Thanks to the many gardeners, organizers, and advocates who contacted Council Member Jacob Frey’s Office over the last week, the Council Member moved one of Homegrown Minneapolis’ recommendations to improve the City of Minneapolis’ Garden Lease Program on Tuesday afternoon! The following Staff Direction passed the CDRS Committee unanimously:

CM Frey directs CPED staff to work together with Public Works staff to compile a list of vacant city-owned parcels that may qualify for the community and commercial gardening program and report back with the list to the CD&RS committee during the scheduled February 28th, 2017 committee meeting.

So, what this means is that City staff will be inventorying land held by Public Works for possible inclusion in the leasing program. If suitable parcels are identified, the CDRS Committee can move to include them in the program at the end of February, which would then require a vote at the full City Council level to become official.

Council Member Frey’s Staff Direction was a significant victory, and a first step towards increased land access for Minneapolis growers in 2017. We appreciate his willingness to step out on a limb with this recommendation.

Did garden organizers get everything they wanted on Tuesday? No, not completely. What we have heard from the community time and time again is that land access is good, but land tenure is critical. We need pathways to land ownership for urban growers, particularly for growers of color, who have been systematically denied land access and ownership in the past. Land tenure continues to be our number one demand, but we know that the current Council is not supportive enough to pass a meaningful land tenure measure. With your help, we can make it an election issue in 2017.

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