Minnesota Green at Work in Frogtown

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of Northern Gardener.

“Public health and urban development research bears this out: you will be healthier if you live near a green space,” says Frogtown Green coordinator Patricia Ohmans, who formed the group and sponsors it through her consulting firm, Health Advocates. “Frogtown Green is an effort to bring the benefits of greening to the Frogtown neighborhood.”

Gardener at work in one of the Frogtown Community gardens.

Gardener at work in one of the Frogtown Community gardens.

Through the group’s efforts, 13 acres of vacant land has been transformed into St. Paul’s newest park, Frogtown Park & Farm. The group’s focus is now on the neighborhood’s additional 9 acres of vacant land. “It’s depressing evidence of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis,” says Patricia. “However, we see this land as full of potential.”

The main community garden, Our Village, has plots that are tended by residents of a senior high rise, children and teenagers from the Youth Farm program, volunteers with the nonprofit meal program Loaves & Fishes and other neighborhood residents. “Plant contributions from Minnesota Green are vitally important,” says Patricia. “We count on the vegetable and flower seeds, as well as shrubs and ornamental plants, since we landscape the areas around the garden beds.”

At Pop-Up Tree Park, a nursery on a vacant lot, volunteers grow trees then deliver them to neighborhood homes in the fall. Monarch City was planted this May with more than 2,500 milkweed plants that will provide habitat for migrating monarchs.

Frogtown Green’s upcoming goals include buying land to make projects more permanent (most gardens are on land owned by others) and they hope to add at least one new project each year.

—Brenda Harvieux