An agreement by the Trust for Public Land and the Wilder Foundation brought the shared vision of the non-profit Frogtown Gardens and Sarah Weeks (MLA '11) several acres closer to fruition.
The mission of Frogtown Gardens is to make their St. Paul neighborhood healthier and greener. The area is challenged by low incomes, high health risks, and lack of green spaces. Since 2009, the group has worked to create an urban agriculture demonstration site (Frogtown Farm) on an unoccupied parcel of land in the center of their neighborhood.
Last year, Weeks worked with Frogtown Gardens to develop her Landscape Architecture capstone project. "I wanted to rethink what it means to grow food in a community sense," said Weeks. "As well as how a park can be redefined to fit the changing needs of urban people."
After Weeks attended several community meetings and gathered input from Frogtown residents, she recommended a learning exchange/educational model for the site. Based on her research, she though the land should be used as a teaching space to demonstrate the principles of organic gardening, along with outdoor gathering spaces for trails, festivals, and art.
"After I presented my capstone," said Weeks, "I gave Frogtown Gardens my work, much of which I understand they used as supportive material in negotiations. We are still in contact, and I am looking forward to seeing how the project evolves!"
She currently works as a Research Fellow for the Metropolitan Design Center. Frogtown Gardens contacted MDC
prior to the land sale and asked them to conduct an investigation of the Wilder site to evaluate its potential as an urban farm project. The study included a geophysical evaluation of the site, its development
history, and its suitability as a place for an organized community farm
project. You can read MDC's final report, recommending the site for a community farm project, here.