Grow, Eat, Live- Vertical Gardens of Saint Paul

by Allison Kappeyne | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

With one million dollars, we would help youth build beautiful, edible vertical gardens all around St. Paul. We would work to change food desert conditions through growing food in neglected vertical space. To design and build these gardens, we would engage low-income and diverse youth through a youth employment program or paid internship. This would create youth empowerment, build healthy future lifestyles and cultivate 21st century skills. Vertical gardens are an outlet for youth to create productive green graffiti that has the power to not only provide a unique aesthetic, but also create a local food source for themselves and their community. This idea turns dull, plain buildings into vibrant, edible, green pieces of art. Vertical gardens would be indoor and/or outdoor and seasonal food varieties would easily be incorporated. Since Minnesota has a short growing season and there’s a need for year-round food security options, some indoor spaces would be important, and could be relatively easily installed in schools, community buildings, really anywhere. The concept of vertical gardens allows us to grow more sustainable food without needing more land, just simply vertical space, which is in abundance in our city. The gardens would be a unique feature of St. Paul, creating awareness and inspiration across the nation.

About You

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About You

First Name

Allison

Last Name

Kappeyne

City

County

Country

United States

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

City of Saint Paul VISTA Program

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Grow, Eat, Live- Vertical Gardens of Saint Paul

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

With one million dollars, we would help youth build beautiful, edible vertical gardens all around St. Paul. We would work to change food desert conditions through growing food in neglected vertical space. To design and build these gardens, we would engage low-income and diverse youth through a youth employment program or paid internship. This would create youth empowerment, build healthy future lifestyles and cultivate 21st century skills. Vertical gardens are an outlet for youth to create productive green graffiti that has the power to not only provide a unique aesthetic, but also create a local food source for themselves and their community. This idea turns dull, plain buildings into vibrant, edible, green pieces of art. Vertical gardens would be indoor and/or outdoor and seasonal food varieties would easily be incorporated. Since Minnesota has a short growing season and there’s a need for year-round food security options, some indoor spaces would be important, and could be relatively easily installed in schools, community buildings, really anywhere. The concept of vertical gardens allows us to grow more sustainable food without needing more land, just simply vertical space, which is in abundance in our city. The gardens would be a unique feature of St. Paul, creating awareness and inspiration across the nation.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

There are many initiatives for urban gardening but few take into account vertical spaces. Imagine yourself on the way to your local public library and on the side of the building is an herb garden that is built, designed, and maintained by local youth. You are able to cut a fresh handful of basil home for dinner tonight from the vertical community garden.

You don’t expect to find food growing on the side of the library. This is a unique concept that increases beautification, increases food availability, and increases youth and community awareness of gardening, nutrition, and the environment.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Our idea will engage and educate youth and our communities on urban gardening, nutrition, and food equity while also growing food sustainably in a confined/neglected urban space. Through a youth employment program, the youth would gain transferable job skills, trade skills, and 21st century social skills while also earning income to support themselves and their families. The gardens would specifically be designed to increase food availability in food deserts and to vulnerable populations. They would make healthy, local food an affordable and viable option while also serving as a learning tool.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Have you ever seen a vertical garden? Envision a sea of green downtown, in your school, perhaps even on City Hall. It’s quite a vision. While our idea is unique to this area, we were inspired by a vertical gardening project TEDTalk that has proved quite successful in the South Bronx community. As an outcome of the South Bronx project, the involved youth participants are enrolled in colleges and are employed young adults with a new set of professional skills and knowledge of healthy communities and eating. These gardens have been self-sustaining, easily maintained and replicable throughout the city, and are incredibly inspiring!