About Us: Gardening Matters History
In 2004, the Twin Cities Greening Coalition (TCGC), a group of community gardening and greening programs based in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, began the process of developing a plan to comprehensively meet the needs of community gardens.
With funding from The McKnight Foundation, The Green Institute was able to hire a staff person to work with community gardeners and staff from green space organizations and public agencies to create a Sustainability Plan for Twin Cities metro area community gardens.
Completed in the Fall of 2005, The Twin Cities Community Garden Sustainability Plan documents the challenges facing community gardens in the Twin Cities and recommends a strategy to preserve and promote community gardens. The core recommendation of the Community Garden Sustainability Plan was the formation of an network of community gardeners—this became GardenWorks.
In November 2005, three organizations collaborated to establish GardenWorks: The Green Institute, the Minnesota State Horticultural Society and Farm in the City (now defunct). The Green Institute housed the program, providing it with non-profit status and assisted with administration responsibilities while the program became established.
The McKnight Foundation provided funding for the program’s start-up, and matched funds from The McNeely Foundation and Beim Foundation, giving GardenWorks the capacity to work with over 200 community gardens in the Twin Cities metro area.
In the summer of 2008, GardenWorks spun off from The Green Institute and became Gardening Matters, an independent organization dedicated to community gardeners and the communities in which they reside.
For more about the Twin Cities Community Garden Sustainability Plan