Urban Ag & Community Gardening
Community gardens promote healthy eating and active living, increase access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate foods, and enhance community and environmental relationships.
Resources for community gardens
Join a community garden
General gardening resources
Gardening by topic
Browse the following gardening resources by topic below.
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Healthy soil provides nutrients for plant growth. Sometimes soil contains harmful contaminants, especially in urban areas. Learning about your soil is an important step in starting a garden. Review the resources below to learn why and how to test soil.
- Gardening in urban soil - Minnesota Department of Health
- What's in my neighborhood? (agricultural interactive mapping) - Minnesota Department of Agriculture
- Tips for healthy soil in your garden - University of Minnesota Extension
- Why test soil? - University of Minnesota Extension
- How to take a soil sample - University of Minnesota Extension
- Suelo saludable para plantas saludables - University of Minnesota Extension
- Testing for lead in a garden - University of Minnesota Extension
- University of Minnesota Soil Testing Lab
Composting is the natural process of breaking down yard and food waste into organic matter. Compost can be added to soil to help plants grow. Consider the resources below for information on backyard composting, food scraps collection and where to get free compost.
Water access is critical for garden success. Whether for a community or home garden, there are different options to access water, such as saving rain water, getting nearby municipal water access, or creating an agreement with a nearby land owner.
Saint Paul allows community gardens to access nearby fire hydrants for water. Learn more
Rain barrels capture rainwater that can be used for watering gardens.
- Rain barrel fact sheet (PDF) - Recycling Association of Minnesota
- Rain barrel annual sale - Recycling Association of Minnesota
Simple drip irrigation systems collect and distribute water to gardens.
A nearby property owner may share water access. If an agreement is formed, installing a water meter can make it easy to share the cost.
The Minnesota Tool Library allows members to rent various tools (including gardening tools) for projects. Learn more
Seeds and plant material
Food use, donation and preservation
Learn how to donate food, reduce food waste and support community access to healthy foods.
- Find a food shelf near you
- Guidelines for donating to a food shelf
- Community kitchen rentals in Saint Paul to process and preserve food (PDF)
- Food Keeper app - information on proper food storage
- Save the Food - learn how to reduce food waste with proper food storage, meal planning and creative recipes
- Growing safe food - University of Minnesota Extension
- Preserving and preparing food safely - University of Minnesota Extension
- How to build a hand washing station (PDF) - University of Minnesota Extension
- Cottage foods law - rules on making cottage foods (baked foods, pickled, canned, jams, jellies) at home