This community garden is meant to accomplish five core goals:
1. Unite community members of all cultures in a fundamental and beneficial way
2. Supply fresh produce to The Family Place’s Meal Program and other community organizations/shelters that are trying to instill healthier food options into their regular menus
3. Create a fruit, vegetable, and floral gardening and training opportunity for members of The Family Place’s Going Home program and other invited programs
4. Harvest vegetables longer by installing a hoop house (or maybe a green house!) on the property, extending the growing season by two-three months or longer
5. Beautify the community by creating a peaceful urban oasis
The property is located at 722 Concordia Ave (old Rondo Ave) in the heart of St. Paul’s Summit University community in the state of Minnesota.
Community Garden Partners and Support System
The Lovejoy Community Garden is part of the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance that consists of seven community gardens. With access to master gardeners, a volunteer landscape architect and a volunteer garden administrator, the youth from the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa: a Youth Outdoors program, awesome neighbors, and involved community members, The Lovejoy Community Garden has a strong support system, guaranteeing gardening success.
The Family Place Board of Directors approved a new mission: to assist families with children in shelter to gain more confidence in building goals that will lead to success of the entire family. By investing efforts into cultivating The Lovejoy Community Garden, we are bolstering the mission.
How will The Family Place Benefit?
TFP has committed to establishing a healthy, nutritional diet as a core requisite of the regular food offering that consists of three meals and a snack each day. This change is a part of a comprehensive program that holistically addresses the needs of the family—health and wellness being central to this mission. The Lovejoy Community Garden will produce fruits and vegetables for The Family Place to this end, incorporating them into the daily menu.
The garden site will also act as a gardening training ground, for those in the Going Home program. We will offer the space to the families in the event they want to continue gardening after they have graduated from the program. The Going Home curriculum also allows for instructional cooking classes. The produce will be used throughout the course.
Giving families exposure to gardening will open their eyes to a world of health that otherwise may have never been seen, transforming their outlook on food and the importance of healthy eating and, hopefully, healthy lifestyles in general.