Minnesota Moment: Community Garden Helps Cultivate American Dream

October 11, 2017 03:11 PM

The final harvest of the season is set for this weekend at the Rice Street Community Gardens in Maplewood.

Now in its second year, the garden has become a cultural gathering spot for refugees and immigrants living in Maplewood, Roseville and St. Paul's north side.


Many of the people filling the 266 plots are Karen and come from southeast Asia.

"I love gardening a lot because you know, our family used to do the garden back home," Eh Hey Hser Win said.

The mother of three – soon to be four – is a refugee from Burma who has lived in Minnesota for eight years. Win said the garden has given her family much more than vegetables.

"We do have a potluck from every culture and we're sharing our food and enjoy our communication with other people," Win said.

Sherry Sanders, of Roseville, co-founded Rice Street Gardens because she saw a need.

"We have gardeners here who have been in refugee camps for 20 and 30 years, waiting for a spot to get out and begin life again," Sanders said. "They're part of our community and I want them to feel welcome, because Minnesota is welcoming to everyone."

For people like Win, the garden is helping her family capture their American dream.

"Life right now, if we compare it to people who live here, we're almost, not quite, kind of almost there. But happy to live here," Win said.

Sanders said organizers hope to have 300 plots available in 2018. They lease the land from St. Paul Regional Water Services, funded by $20 yearly membership fees.

If you are interested in a plot, click here for more information.



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