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Backyard Harvest: Growing a sustainable (& delicious) food system, one yard at a time's video poster

Help us help city dwellers transform their landscapes into tasty, sustainable AND beautiful mini-farms! Read more

Minneapolis, MN Food
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pledged of $8,200 goal
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This project was successfully funded on September 1, 2010.

Help us help city dwellers transform their landscapes into tasty, sustainable AND beautiful mini-farms!

Minneapolis, MN Food
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About this project

Backyard Harvest helps city dwellers transform their landscapes into tasty, beautiful & sustainable mini-farms. It is a community-building program in urban agriculture and permaculture (another word for "sustainability" but cooler!). Our program provides both garden fresh food and garden education for homeowners, renters and neighborhoods, as well as entrepreneurial and small-scale food production training for our farmers.

Backyard Harvest’s mission is to strengthen the Twin Cities urban food system one yard at a time by turning lawns into nourishing and healthy landscapes. We connect eaters directly to their food, neighbors to one another and urban farmers to professional opportunities. In this way, we are working to address some of the most pressing issues of our time including access to healthy food, renewing degraded urban soils and reestablishing plant biodiversity in our cities.

Since launching in 2009, we have been able to:

  • Hire, train, employ and mentor 6 aspiring urban farmers
  • Grow 26 full service vegetable, herb and edible flower gardens in residents' yards
  • Grow 700 square feet of gardens for underserved families including two food shelf gardens, a garden for an affordable housing complex and another for a Habitat for Humanity homeowning family
  • Collaborate with awesome neighborhood groups, property owners and social service organizations to bring backyard gardens and permaculture to more Twin Cities residents

So what's next?

Next growing season is the GO SEASON! We need to really ramp things up and we are ready to do just that. By backing us, you will be helping us to expand our program to:

  1. Make low-cost backyard farming services accessible across our communities - We're looking to double the amount of garden space that is dedicated to those without ready access to fresh vegetables
  2. Turn talented aspiring urban agrarians into successful entrepreneurs - Let's face it. Our cities need these folks BAD!
  3. Help neighbors meet one another through celebrations, work and skill sharing events, shared meals, etc.
  4. Offer more garden elements such as cold frames, fruit trees and mushrooms - More elements = closer to sustainability!

We're running on a shoestring with BIG plans for an abundant future. Our experience has taught us how to be efficient with time and money so your support is sure to make a significant impact on our ability to do our part to grow a sustainable urban food system. Remember that this proposal is all or nothing - either we get enough backers to reach our entire goal or we get zilch - so be as generous as you like and pass it on to others who might love our program too! THANKS SO MUCH!

"My Backyard Harvest garden has literally changed my life,” enthuses a 2009 Full Service Garden client who has already signed up for a second season. “I'm eating better, cooking more, and feeling the joy of simply watching my food grow. I love it!"

We invite you to learn more about us on our blog and website (lots o' photos, bios and heartwarming tales here)!

Backyard Harvest is a program of the nonprofit Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate. A portion of your support is tax-deductible.

"Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of productive ecosystems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way." ~ Bill Mollison, permaculture concept co-originator


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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    15 backers

    A subscription to our bi-monthly e-newsletter including updates about the program

  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    36 backers

    Everything above, recognition on our website & a set of blank greeting cards with art photos by our pro photographer featuring scenes from our 2010 gardens OR a print of an illustration of one of our garden designs

  • You selected
    Pledge $80 or more

    8 backers

    Everything above & one hour of our Garden Coaching service

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    8 backers

    Everything above & a 3-year subscription to PlantJotter (, a personalized online gardening journal. (Hint: Use your hour of Garden Coaching to get help setting up your account!)

  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    2 backers

    Everything above & one of our permaculture-inspired, intensively-designed & tested garden designs with instructions for planting & maintaining it

  • You selected
    Pledge $600 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    Everything above & a meal in Minneapolis with the Backyard Harvest staff, cooked by us using fresh, seasonal & Twin Cities-grown produce OR a conference call/video chat with the program creators

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    One of our Full Service Gardens featuring over 35 different vegetables, herbs & edible flowers including all materials & labor for one growing season

    (Note: Your site must have 6 hours of direct sun per day to be appropriate for this garden. Your site must be located in Minneapolis or St. Paul, MN.)

Funding period

- (49 days)