Urban Farm & Garden Alliance – St. Paul, MN

Background

This year, the EWB-USA UMN Ethiopia Program team will be working simultaneously on two projects: an international project (Filakit Geragera) and a local project. Due to travel restrictions relating to COVID-19, the final implementation phase in Ethiopia was delayed. Thus, to supplement design work for the upcoming year, the team decided to partner with Urban Farm & Garden Alliance’s Peace Sanctuary Garden located in St. Paul, MN.

Our Partner

Urban Farm & Garden Alliance (UFGA) is a network of eight community gardens throughout the St. Paul neighborhoods of Rondo and Frogtown. As taken from UFGA’s website: “The alliance of these gardens serves to share ideas, resources, and co-host educational workshops and summer activities and events through partnerships with other organizations and institutions. […] These partnerships and relationships have been important in creating community around healthy, nutritious foods and continuing to help create greater access to growing food and green space for residents in neighborhoods that have suffered the consequences of institutionalized racism. This includes, in particular, the destruction and severing of the historic Rondo neighborhood by building interstate 94 through a thriving African American community.”

Our Work

The project consists of two key components: sourcing and the installation of permeable pavement and designing and constructing a greenhouse. Permeable pavement will be sourced and installed throughout the Peace Sanctuary Garden for handicap-accessibility, all while maintaining adequate rainwater absorption. The proposed greenhouse, once installed, will be used to extend the growing season on the shoulder seasons by seeding plants during the year before transplanting them into existing UFGA gardens. Additionally, to collect water for garden and greenhouse use, we are implementing a rainwater catchment system. To make the space energy efficient, we are also partnering with AllEnergy to install solar panels. Lastly, we are building and fixing four garden boxes, one which will be handicap accessible. All these components were implemented during the summer, at the end of the 2020-21 school year by EWB-USA UMN students, who partnered with the surrounding community, as well as a local non-profit organization, Ujamaa Place, and students from the Imhotep Science Academy. 

Additionally, this garden will be used as an environmental learning center to engage further with the surrounding community, particularly the youth. UFGA has existing partnerships with the nearby Maxfield Elementary School in providing programs during the school year and summer on garden science, facilitated at the Peace Sanctuary Garden. By improving the space of the Peace Sanctuary Garden with these projects, our goal is to create a space that can be utilized as a resource by the neighboring communities, schools, and institutions.

For the 2021-22 school year the Ethiopia Program, as well as the Guatemala Program, will keep partnering with the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance but with a new project at the Victoria garden. The project is still at the early stages of brainstorming but a few of the key parts will include a new irrigation system, composting system, and various landscaping components.

Where We Are


For more information, contact:
Matilde Pratas Fernandes at prata023@umn.edu or Nate Twardock at tward019@umn.edu

Ethiopia Project meetings are held every Tuesday from 7-8:30pm.