Senator Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) said today that a recent visit to several East Side St. Paul urban farming sites by officials from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) helped strengthen the relationship between Minnesota’s rural and urban farming interests. He said the tour allowed MCGA leaders to get a better understanding of the diversity and the needs of urban farming and its potential to address “food deserts,” or areas where residents have little access to grocery stores or markets that sell affordable, healthy food.
The MCGA officials were joined by leaders from the Minnesota Farm Bureau, and the Minnesota Farmers Union on the tour. Sen. Hawj said the group not only saw the potential that urban agriculture has to address food deserts, but also the need for partnerships to provide the training and expertise to allow urban agriculture to expand.
“The East Side of St. Paul has many diverse and growing urban agriculture sites that have the potential to reduce the number of food deserts in our urban areas,” said Sen. Hawj. “I was very pleased that the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and other farm groups were able to join me and tour some of these sites and see their potential, their diversity, and their importance in ensuring all Minnesotans get the food and nutrition they need. The relationships between rural and urban farming resulting from this tour will help strengthen Minnesota farming – both urban and rural – into the future.”
The group visited four urban agriculture sites, including Community Garden – Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), the GROW-IT Center at Metro State University in St. Paul, Urban Roots, and Hmong Village indoor farmers market.