Gardening Matters supports local gardeners and advocates for their needs, working toward the creation of successful, sustainable, low-cost gardens across the Twin Cities. By sharing information, providing access to education, and connecting gardeners to each other, Gardening Matters aims to increase food production at a community level and influence positive behavior changes.
Gardening Matters works closely with the Local Food Resource Hubs project. Through this network of local residents, neighborhood organizations, local businesses, and the city office, gardeners can receive seeds, seedlings, and low-cost workshops. Also, the network acts as a support group from which gardening newcomers can draw tips on growing and cooking and on composting their own produce.
Last year, local food hubs distributed more than 13,000 seed packets and 15,000 seedlings to gardeners. With the addition of a tool lending library, Gardening Matters hopes to continue improving food security and access to fresh produce.
At schools, art studios, and museums across the city, Minneapolis Community Education fosters not only fun and practical skillsets, but also a sense of togetherness for students and teachers alike. While standing in a gym full of exercising neighbors, director Jack Tamble explained the social element of his organization, stating, “Community education is more than just about learning. When people gather together like they're doing behind me in this room, they get to know each other, and they really get to enjoy living in Minneapolis.” The network of community-recruited teachers has been serving the area for more than 40 years, and today teaches various skills ranging from basic computer navigation and multicultural cooking to advanced woodworking and fluency in Pig Latin.
Youth Farm produces more than just food. Through summer and school-year programs available for ages 9 to 24, it cultivates young leaders: responsible, essential community members who know how to grow healthy foods and why it's important to do so. In five Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods, participants begin as Youth Farmers, 9- to 11-year-olds, who get their hands dirty in the soil and learn the basics of transforming what they grow into nutritious dishes. From there, they grow into All Stars, Project LEAD members, and finally Farm Stewards, all while building their skill set and becoming increasingly engaged in the distribution of what they grow.
That last aspect is another integral part to the Youth Farm programs. Not only do participants build a community among themselves, they also serve the community that surrounds them. During the summer program, Youth Farm families receive full grocery bags of vegetables every week of the eight-week program. And this can add up fast. In 2013 alone, Youth Farm's 800 participants distributed more than 10,000 pounds of produce and prepared more than 12,000 healthy meals.
With over 45 years of professional portrait services experience, the energetic staff of 10 at Bright Side Portraits take pride in their in-studio and outdoor shoots. But they really shine during Day in the Life sessions—shoots that combine candid portraiture with photojournalism. Over three to four hours, a shutterbug follows their subject around the city, documenting their activities and warning them of any open manholes. Regardless of the shoot, Bright Side precedes each one with a consultation where the portrait consultant discusses aesthetic, wardrobe, and location with the client to ensure they are getting what they want. Scheduling is available online 24/7.
In the last 40 years, Portrait Scene's photographers have helped to memorialize special moments in the lives of thousands of children, teens, and adults across the country. By constantly working with families, they have mastered the art of calming toddlers and keeping parents still enough to say or even pasteurize cheese. Outdoor shoots make use of natural tones, such as those of crystal-blue lake waters and green, leafy trees. In the spring months, photos brim with the pastel buds of tulips and the shine of bluebirds applying makeup for the first time all year.