Building community in public housing
Raised garden beds dot the grounds at several different St. Paul public housing high-rises. In caring for the plants together, residents build community and a sense of accomplishment while also getting exercise, outdoor exposure and healthy produce. Four Master Gardener volunteers meet with residents twice a month during the growing season to provide hands-on support and guidance.
"I like just being a part of something," said Laurie Arnold, one of 75 St. Paul public housing residents working with Master Gardeners to improve the landscape in front of their buildings.
"Master Gardener Roger Hintze has been so helpful and supportive of us in this whole process. He comes out twice a month and works with us to answer our questions. It's like you’re getting a pat on the back. And that thrills me because 'OK, we’re doing something right,'" said Antrinita Wright, resident.
The residents involved in the gardening enjoy and share the fresh, healthy produce with their neighbors. Master Gardeners have provided crucial support and education since the start of their work with St. Paul public housing in 2012, including helping influence the decision to expand St. Paul public housing gardens from two to 14 in 2015. Master Gardeners have been invited back next season.