Shannon Stassen and Kirsten Fagerlund to Present "Visions of Gardening in the Community" Program at the U of M Crookston on February 20, 2014

The third gardening and local foods seminar is scheduled for Thursday, February 20, at 5 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center, at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Speakers include Kirsten Fagerlund, lead coordinator with the State-wide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) with Polk County Public Health and Shannon Stassen, Crookston City Administrator. The programs are free and open to all interested in the topic but reservations are required. To make a reservation, contact Tashi Gurung in the Center for Sustainability at 218-281-8129 (

Attendees are requested to pick up their meal at 5 p.m. and then bring their meal down the hall to the Bede Ballroom. The program will commence at 5:30 p.m. and conclude around 6:30. This is a continuing supper seminar series scheduled during the spring semester on the Crookston campus to explore and inform aspects of gardening and local food production in the Crookston community and the campus.

In the program, Visions of gardening in the community, the speakers will lead participants in brainstorming sessions on "What could be scenarios?" What gardening options might exist in vacant lots, city property that is presently mowed or left idle, other lands that might be rented or the use donated?

Fagerlund has a passion for the many benefits of gardening and exercise from the public health and wellness standpoint. Stassen also has a passion for gardening from growing up on a farm and also working with Allen Pedersen, a long-term Crookston resident and "legendary" backyard gardener. The programs are supported by a mini-grant from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment to the Center for Sustainability.

The kick-off of the seminar series occurred January 23 and featured Noelle Hardin, a U of MN Extension Educator whose focus is Community Food Systems in northwest Minnesota.  Hardin explored the many values of local foods and over 35 participants from the community and campus shared their experiences. The second speaker was Dr. Randel Hanson, environmental scientist and manager of the Campus Garden at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Some 40 or so participants attended Hanson's program so the interest continues to grow.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 20 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus--as well as 13 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

Contact: Dan Svedarsky, director, Center for Sustainability, 218-281-8129 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (