In 2004 the Twin Cities Greening Coalition – a local group of gardening and greening programs – developed a plan to meet the needs of community gardens and formed a network called GardenWorks. In 2008, GardenWorks became Gardening Matters (GM), an independent organization.
In the years since, GM has grown the number of community gardens in the metro area from 200 to over 600 by providing start up, sustainability and shared leadership training in partnership with local health departments and other food access organizations. During that time, GM hosted an annual Spring Resource Fair, bringing in national giants from the urban agriculture movement and highlighting local wisdom. GM has also served to incubate and launch other local initiatives such as Homegrown Minneapolis, the Ramsey County Food and Nutrition Commission, the Twin Cities Urban Agricultural Land Trust, the Minneapolis Park Board’s Urban Agriculture Plan, and the Master Water Stewards program.
In 2011, GM expanded programming to backyard food growers by launching the Local Food Resource Hubs. The original three neighborhood networks have now grown to seven, and thousands of individuals and gardens are involved. Seeds, plants, compost, and skills to grow, cook and preserve food have been central resources to this program.
Over the years, GM has advocated for supportive local food and environmentally just public policy. This includes policies related to composting, state law impacting our ability to save and share seeds, pollinator friendly policies, and land access policies.