Tag Archives: minneapolis farmers market

Gardening Partnerships

If you have a spot in your city yard that could be used as a garden but isn’t being used, you are not alone. Many people with the space don’t know how or are not inclined to make the commitment, no matter how tasty the rewards. If you fall into one of these categories and would like to see that soil put to good use, you now have a couple of unique options.

Garden Sharing
The first is to share your garden plot with an avid gardener in your neighbourhood. There are many people in apartments who would love to muck about in the dirt and many are willing to share their knowledge and the fruits of their labour for the privelege. Sharing Backyards offers an online matching service to connect yard owners with gardener-wanna-be’s.

Really, it’s an online matchmaking service for green thumbs. One partner has the skills, inclination and sweat equity, the other partner has the dirt.

It took some digging to determine that Sharing Backyards is a Vancouver City Farmer initiative in partnership with Life Cycles. It’s a great concept and I hope it takes off.

Garden Leasingcityfarmboy
Another option is to have a gardening company come in and grow the garden for you. City Farm Boy grows organic produce in private backyards for sale at local farmers markets. And, as the garden owner, you get paid in veggies that you can enjoy without ever having to worry about breaking a sweat.

It’s all the perks of enjoying the look and harvest of a garden, without needing to read any how-to books or remember to turn on the sprinkler. This would be my approach if I hadn’t decided to launch the Urban Gardening Experiment of 2009.

I love the creative and collaborative solutions these organizations have come up with to help us urbanites make better use of the land we have all around us. They really couldn’t make it any easier.

Go ahead, give them a call!

Bigger is Better?

While many farmers markets are restricted to local products only, the Minneapolis Farmers Market allows resellers with non-local produce and wares to participate. While it may fly in the face of strict direct farm-to-consumer marketing, the larger overall size and greater number of options at the Minneapolis market draws out many more vendors and attendees than I’ve seen at other markets.

This approach may be behind their success in maintaining both a daily market and a downtown weekly market, with a season that is 26 weeks long. In offering consumers so much choice, the market is more mainstream and therefore more accessible to Joe Public. If I insist on buying oranges, I can also get my locally grown green onions, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and squash right there.

The biggest benefit may be that people who might not think much about eating local do, because it’s there. It’s a bit like hiding finely chopped vegatables in the spaghetti sauce so kids will eat them, unwittingly.

Increased sales, as a result of thoughtful consideration or simple convenience, can only have a positive benefit on the local agricultural economy.

Minneapolis Farmers Markets

Minneapolis Farmers Market Downtown

Minneapolis Farmers Market Downtown

A business trip last autumn found me in Minneapolis where I took in both the weekly and daily farmers markets.

I love that the Minneapolis Farmers Market comes to town once a week, right in the midst of the business district. The weekly market stretches for several blocks along Nicollett Mall, a lengthy pedestrian/transit-only street, making it easy for workers from the surrounding office towers to access on breaks and lunch. Which they did, in droves. The stalls were full of fabulous produce, fresh flowers, and a variety of local food products including bison jerky, honey, and salsa.

There is also a daily farmers market, about a mile outside the Minneapolis downtown core. It is much larger and offers a huge selection of produce and food products as well as some crafts, clothing, and jewelry. The Saturday market is not as easily accessible by transit, but the multitude of stalls and sheer volume of goods make it well worth the trip.

Minneapolis Daily Farmers Market

Minneapolis Daily Farmers Market