Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Councilmember Lee Helgen joined members from Sparc and the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women today to launch Saint Paul’s largest urban garden. The North End Urban Farm, already used by 13 growers, is a three-acre lot for businesses and community members growing small vegetables.
“Development in Saint Paul isn’t just about buildings, it’s about community,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “This farm, which has grown up from community interest, illustrates the best of sustainability, community and development goals all in one project.”
“I think a community garden is a great interim use for this property. I’m excited that this space will allow local growers to provide healthy, wholesome food to the neighbors,” Councilmember Lee Helgen said.
“This project is also an incubator for launching small businesses,” said Allison Sharkey Simpkins, Associate Director of Sparc. “The farmers, who speak five different languages, are experimenting with different ways to run successful food production businesses. We encourage neighbors to come meet their local farmer.”
The garden will allow growers to sell fresh produce directly to neighborhood residents, and will include a community garden on the southwest corner of the site, where neighbors can learn about gardening and grow their own produce. The land is planned to be eventually developed into a sustainable housing development that will incorporate gardens
The press event coincided with the new on-site mini farmers market, which will be open Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Partners include the Association for the Advancement of Hmong Women, Pigs Eye Urban Farm, Holistic Health Farms, Urban Farming, and the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.