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Minneapolis Mayor Rybak signs Urban Ag ordinance, expanding community gardening

“Minneapolis is once again ahead of lots of other cities,” the mayor told those gathered at Dowling Community Gardens.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

Community gardeners were out in force Monday to greet Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak at signing ceremonies for the city’s new Urban Agriculture ordinance.

“Minneapolis is once again ahead of lots of other cities,” the mayor told those gathered at Dowling Community Gardens, adding that the expansion of city gardening is “close to my heart.”

 The new ordinance expands gardening options in Minneapolis to include market gardens, where fresh produce could be sold for 15 days each summer, and the use of rooftops and vacant lots for growing space.

In 1943, the land adjacent to Dowling School became a Victory Garden as part of a national effort to encourage the creation of vegetable gardens during World War II.

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Gardening continued on the land after the war but consisted of large plots, each about the size of a city block, with few gardeners. Today there are many small plots and many gardeners.

The new ordinance also expands the options for city gardeners to include farm-stand sales at market and community gardens, the construction of hoop houses to lengthen the growing season and the establishment of urban farms.

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.