Grow Food And Your Spirit Through Community Gardening

July 10, 2012

Dowling Community GardenThe Twin Cities ranks fourth in the nation for the greatest number of community gardens per capita, according to

We trail Seattle, Portland and Long Beach — good company all the way around. Well, except for Long Beach, that is.

By some counts, the Twin Cities has more than 300 community gardens. Good for us. It’s important work and somebody has to do it.

I’ve been a community gardener for years . . . and years . . . and I recommend it to everyone. Community gardens beautify otherwise unused land, bring people together, promote healthy eating, encourage exercise, and the list of benefits goes on.

I started with a small garden plot at Birchwood Community Garden in St. Louis Park. With my two green thumbs, a gift given to me from my immigrant grandparents, and the benefit of full sun, my little 15-foot by 15-foot garden at Birchwood thrived and I found myself offering my surplus harvest to family, friends and neighbors.

Later it dawned on m: these people make good livings and can comfortably afford to keep their refrigerators stocked. The food shelves need fresh produce and rarely have enough.

Dowling Community GardenRight about that time, I cleared a three-year waiting list at Dowling Community Garden in South Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis. Dowling covers four acres, is the oldest community garden in the Twin Cities and has more than 250 gardeners working 190 garden plots.

But the great thing is Dowling volunteers make three deliveries each week to Second Harvest to drop off the produce donated by my fellow community gardeners and me. And, that’s a good thing. I have since rented a third garden plot at Birchwood.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve experienced record temperature highs. As long as their feet are wet and their heads are dry, plants love this weather. More food means more sharing!