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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Southeast > Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems > Growing Home Olmsted

Growing Home Olmsted

Project files


Inspired by Growing Power in Milwaukee, a collaborative in Olmsted County is driving an urban gardening/job-training/housing project in Rochester. The SE RP board approved support for technical assistance to develop a compost-food growing system.

Background: A nonprofit formed as a sister organization to Center City Housing Corp, which is looking to develop stable housing for families and older youth in Rochester – see report below, which includes a number of sustainability components.

Youth Without Stable Housing in Rochester
  1. Recognition of a need for permanent, supportive housing for homeless families and youth
  2. Desire to provide employment and training opportunities for residents of permanent, supportive housing
  3. Builds on discussions about new options to sell steam and electricity from Olmsted waste-to-energy facility
  4. Opportunity to start an urban farming venture that has widespread community interest


U of M business development specialist, Olmsted County (Community Services, Environmental Resources, Public Health, Building Operations), Rochester school district, and multiple community members


  • Established vision and mission
  • Identified implementation vehicles - Compost production - Vermiculture (worms) - Aquaponics - Product packaging, marketing, sales - Job skills training - Agriculture & horticulture education - Nutrition education
  • Presentation to Olmsted County Commissioners, November 2012
  • Identified resources and consultant for business plan

Next Steps

  • Define specific products and markets
  • Explore technical assistance opportunities with Growing Power
  • Identify health, safety and environmental regulations that apply
  • Explore opportunities to partner with, enhance or expand existing Olmsted County compost operations
  • Begin initial operations, employing Rochester Alternative Learning Center students


To date - 
  1. Finalized first phase business plan for compost operation
  2. Established Memorandum of Understanding with Full Circle Organics
  3. Nonprofit formed with interim board


SERP FY2014 spent: $5,044

Leveraged resources

  • $1,750 - Olmsted County
  • $1,750 - Center City Housing
  • 150 volunteer hours, not counting community meetings - 60 (Olmsted County), 20 (Center City Housing), 25 (Rochester Alternative Learning Center), 20 (UM-Rochester), 25 (UM SE RSDP board)
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