Gardening Matters Announces New Executive Director


Greetings Friends,

On behalf of the board and staff of Gardening Matters, I am thrilled to announce the arrival of our new Executive Director, Susan Phillips, on Monday, August 25th!

Susan is a seasoned social-justice activist and educator, and a specialist in participatory processes and servant leadership. She has worked professionally with at-risk and homeless youth since the mid-1980s in Central America and the Twin Cities co-creating and managing innovative programs, and providing training on many aspects of youth development and the creation of healthy communities and workplaces.

Susan is passionate about the power of community gardening and urban agriculture to empower at-risk communities at the neighborhood scale and to address the widening opportunity gaps in our region as a whole. As she told our Search Committee: 

“I was a leader in the social service sector for 20 years, but found providing services and not working to change the conditions that led folks to be in need of assistance was becoming increasingly incongruent with my values. I wanted to be working in an environment that was grounded in justice and building community. I've been a backyard gardener my whole life and passionate about food justice. Gardening Matters is the intersection of many of my life passions and I'm super stoked to be here!”

Susan served most recently as Director of Lutheran Social Service Metro Homeless Youth Programs in St. Paul. She is a member of the Community Innovation Grants Committee of Headwaters Foundation, a mentor with the Wilder Youth Leadership Initiative and an Art of Hosting practitioner. Susan has a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a MA in Leadership Studies. When not engaged in community building projects, she is an avid gardener, student of life, and parent of three.

We are so fortunate to find someone of Susan’s authenticity, depth of experience and passion to engage the expanding community of urban growers in shaping our collective future. Please join us in welcoming her to Gardening Matters!

John Parker - Der Boghossian, Chair
Gardening Matters Board of Directors

Community Garden Day

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Community gardens across the state will host free public celebrations to show their #communitygardenpride. The celebrations and events will be as diverse as the gardens themselves, from small potluck gatherings to big community parties. This year, gardens will be hosting skill-shares, workshops, demonstrations and speakers so you can do double-duty learning a new gardening skill while enjoying these amazing community spaces and the people that tend them.

Map of Participating Gardens

Interested in hosting a celebration? Information on hosting an event and event registration to be included on the Directory of Participating Gardens can be found here.

More about Community Garden Day: This day recognizes the contributions of community gardeners to the health, vitality and livability of their communities, and also serves as an opportunity to spread awareness about the Multiple Benefits of Community Gardens to the public. More about Community Gardening in MN is available in the most recent Snapshot of Community Gardening in MN, published by Gardening Matters.

Gardening Matters will also be working with public officials who will officially declare September 13, 2014 Community Garden Day. Stay tuned for a list of City and County proclamations recognizing the day and the efforts of thousands of gardeners across the state to make their communities more beautiful, livable, and vital!

Questions about Community Garden Day? Contact Margaret at or 612-205-2777

A huge THANK YOU to our Cornucopia Sponsor:

Linden Hills Logo

Thank you also to our Event Sponsor:

Mulch Store Logo

And to our Seedling Sponsors:

Seward Logo

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