Village Garden Helps Neighborhood Grow Together

Saint Paul Village Garden A corner in Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood is looking a lot greener these days thanks to the efforts of a few community-minded residents. A space that was once part of a bowling alley parking lot has been transformed into an inviting community garden and gathering place.
Across the street from the Wilder Square High Rise building, near the intersection of Milton Street and Pierce Butler Route in Saint Paul, the Village Garden began to take shape three years ago as a partnership between local businesses, gardeners and community residents. Upon relocating her business to the neighborhood, Margie Commerford saw a need for community space. She partnered with community organizer and green space advocate Patricia Ohmans who helped organize volunteers to contribute plants and tools and to tend the garden.
The Village Garden is maintained by Frogtown Green, a coalition of volunteers committed to transforming vacant lots into green space for Frogtown residents to use and enjoy. Thanks to their efforts, the garden is home to several beds where neighborhood residents grow flowers, fruits and vegetables. There are beds designated for youth gardeners through the Youth Farm program, spaces for Loaves and Fishes to grow food they incorporate into their free meal service, and spaces for residents of the Wilder Square High Rise to grow berries, flowers and more. “I’m tickled to be involved with the garden. I think of this as my yard” says Kathy Donovan, Wilder Square resident and garden volunteer. “It just feels nice out here."
Village Garden Volunteers 
Village Garden volunteers Kathy Donovan and Patricia Ohmans
Community involvement with the garden continues to flourish. Recently volunteers have hosted events for the community, including a strawberry festival in June and a summer block party with more than 100 neighbors in attendance. Volunteers have plans for a fall canning class, compositing education and a bonfire party. “It’s all about getting people outside,” says Ohmans.
The garden has boosted community interest and involvement in green space just as plans come together for the Frogtown Park and Farm, where development is scheduled to begin spring 2015.
The Village Garden stands out as an example of what’s possible when neighbors get together to make a difference in their community. Feel free to visit the Village Garden this fall and find more information about the garden on the Frogtown Green website. 

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