Addressing Food Security in Urban Settings: Twin Cities, Minnesota

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.

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 With the continuing onset of urbanization, urban poverty continues to grow and so does the importance of food security. The subsequent response to this emerging problem has been the emergence of community gardening and locally produced foods for many city-dwellers. In addition, with increased urbanization comes the issue of poor and unsanitary living conditions and lack of fresh produce, as well as the lack of knowledge for many youth groups who are unfamiliar with the concept of where fresh produce comes from or how it is grown. Therefore, the key in addressing food challenges of tomorrow is to educate the younger generation today on the concept of growing their own food via community gardening and other environmental programs.

This brings us to the question of: what exactly are the Twin Cities of Minnesota doing to address the challenges of food security?

For one, there are numerous training courses offered free of charge to the public. The University of Minnesota Extension Programm, along with the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, provides Vegetable Gardening Basics classes to the anyone who is interested. The five-week program teaches groups of different ages about how to start your own garden, planting vegetables one-by-one, designing your garden, and maintaining your garden. The program works in conjunction with the Hennepin County Master Gardeners, who “bring research-based horticultural information to the Hennepin County community through adult and youth educational activities.”

Children's Community Garden

The local governmental agency, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, has designated a piece of land in one of the regional parks, Theodore Wirth for the JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden, to provide programs focused on the youth, horticulture therapy, and intergenerational programming for recent immigrants.Children learn the basics of planting, composting, and maintaining a variety of vegetables, flowers, and fruit, which they are able to take home to continue the process of home gardening. The leftover produce is donated to a local food shelf.

 

JD Rivers Children's Garden

 

Another initiative has been the Homegrown program, established in 2010, which offers garden plots to non-profit organizations where community gardens can be used for individual plots or communal projects. A Sustainability Plan was conducted in order to address and identify the process of comprehensively meeting the needs of all community gardens. As a result, the Twin Cities Greening Coalition (TCGC) identified over 200 community gardens in the Twin Cities metro area.

What will it take to feed a growing urban population, and what can local governments do to turn towards innovation in order to address future challenges of food security and sustainability?

To read the original post, written by Jasna Hadzic, visit Global Site Plans.

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