If you haven’t been following us on social media, then we have a lot to catch up on…
Our team worked tirelessly throughout the winter months preparing for a very busy spring planting season. In addition to developing a sustainable business plan, we applied for grants, met with potential partners, created amazing renderings for future gardens, and began building a new and improved website. It was a lot of work behind the scenes, but we’re happy to report much of that work has begun to pay off.
About one month ago, we were awarded our first grant: $1,000 from the Awesome Foundation, Twin Cities chapter. They provide monthly micro-grants to support cool projects, and we qualified. Their support paid for 15 pounds of wildflower seed, equipment rental and purchases, signage and even branded materials to help build awareness. Huge thanks to Karen and the Awesome Foundation for their support.
In April, we seeded 6 new guerrilla gardens in the Twin Cities, including one spot in downtown Saint Paul that had previously attracted some media attention. Since we seeded, lots of diverse species have begun to flourish in the once debris-filled spot (that’s the Capitol building in the background). And hopefully, patients at nearby Regions Hospital will be able to see a beautiful garden buzzing with life!
We also have been strengthening our partnerships that we established in 2016. Prospect Park Community Garden (re-branding as Towerside Community Garden) in Minneapolis has been a joy to work with! Farmer Del and his team run an excellent operation and boast one of the premier community gardens in the Twin Cities. Also, happening later this week at PPCG, TWP will be receiving 3 pollinator patch kits and 7 fruiting trees to install (at no cost!) thanks to the City of Minneapolis and The Beez Kneez. With the surrounding development, this project is sure to attract both bees and public attention.
Due to our late seeding of Merriam Station Community Garden last July, we chose to till and reseed this 800 square foot spot. With the views of downtown Minneapolis, and because it was truly our first install, this garden holds a special place for us. We also have exciting ideas to expand our current garden, and even tackle a new project at MSCG beneath two billboards (hopefully a fall project). It’s a great partnership and we can’t wait to see what happens next!
A bit of sad news to share. TWP spent countless hours this winter preparing a grant application in collaboration with our partner, Joy of the People, to install a cutting edge, 4,000 square foot urban permaculture garden at South St. Anthony Park this spring. The proposal was unfortunately rejected by the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation (politics, probably); but that hasn’t stopped us from planning fundraising activities to re-boot the install this fall. Here’s a rendering, provided by Habitat Matt Wildenauer, of the permaculture garden…
This is but a fragment of the total garden, which contains nearly 100 species of plant, specifically chosen for their environmental benefit. This will change the way urban gardens are designed and we will get this done.
We did however strike up two new partnership gardens this spring, one with Bang Brewing and the other with Urban Growler (we like beer). The Bang install was a quick cut and seed along a strip of neglected property adjacent to the brewery.
The Urban Growler install took a bit more preparation, a few more meetings, several volunteers and an entire beautifully sunny Saturday. In all, TWP seeded 2,000 square feet of wildflowers, planted 72 native grasses, moved 7 cubic yards of soil, was joined by 7 new volunteers, and made $13 in donations (which is about 234 square feet of pollinator habitat). Huge thanks to Urban Growler and Deneen Pottery for their hospitality. It was a wonderful day with a wonderful result (check out that path!)…
Additionally, the month of May saw The Wildflower Project give our very first pollinator education presentation. Nativity of Mary Catholic Church and their Health & Wellness committee invited our group to come speak and we were more than happy to share our knowledge. The group really enjoyed it and we even raffled off a free custom garden from TWP to one lucky winner. Needless to say, we enjoyed it too and can’t wait for more educational opportunities!
There’s even more…at the beginning of May, The Wildflower Project was awarded our second grant from The Pollination Project! $1,000 to purchase MORE SEED! This time, we will be purchasing from Minnesota Native Landscapes, with our own custom mix. Thanks to The Pollination Project for the award (and for the grant writing experience. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it!)
And there’s even more… This past winter, we met with Sunrise Banks (our neighborhood bank) to discuss the potential of a garden project. They liked the idea so much that they gave us 200 square feet at a bank branch and $600 to do the job! We are very excited to get to work on this project.
I could go on and tell you that we’re working with a golf course to beautify one of their signature holes, or that we’ve broken ground on our headquarters plot across the street from the U of M Bee Research Lab. I could even mention that our team member, Matt Peterson, has begun working on projects in Salt Lake City (T-Dub expansion!!), but I’ll save those nuggets for a Summer update.
Until then, we have more work to do, more seeds to sow, more partnerships to build. Quick reminder that a $5 donation equates to 100 square feet of pollinator habitat. Any amount will help our mission. Thanks to all our volunteers and partners, we can’t wait to watch it all grow.