With autumn days at their peak and a nipping frost on the way, the team at Urban Roots celebrated the last of the season’s harvest with a casual breakfast in the garden! It has been an incredible season of growth for our programs, partnerships and multi-use work sites, and we thought it was high time to share our successes with our community partners, funders, ambassadors and well, the Mayor!
Gathered outdoors in the courtyard, surrounded by our vegetable and pollinator gardens, fruit patch, and resident honeybee hives, attendees took in the morning sunshine over a delicious, breakfast prepared by Urban Roots staff. Guests feasted on fall’s bounty, with a garden-grown leek, chard and thyme strata served up with a mixed greens salad with those stunning watermelon radishes we love to grow. Sipping coffee and engaged in great conversation, attendees took in our short program kicked off by fabulous youth intern Imogene, who welcomed the group to our demonstration site and had the pleasure of introducing Mayor Coleman to the group and to the work of Urban Roots. Mayor Coleman gave kind words and wonderful support for our work on the East Side, highlighting the youth job training program Right Track, a key partner who (along with Capital Region Watershed and Roots for the Home Team) help fund the youth internship program at Urban Roots. Mayor Coleman was also very impressed with the enormity of our rainbow chard, remarking cheerfully that it was the “Chard that ate the East Side!” (….but after a piece of that strata, the Mayor too ate that chard!)
Erip Rupp from Pollinate Minnesota then gave a short presentation on the status of pollinators in Minnesota and some projections of her work and how we all can get involved to help pollinators. Our hives at Urban Roots are operated by Pollinate Minnesota, where bee education and pollinator advocacy are engaged in through hands-on experiences working in the hives with honeybees. Next came the site tours of our grounds and facilities, led by Urban Roots youth interns, Imogene, Tony, Chue, Haset, Abdi and Pa! Visitors had the chance to hear from the youth interns in the Market Garden, Cooking and Conservation Programs about their work experiences at Urban Roots and the opportunities the upgrades to our demonstration site and offices have provided. A key upgrade, the addition of a produce wash station and walk-in cooler, have greatly increased our capacity to grow and process produce with the youth crews, distributed through our CSA, Roots for the Home Team, Mill City Farmer’s Market, hunger relief efforts and for use in our cooking program and classes. Our newest upgrade, a bike and storage shed for the Conservation Program’s awesome youth bike crew, was erected just this fall thanks to our generous donor Howard Kidder (for the shed materials) and the Allina volunteer work crew (for the amazing installation).
We sincerely thank all of our community partners, funders, board members, youth interns and Mayor Coleman for their support and for joining us for a beautiful morning in the garden…