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For Community Gardens: Lease Minneapolis-owned vacant lots

Green pins highlight City-own parcels available to be leased for community gardens.Red pins indicate City-owned parcels already leased out to community gardens.Scroll through the map to see available lots throughout the City, zoom in to see individual lots (specifically, a lot at 2445 15th Ave S is not visible without zooming in).

City-owned Parcels Available for Community Gardens

McKinney GardenThe City of Minneapolis has vacant lots available to qualifying groups to lease for community gardens. These City-owned lots were selected because they are not appropriate for development. This means that they will remain available for years of gardening even as the economy changes and redevelopment picks up. A map of Minneapolis-owned vacant lots is shown above, which includes 29 new lots in 2014 that are available for community gardens in North Minneapolis on a year-to-year basis. This list of properties and map of properties shows those newly available lots in North Minneapolis. If one of these lots is leased by a community garden, the City will assist in testing the soil for lead.

Lots are available on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying groups. Experienced community garden groups may be eligible for three- to five-year leases, while groups gardening for the first time will start with one-year leases. A qualifying group will be a not-for-profit or a group with a not-for-profit sponsor. The garden will need to have liability insurance. Applicants should be ready to discuss the layout of the garden, how it will be managed and how it will engage and benefit the community.

The menu below includes documents and information about getting a city-owned parcel for community gardening:

The Community Garden Pilot Program began in 2010 and leases out lots to help make Minneapolis more beautiful, provide healthy food and build community. The City of Minneapolis supports community gardens in its commitment to promote access to good nutrition, improve the ecological footprint of the city, encourage active and healthy living, and provide spaces for human interaction, food production and beauty in our daily lives. In addition to these lots, Minneapolis already has community gardens throughout the city.

Minneapolis Local Food Resource Hubs Network

If the answer to these or related questions is "yes," then join a Local Food Resource Hub, an initiative of the City of Minneapolis, community partners, and Gardening Matters.

The hubs are designed to get Minneapolis residents and community gardeners the tools and education they need to grow, preserve, cook and compost their own fresh produce, by offering supplies, classes and connections. To reserve your membership spot, contact Gardening Matters at (612) 821-2358 or download the membership form (in English, Spanish, Hmong or Somali) online. This program is made possible in part by funding from the Minneapolis Health Department and the Statewide Health Improvement Program.

Hydrant Water Permits for Community Gardens and Urban Farms

The Water Works Permit Office issues garden water permits to community gardens and urban farmers  to access  a specific fire hydrant for their garden/farm when there is no other water option available. The person must have legal documentation from owner giving permission to use land. These permits are issued seasonally, the water usage is metered and paid for during the growing season. For further questions please call (612) 673-2865 or write to:

Minneapolis Water Treatment and Distribution
Room 224, Public Service Center
250 South 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Minnesota Brownfields has funding to help clean up properties to become community gardens

Minnesota Brownields received Environmental Response Fund funding in 2014 to provide small grants for environmental assessment and clean-up of property in contamination levels at proposed redevelopment and community garden sites. The fund is intended to be used for unexpected environmental issues, to prepare for a larger funding request in the County testing cycle, or to identify/clarify and, in some cases, remediate suspected environmental concerns. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis. Eligible community garden sites must be either owned or controlled by a public entity or a nonprofit organization. The application (pdf) asks for city approval, but formal authorization was passed by the City Council on May 13, 2011, so Minneapolis community garden applicants do not need to take additional steps to provide it.

For private property, soil testing for lead, salt and other nutrient tests can be completed by sending soil samples into the University of Minnesota’s Soil Testing laboratory as described on their website. Lead testing costs $15.


Last updated Jun 16, 2014