May urban agricultural field trips and events

Thursday May 12, Prior to the 22nd Annual Great River Gathering, where Majora Carter will present the keynote, she will be visiting the Rondo & Frogtown Neighborhoods:

9:00 a.m. Rondo Commemorative Plaza (Concordia Ave & Fisk St.)
9:20 Walk one short block to Victoria Community Garden (Concordia Ave. & Victoria St.)
9:45 a.m. Walk across the Victoria Bridge to Maxfield Elementary School
10 a.m. Walk three short blocks to the Peace Sanctuary Garden (Aurora Ave. and Victoria St.)
10:20 a.m. Wrap up tour at Frogtown Farm

Thursday, May 12, from 6-8pm at the East Side Enterprise Center, you are welcome to the May Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust (where we will finish planning an ag land tenure field trip for Monday). Agenda here, all welcome.
Sunday, May 14, after an afternoon field trip to the Ard Godfrey House Dandelion day with the Making the Best of It team, we’ll end up at Beyond Repair (on the eastern side of the Midtown Global Market) at 4:30pm for the next edition of Food Enough, with the Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust and the Soil Lab/Soil Kitchen project!
And then on Monday, UW-M rural sociologist Jess Gilbert will be visiting to give a TCALT-co-sponsored talk based on his recent book Planning Democracy: Agrarian Intellectuals and the New Deal (3pm at the U of M’s Northrop Auditorium, room 206). This talk will be of interest to those interested in the relationship between agriculture and science, food and policy, and the history of food and farm movements (as well as the history of the farm- and rural-community helping disciplines)!

Before the talk, we will also take a picnic tour (with the Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust) of sites relevant because of agricultural land tenure reasons around the Twin Cities (<-that link brings you to the sign up sheet – we’ll convene at Frogtown Farm at 11:15am), then we will discuss chapters 6 and 9, on which the talk will be focused, at 2, before the talk (<-those linked numbers bring you to the chapters).

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Join us Feb 7, 3-4:30pm at Beyond Repair at the Global Midtown Market

Sun, Feb. 7, 2016 ⁄ 3:00–4:30pm: 

Presentation Nº 1: Why Beyond Repair and TCALT: A short talk on land, collaboration, and critical social engagement in the micro.

Question Nº1: What do you think when you think about agriculture in 1850? 1950? 2050?

Food Enough? A Continuing Forum on Food, Land, Access, and Possibilities within the 9th Ward and Beyond

When considering an urban agricultural future, what does it mean for a neighborhood to have *abundant* or at least *enough* food? How is food-producing land part of a desirable vision for land “development” / land use? And in turn, who benefits most directly from a reconsideration of land-use development?

While South Minneapolis’s 9th Ward contains the highest concentration of urban farms within the entire Twin Cities metro area, it remains, nonetheless, a bit of a barren landscape when it comes to accessibility to fresh fruit and produce. Furthermore, while full of vacant, city owned land, Powderhorn, a 9th Ward neighborhood, is the only area within Minneapolis that is statistically gentrifying.

Within the space between these points folks from Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust, Beyond Repair, and elsewhere have begun an on-going and exploratory conversation regarding food production, land access, and future visions of the city in relation to agriculture, access, and abundance.

Our group converges through a shared interest in the future and history of urban agriculture, the role of land trusts in establishing more equitable land access, and historical legacies and contemporary examples of community cultivated land (and how we can work toward this in the Twin Cities).

Conversation participants will be able to contribute visually and artistically to this process as the group will co-create printed materials that record major themes to be distributed throughout the 9th Ward and, furthermore, to develop questions for future meetings.

* Relaxed atmosphere!  No bosses, no teachers!  Surrounded by ample beer and food!

** Any conversation concerning land and access within Minnesota, and the country as a whole, needs to be seen through the lens of colonialism and settlement. Consequently, this series of conversations wants to acknowledge and make clear that it is taking place on Dakota land.

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TCALT Non-profit status achieved — just in time for GiveMN day : )


The Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status this month — just in time for the annual day of giving! We have much to be grateful for — for example, for our organizational hosts and mentors, the City of Lakes Community Land Trust, where we will continue to be housed. And we look forward to three pilot projects shaping up in the year ahead:

  • working with Farmers’ Legal Action Group to secure North Minneapolis land for gardeners,
  • building a mentorship process with cities that have already undergone some of the sea changes in community agricultural land that the Twin Cities are now undergoing,
  • and working with the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance to build a learning network between gardens demonstrating the public benefits of their long term food production practices.

In order to support these projects, we are launching a fundraising campaign to hire a part time project manager. This will make it easier to volunteer with us — and will make our support more coherent and constant for these projects. We are excited to be making a difference in building equitable food land access and grateful for all the work that is building this access — and we would like to ask you to consider donating to get these projects up and running: Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust | GiveMN

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July Event and Meeting at Stone’s Throw Farm

Join us on Thursday, July 10th for a Farmyard Forum at Stone’s Throw Urban Farm. Stone’s Throw will be hosting their first in a series of community discussions focusing on the intersection of agriculture and social justice at their farm. This first discussion will focus on land as a resource in the urban agriculture movement, and feature panel speakers followed by a group discussion. The event will be held from 6-8 pm at Stone’s Throw Urban Farm, located at 2820 15th Avenue S in Minneapolis. Check out their Facebook event page for more details.

TCALT will gather for an abbreviated monthly meeting–open to all–on the farm at 5:30 pm, immediately prior to the panel discussion.


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Homegrown Minneapolis

Homegrown Minneapolis is a city-wide initiative launched out of the mayor’s office committed to strengthening and celebrating the local food movement in Minneapolis.  For the past year, Jane Shey has served as consultant to Homegrown Minneapolis and Food Council, carrying the work forward as a persistent and reliable champion of urban agriculture.  My conversation with her along with my own involvement in the Homegrown Food Council over the past two years has informed this partner profile.

While loosely organized as an initiative with since its founding in 2008, the Homegrown Minneapolis movement gained more momentum with the formation of an active Food Council in January of 2012.  Formed of ‘at-large’ residents of Minneapolis and city staff officials, the Food Council in a body that can advise City Council and other local decision-making bodies on policy issues that affect the local food economy.  Throughout its first year, the Council supported the passing of the Urban Agriculture Text Amendments and provided feedback to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s Urban Agriculture plan.  In its second year, the Council formed a number of working groups, including the ‘Urban Agriculture and Land Access Committee,’ which has been comprised of members of Minneapolis’ diverse populations to discuss fair and equitable ways to access more land for urban agriculture.

Homegrown Minneapolis is focused on five areas within the broader local food movement: (1) growing, (2) processing, (3) distributing, (4) eating, and (5) composting.  With such a broad mission, Homegrown has addressed many issues within our local food economy.  While not initially a principal area of focus, the issue of equitable land access to Minneapolis residents and organizations for growing has slowly made its way onto radar, especially with the formation of the ‘Land Access Committee.’  With land access being recognized as a major barrier to the growth of urban agriculture within Minneapolis, TCALT and Homegrown appear to have a great opportunity to lean on each other’s strengths to make real progress on this issue.

According to Homegrown Coordinator Jane Shey, permanent land access for urban farmers and community gardeners alike opens up a world of possibilities for our local food economy that are not even being considered at this time.  With a new Food Council being elected for 2014-15, the time is ideal for Homegrown to lead the charge of bringing urban agriculture to the next level- a level at which the regulatory and land access environments are favorable to urban food producers.

There are many ways in which TCALT and Homegrown can build off each other’s strengths to build permanent land access in the ity of Minneapolis. Through its Open House event and open committees, Homegrown has its ear to the ground and can land access questions and concerns TCALT, who will have the expertise and toolkit to address those concerns.  At the same time, TCALT can bring regulatory and policy barriers facing land access to the Food Council, who will have the relationships and expertise necessary to address these concerns with the city officials who have the know-how to begin deconstructing these barriers.  Finally, if and when TCALT does become an owner or manager of land, Homegrown may play an important role in assisting TCALT a fair and equitable process for determining .  For example, Homegrown, through the eyes and ears of its Land Access Committee and community partnerships, may be able to convene a community-based committee to determine which interested farming or gardening organization will be granted access to the TCALT-owned parcel.

While it was initially feared that the work of Land Access Committee would be duplicating the efforts of TCALT it is now becoming more clear that by collaborating and staying in communication, both groups will be using their strengths to address different niches of the land access issue.  Homegrown Minneapolis draws its strength from having active participation from members of the community.  Supporters of TCALT are encouraged to join email list, attend Food Council or Committee meetings, and participate in the annual Open House, which is typically held the first week of December.

– Eric Larsen

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Collaborator Profiles- an on-going feature highlighting our partners!

TCALT is fortunate to be collaborating with many fantastic organizations in the Twin Cities.  We’ll be offering occasional profiles of some of these groups as we grow.  Get to know them!

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Meet the Land Stewardship Project, one of our partners!

Land Stewardship Project (LSP) has been with us from the outset  The organization participated in the development of the Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust through hosting and facilitating meetings, conducting research visits about potential land trust solutions, and supporting a land trust structure that puts gardeners and farmers in the driver’s seat.

LSP became involved with and supports TCALT because of a clear message from members that urban and rural farmers need more secure, affordable land tenure, more power in the land tenure process, and more community based tools to use towards that goal.

LSP is a member organization that fosters an ethic of stewardship for farmland, promotes sustainable agriculture, and develops sustainable communities. Farmer, rural, and urban LSP members are dedicated to creating transformational change in our food and farming system. LSP’s work has a broad and deep impact, from new farmer training and local organizing, to federal policy and community based food systems development. With offices in Lewiston, Montevideo and Minneapolis, LSP focuses on the core values of stewardship, justice and democracy.

Consider joining the Land Stewardship Project here and check out the following resources:

–       Seeking Farmers- Seeking Land Clearinghouse:

–       Farm Beginnings:

–       Just Food for All:

–       Policy and Organizing updates

–       CSA and Stewardship Food Directories

Thanks LSP!

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