Friday, April 19, 2013

Egg | Plant Urban Farm Supply and We Can Grow

Bob Lies from Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in action 

We had a great food preservation class put on Bob Lies from Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul. A little bit about Bob, raised locally in south Minneapolis, Bob moved to St. Paul when he decided to buy a home and raise his family. They have lived in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood for 16 years. Bob is a builder and a tinkerer and enjoys the work of gardening almost as much as the fruits of the labor. In addition to helping run Egg|Plant, Bob is a technical writer and a information systems analyst.

 A few weeks ago we contacted Bob about teaching our intro to food preservation class when we were in a pinch when the folks we originally had in mind couldn't help us out. Bob responded quickly, and together with Mike, We Can Grow's director, managed to put together a curriculum in under 10 days.

Bob sharing the spotlight with We Can Grow's Director, Mike Smieja
Bob was nothing less than a rock star when it came to the class. He brought lots of examples of the equipment necessary to preserve the harvest. We went over drying, canning, freezing, and fermentation briefly. The highlight of the night was the hands on preparation of the kimchi. Most people think kimchi is hard to make? Nope, Bob mad it simple and concise. All the participants loved the hands on work and went home with their very own jar.

Bob explains the art of making kimchi
One of the most important parts of the We Can Grow program is a commitment to building a better community. Bob basically dropped everything and made sure that this class came off without a hitch, he knows how important it is to build community around our food system  We are so very grateful to have had this experience with Bob and Egg|Plant. This was a great example of community building community. If you need information on anything related to urban food production please take time to support Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply. Shop your dollars with businesses that support community. Please visit Egg|Plant”s store in St. Paul MAP and their WEBSITE

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cache Gardening - By Gallimaufree | Survival Spot

Cache gardening is a fusion between wildcrafting and deliberately naturalizing edible food plants in places to which you have access, or along routes you may take to bug out. Consider it enhanced wildcrafting, with the bonus that you know where edibles are because you seeded the area with the food plants. Because it doesn’t look like a traditional row garden, it becomes secret and hidden.

Read more....Cache Gardening - By Gallimaufree | Survival Spot

Monday, April 8, 2013

Four New Classes by We Can Grow and The Hack Factory

Four great classes at the Hack Factory with We Can Grow. The Hack Factory is a space for people to prototype, invent, share, learn, teach, and improve upon our community by empowering people. Together we are offering some classes at the Hack Factory. These are hands on classes so be prepared to get a little dusty.

Build Your Own Raised Bed Garden

After this class you will go home with raised bed garden built by your very own hands and the knowledge to use it. We use all natural cedar because it has such a resilience to the elements, lasts for years to come, and it smells great. Along with building your garden the instructor will present a basic small space gardening class. This class is for all skill levels.

You’ll be building a sub-irrigated raised bed garden. Sub-irrigation is a source of water stored below the soil. This is a great way to conserve water and shorten the amount of watering time you'll have to put in. Soil is not included.

You will have a couple options for soil. We will have bags of soil available for purchase. If you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul We Can Grow can deliver soil in a few weeks. Or you can provide you own.Whatever your choice, we can make arrangements the day of the class.

Cost $125
For more information or to register click HERE

Build Your Own Potato Tower

Wanna grow your own potatoes for the year, but don't have a lot of space? This class will provide the simple solution of a potato tower. Is a space as small as 3'x3' you can grow up to 60 pounds of potatoes.

At the end of this class you will own your very own potato tower built with your very own hands, and an understanding of how to be successful with it. We use all natural cedar because it has such a resilience to the elements, lasts for years to come, and it smells great. This class is for all skill levels. Soil is not included.

You will have a couple options for soil. We will have bags of soil available for purchase. If you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul We Can Grow can deliver soil in a few weeks. Or you can provide you own.Whatever your choice, we can make arrangements the day of the class.

Cost $125
For more information or to register click HERE

Build Your Own Backyard Compost Bin

Nothing aids in success in your gardening efforts more that great soil. We have a growing need to reduce the waste that is put into our landfills. We all moan and groan about bagging out leaves every fall. We have a solution that addresses all those problems, it’s simple, backyard composting.

After you complete this class you will have the knowledge to build and have built your very own backyard compost bin. We are using long lasting cedar and using a design that is easy yo use and produces great results quickly.

Cost $125
For more information or to register click HERE


Build Your Own Kitchen Window Herb Garden

Nothing is quite as rewarding as growing and using your very own herbs. In this class we use a simple, attractive design that is very low maintenance. We will be using cedar because it is attractive and lasts for a long time.

After completing this class you will have the knowledge and have built your very own complete kitchen window herb garden. We provide all the soil and plants you provide the love.

Cost $60
For more information or to register click HERE

About the instructor.

Mike Smieja is the Director of We Can Grow, a nonprofit that provides raised bed gardens to low income families in the Twin Cities. Last season Mike owned and operated Buchanan Street Farms, an urban farm in Northeast Minneapolis. Currently attending the University of Minnesota for Agriculture and Horticulture. Mike has been through the Master Gardener and Master Composter Recycler courses. Along with empowering others, Mike has a passion for food, rebuilding community, and environmental stewardship.

Special offer!

April 27-28 2013 Mike Smieja will be teaching four different projects at the Hack Factory, including raised bed garden building, potato tower building, compost bin building, and kitchen window herb garden building. Attend the whole series and receive the May Rain Barrel building class for free! ($75 value)


We Can Grow and the Hack Factory have partnered to provide a select amount of scholarships for low income families and individuals for each project. If you would like to apply for one please email the instructor Mike for more information HERE

Friday, March 29, 2013

Time Banking comes to Northeast Minneapolis

  So, last night I attended the organizational meeting for the Northeast Time Bank. I was very excited about the idea of trading time rather than money with people in my neighborhood. There were about a dozen people there that were also very excited.

  So the concept is that everybody's hour is worth just as much as everybody else'. Hour for hour? No once you work for someone they register the hours that you gave and they go into a bank. Now you can use them with other people. You receive banked time when you go through the required orientation. You receive banked time for going to time bank events. We Can Grow can even participate in the program to give and get time for volunteers.

  I am looking forward to this getting off the ground and getting out there and earning some hours!

For more information visit the Northeast Timebank's Facebook page HERE

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring 2013 Community Challenge

We Can Grow Challenges You to Make a Change in Your Community

We Can Grow's Spring 2013 Community Challenge

Happy Spring! We can feel it in the air . I know we are all getting very excited for the snow to be gone, kids playing in the yard, planting that early spinach and being able to put away the snow shovels. Spring is also a time to emerge from our winter caves and get outside more. Neighbors working in their yard, kids throwing the ball in the street, and everyone out for walks. Community, its all about community. Don't we all want a better community? It seems that we are growing further and further apart in our communities. Simply ask yourself, how many of my neighbors do I know on a first name basis? Of the ones I do, how many of them do I know where they work? Do I know their kids? What's their dogs name?

We can all change that. Take the We Can Grow Spring 2013 Community Challenge! It's really simple, get to know 5 of your neighbors and their families. If you already know 5, then get to know 5 more. When we say get to know them, we mean really get to know them. Not just their name and what they do. Find out how you can help them have a better life. See where you might be able to lend a hand with a project they have going on. Really get to know them and let them get to know you. At some point during this process tell them about the challenge, and challenge them to do the same,  and talk about meeting new families in your community. If we all took time to get to know 5 neighbors and challenged them to get to know 5 neighbors and they challenged them etc, we cold have a better  community in no time. 

Okay, are you ready? There is an optional form below. This is not required, but it would be cool to see if we all made a change or not, wouldn't it? It takes a community to build a community. 

March Maddness

Are you ready for the 2013 garden season? 


We Can Grow still has lots of openings for for the 2013 season. We have 6 class sessions and lots of locations to choose from. More info....

Garden Options

We have lots of different garden options to choose from. Don't know how to garden? look at our complete garden packages that include classes. Have a garden, want to learn more? Check out our classes. Need a garden for the cabin? We got that! More info......

Lots of Events

There is so much going on around gardening and urban farming in the Twin Cities. Be sure to check our events calendar and check often. More info....

We Want to Do More, We Want to Do Better

We are committed to doing a better job building community. This is an ongoing goal for We Can Grow. But we need your help. Often we don't think of everything. We need your input and help in building a better community. We have created an Ideas and Suggestions page. Please tell us what you think and feel about what can be done to better our community. The only bad ideas or suggestions are the ones that are never shared. Ideas breed ideas, so the first one may not be the best, but the offspring can change lives. Tell us what you think. More info.....