Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: Blaisdell YMCA

banana tree
banana tree
(Image credit: Blaisdell YMCA)

This year, Gardening Know How's School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we're excited to share them with you. Every other week we'll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we're featuring the Blaisdell YMCA in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Located in a dense, heavily commercialized part of Minneapolis, the Blaisdell YMCA caters to a community with very little in the way of gardens and green space. That's starting to change, however, as the space outside the YMCA, a Designated Peace Site through the World Citizen Peace Site Program, is undergoing a complete makeover to become a community garden and serene green oasis in a sea of concrete.

The planting of the green space has begun

The plan, which is already underway as of this spring, is to install several raised vegetable beds to be tended by volunteers, as well as to plant trees, shrubs, and flowers that will create a peaceful environment for classes, meetings, and just plain enjoyment of the outdoors.

A Master Gardener from the University of Minnesota Extension Service and a landscape architect will be spearheading the creation of the green space, supported by a team of YMCA volunteers and members, who will continue to tend the beds and garden in the future.

The Designated Peace Site next to the YMCA

It's those Y members, as well as folks from the local community, who will benefit the most from the new green space. The Blaisdell YMCA is a New American Welcome Center, providing support, ESL classes, and youth programs to immigrants and refugees. The YMCA also supports a large population of nearby seniors, as well as veterans and active duty military, and people with chronic illnesses. The new green space and garden will create a sense of community, a peaceful and welcoming area for everyone to come together and soak up the nature, even in the middle of the city.

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Blaisdell YMCA will have a safe patch of greenery where all its members can enjoy tending a garden where they'd be otherwise unable. We're proud to help them realize this dream.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.