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VIDEO: Farming in the City

April 12, 2012 By Tom Niemisto, Video Production Specialist

You might easily confuse the sound of a farm-tiller with that of a lawn-mower this spring season. That's because more urban farmers in Minneapolis can use their own land to sell self-grown produce.

Minneapolis just passed a city ordinance allowing market gardeners to grow food commercially in yards and designated plots and sell produce fifteen days per year. Other rules expand the use of hoop-houses and fish farms in city limits.

Audrey Matsen launched Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul two years ago, recognizing a new generation of DIY gardeners and city-dwelling food producers. She has seen a resurgence of urban farming enthusiasm as people of all generations prefer local sources of food. It's also a source of economic development in neighborhoods that could use vacant lots to generate income.

Farmers at Stone's Throw Urban Farm see the new policy as vital to urban development and addressing hunger in the city. Macalester senior and co-owner Alex Bierman hopes to see if urban farming can be a viable source for steady economic development in the city.


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  • Susan Fisher says:

    April 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    “Minneapolis passed a new city ordinance allowing market gardeners to grow food commercially in their own yards and designated plots for 15 days per year”

    This can’t be correct:  what crop can you grow in Minnesota that will mature in 15 days?

  • Joe Schmeltzer says:

    April 13, 2012 at 8:24 am


    The quote says, “Minneapolis just passed a city ordinance allowing market gardeners to grow ... and SELL produce fifteen days per year.”

    From reading that, I think the idea is that they can sell it 15 days per year.  I’m guessing this is designed to allow people to sell at farmers markets which would generally be once/week for about 15 weeks.  That’s only my interpretation, I don’t have any expertise on this ordinance.

  • Rachel says:

    April 13, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Joe is right, 15 refers to the number of days a farm stand can operate. Here’s a link to the News Release from the city:

    Also, stay tuned—we have a more in-depth written piece in the works on this topic. Tentatively running on April 26.