Saturday, July 24, 2010

Entertainment, refreshments and photosynthesis all being arranged for the Parade of Community Gardens

This summer, I am assisting seven St. Paul and Minneapolis bring in neighbors, energy, entertainment, refreshments and photosynthesis together to celebrate and show-off as part of the Parade of Community Gardens. Why go to all this effort? Community gardeners are hard-working folks and by all means they need a day to reflect on their accomplishments and while we are at it, why not invite the neighborhood! The Parade is an awareness raising event, both for the state of Minnesota, and along the streets of each participating garden. Below is the media release from the event's organizer, Gardening Matters where the important role of community gardens in our neighborhoods is highlighted. See you on August 21st!

Gardening Matters Announces the 5th Annual Parade of Community Gardens
On August 21st, sixty-six community gardens in the Twin Cities Metro Area and Greater Minnesota will be on parade! Gardening Matters is proud to organize the 5th Annual Parade of Community Gardens, a state-wide garden “open house” intended for the public to get to know these important community spaces. Participating community gardens invite visitors to take a self-guided tour through their gardens, where they will be hosting celebrations as diverse and vibrant as the gardens themselves. Parade activities in 2010 include food samples, cooking demos, bike repair and composting workshops, youth-led yoga, art, and much more! Download a Parade Brochure for a complete listing of gardens and activities.
This year’s Parade is bigger and better than ever! The Parade is going virtual with all sixty-six gardens mapped on Gardening Matters’ Online Parade Directory, and gardeners will be Tweeting live from the gardens on Parade by tagging #GardenParade. Gardening Matters is also proud to partner with Bike Walk Twin Cities to create several biking and walking routes to gardens. In addition, BWTC is sponsoring a photo contest for pictures of biking or walking to gardens! The Parade of Community Gardens is sponsored by Seward Co-op in Minneapolis and Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville, who will be distributing coupons and prizes at participating community gardens in their areas. Info about these promotions is available at
Interest in community gardening has soared nation-wide in 2010 in light of recent environmental, economic, and health concerns. Gardening offers individuals the opportunity to improve personal and community health and their local environment, as well as decrease household food budgets. The health impacts of community gardens are particularly important, as childhood and adult obesity are at pandemic proportions: a recent report released by Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Minnesota Department of Health revealed that 60% of adult Minnesotans are overweight or obese, and 75% do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Community gardens provide a social atmosphere and hands-on opportunity for people of all backgrounds, abilities and experiences to get exercise and access to fresh produce for themselves and their households. In addition, community gardens provide a supportive environment that encourages healthy behavior change.
Community gardening has also become increasingly popular in Minnesota in recent years. Gardening Matters received over 350 requests for community garden space in 2010. The demand for gardening space far outpaces the space available, in spite of the fact that many new community gardens are started every year. In fact, the number of community gardens in Minnesota has increased by at least 50% in recent years, from 200 to over 300. In 2010, both Minneapolis and St. Paul made public land available for community gardening, illustrating the importance of/demand for community gardens to both citizens and municipalities.
Minnesota and the Twin Cities have a rich history of community gardening, with more people participating in gardens over the long-term than most regions nationally. Gardening is not a hobby. It, along with our food traditions, is an important part of our cultural heritage and should be celebrated. The community aspect of community gardening also helps people connect and preserve these important traditions, as well as providing an opportunity for long-time gardeners to teach and share with gardeners who are just getting started.
Join Gardening Matters and the sixty six community gardens on parade in celebrating these valuable neighborhood assets! Gardens on the Parade come in all shapes in sizes, and are located in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Community gardens truly offer something for everyone, and bring many benefits to their neighbors and neighborhoods – take advantage of these neighborhood spaces by celebrating in a community garden near you!
Gardening Matters is a non-profit organization dedicated to successful, sustainable community gardening and the enhancement of neighborhood-based urban agriculture. Gardening Matters programming supports community garden sustainability and places community gardens at the core of a support system for increased home-based food production and neighborhood beautification. In the last five years, Gardening Matters has helped over 2000 people start or join a community garden. Read more about the multiple benefits of community gardening and get a snapshot of community gardening in Minnesota.
Parade of Community Gardens
Date/time: Saturday, August 21st from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Rain or shine.
Location: Community gardens throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area, Dakota County, Chaska, Rogers, and Mankato! Download the brochure for a map and listing of participating gardens.

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