeds my mental health,” said Simone. She formerly worked in IT, and was depressed and unhappy. She and her daughter agreed that switching to this work has changed their whole family.

TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Four Sisters Farmers Market is open each Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sept. 26 at 1414 E. Franklin Ave. (parking lot of PowWow Grounds). While you’re there, browse through the veggies sold by Dreams of Wild Health, which works with kids on a farm in Hugo, Minn. through the Garden Warriors program. This year, 15 kids in two sessions were bussed out to Hugo for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. work days spent planting, harvesting and processing ingredients. Above is Korbin Lyn Paul. On Thursday, Aug. 22, folks could sample food the teens made under the direction of resident chef Brian Yazzie of Intertribal Foodways.

 

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