Campus Community Garden Unites Culture

Annabella Castillo, staff writer

Photo of The Medtronic Foundation Community behind Hagfors Center, taken by Abi Hilden on Sept. 14 

Tucked behind Hagfors lies a hidden gem on Augsburg’s campus: a beautiful, plentiful community garden. With over a dozen plots, the Medtronic Foundation Community Garden is a place for gardeners from all around the Minneapolis community to come together. It features raised and in-ground beds, two plots for students, an Augsburg Indigenous Student Association (AISA) plot, water hoses and compost for gardeners to use as well as places for people to gather.

The community garden has been a staple on campus since its creation in 2007. It was renovated in 2017-18 as part of the building plans for Hagfors. There are 63 individual plots within the garden, each maintained by various community members. Diversity is prevalent in the garden, allowing cultures to unite through growth.

Gardeners from the greater Cedar-Riverside and Minnesota community as well as those from places outside of the U.S. such as Mexico and Somalia grow a wide variety of produce in the plots. Some grow mint for religious and health reasons, similarly to holy basil, while others grow vegetables and peppers that aren’t common to Minnesota. Many gardeners also use their plots to help feed themselves and their family, as gardening is a low-cost alternative to grocery shopping, especially when it comes to healthy foods.

President Paul Pribbenow spoke up on the goals of the garden, stating “Our relationships with our diverse neighbors, with the Mississippi River, and with other neighborhoods in our vibrant city are opportunities for learning, for civic engagement, and for faithful service. We are proud of what we do to honor sustainability, but also deeply aware of the need for ongoing vigilance and wise stewardship of the gifts of our environment.” 

The Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) maintains the student plots as part of its pursuit to keep campus as environmentally conscious as possible. They are also a driving force in Augsburg’s commitment to sustainability, something that is an integral part of Augsburg’s campus according to President Paul Pribbenow.

“The Augsburg community is deeply committed to what it means to build a sustainable urban environment. We are uniquely situated in a city neighborhood and are privileged to have a variety of opportunities to explore the interconnectedness of urban life with both human and natural forces.” 

The community garden is a space that symbolizes Augsburg’s mission: to engage with the community, promote diversity and encourage sustainability. AISA maintains its own medicinal plot since its blessing in April of this year, allowing members to have a dedicated space on campus for plants that are significant to their culture. 

Be sure to stop by the community garden next time you are on campus. Please be respectful of the space and if you plan to take advantage of the produce available, only take from the student plots meant for the Augsburg community.