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2017 annual report

Green Garden grows new business

Hennepin County

Two girls work in the garden by the sign

Over the past several years, Hennepin County Master Gardeners have collaborated with community-development agency Urban Strategies to teach teens gardening, cooking, and business skills as part of the Active Chefs summer program at Heritage Park in Minneapolis.

Teens prepare healthy snacks with ingredients harvested from the garden at their weekly lessons and introduce kids to new vegetables and dishes.

Capitalizing on their new skills, a group of budding entrepreneurs developed a recipe for Green Tomato Cakes and sold them at local events. Their initial success inspired the group to start the Green Garden Bakery, which creates and markets vegetable-based desserts.

Master Gardeners and mentors Del Hampton and Mary Cichon developed a larger garden site at the park in 2016. With the expanded garden and the use of a commercial kitchen, Green Garden Bakery plans to bake enough goods to sell at the Lyndale Farmers Market, the Wedge Co-op and at local festivals.

Mary Cichon remarked, “It has been truly amazing to see the maturity these young people have developed over time. One never knows how teaching youth about gardening and nutrition will benefit [those] involved... but sometimes the results can be spectacular—as they have been with this program!”

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