Giving Gardens provides complete garden bed kits to adopted homes, whose fresh produce will be donated to local food shelves. We offer people a direct, hands-on way to reduce food insecurity in their community - whether it's their own or their neighbor's. Giving Gardens provides the bed, seeds, dirt and support completely free to the volunteer, with the only expectation that a majority (51% or more) be donated to a local food shelf. Giving Gardens is fiscally sponsored by the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation.
See our impact || Learn how we got started || PHOTO GALLERY
Our mission at Giving Gardens is to build community awareness of local food insecurity, and to build local sustainability through neighbors growing produce for neighbors in need of access to healthy food options. We will reduce food insecurity in the White Bear Area community, and we will do it by inspiring community engagement.
For us, providing produce is only half of the effort; the other half is building awareness and a community of neighbors to solve this problem. Giving Gardens believes that a coalition of neighbors, coming together around a common interest or cause, can create an incredible impact on a community.
Our goals are to make a measurable impact on food insecurity in our community -- both in numbers and awareness. We will accomplish these goals through garden bed adoption, donation of produce to local service organizations, and organizing our network of volunteers to community service. We have clear goals, that we will reach in 2018 with the help from our volunteers and sponsors.
150 garden beds adopted and producing in volunteer homes.
1000+ pounds of fresh produce delivered to community service organizations.
$20,000 fundraising in cash or like donations.
Growing our partner network for dirt, seeds, wood, delivery and assembly.
“Engagement is the key to sustainable change.”
Chris harms | Founder
Giving Gardens founder, Christopher Harms, became motivated to start a community driven effort to fight food insecurity after reading Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America details the rise of poverty in suburban communities over the last 30 years, but most specifically between 2000-2010, and the how the effects of the market crash of 2007 and subsequent recession has impacted this rise in suburban poverty. Suburban poverty is far more camouflaged than poverty in what is classified as the “urban core.” Poverty can exist anywhere in suburban communities, not just certain areas that have traditionally been assumed as “low-income.” -- it could be any one of our neighbors.
If we, as a community of neighbors, can understand that, and truly internalize that, does that change our willingness to help? Chris thought it would, and it's what inspired him to create Giving Gardens. Creating community awareness of food insecurity, and building local sustainable means, became the building blocks of Giving Gardens. Our beds are physical, tangible reminders that food insecurity can touch anyone, at any time -- even the white collar worker next door.
To date, we have placed over 50 garden beds in neighborhoods and have donated over 500 pounds of fresh produce. We have been featured in the White Bear Press, and our message is getting out. This is a testament to the tight-knit community in the White Bear Lake area, and proof that awareness and action can make positive change.
Giving Gardens is a sponsored Community Project of the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation.