Stroll through the East Side's community gardens

Battle Creek resident John McDermott can't wait for Saturday.
Come the end of this week, McDermott and others who have organized the Boys Totem Town community garden get to show off their stuff - their garden art, their prized veggies, their fantastic flowers. This Saturday, people from all over the metropolitan area will converge on St. Paul and Minneapolis for the first-ever Parade of Community gardens, featuring ever 50 gardens spread throughout the two cities. Not to be left out, three of the gardens on the tour can be found on the East Side, including the Totem Town garden, known as being not only one of the biggest community gardens in the metro but most certainly the only one on county jail property. The Totem Town garden's 40 gardeners tend their small plots, no bigger than 900 square feet, within the shadow of Ramsey County's correctional facility for juveniles. And it's pretty clear that the gardeners don't mind, given that some travel from as far away as the McDonough homes public housing just north of downtown St. Paul just for a chance to get their hands in the dirt. Of the two other East Side gardens on this tour, organized jointly by the Green Institute and the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, one is nestled not so discretely outside Dayton's Bluff's Swede Hollow Cafe, and the other one is in Hazel Park, just behind the National Guard Armory on Maryland Avenue.

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