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Project Sweetie Pie

For the last several weeks, students from north Minneapolis (MSP), Minnesota have been planting, maintaining and harvesting garden produce in North MSP. Project Sweetie Pie is revitalizing North MSP by using scattered gardens to seed community agricultural businesses and creating jobs within walking distances of the students’ homes.  For many of these students this has been their first encounter with working in an urban garden. 

students from north Minneapolis (MSP)On July 31, 2014 Project Sweetie Pie youth and mentors went on a bus tour to learn more about NRCS. Cutrina Moreland, NRCS employee coordinated the day long tour to the Waconia NRCS field office and the Jordan NRCS field office. 

The student’s day began at the Waconia NRCS office.  Lisa Buckner, district conservationist provided hands-on instruction with basic NRCS foundational skills. Ms. Buckner showed the students how to set-up a laser level; take slope readings on a clinometer and how to figure out how to establish a pace on 100 feet.   “The field trip opened up the students’ eyes to what’s available at NRCS,” said Michael Chaney, Project Director for Project Sweetie Pie.

Following the morning session at the Waconia office the students went to the Jerry Blackwell farm in Scott County to eat lunch and see the Blackwell farming operation.  At the Blackwell farm the students were able to see how the farmland was being used.  The tour included viewing a large garden and  several chickens and goats. 

The last tour stop of the day was at the Jordan NRCS office.  Katundra Shears, district conservationist and Leslie Diaz, soil conservationist spoke with the students about soil textures and the measuring of field slopes.  The students were able to put to use their summer of 2014 garden experience to use as both Shears and Diaz involved the students in one-on-one and group dialogue .  Shears and Diaz worked side-by-side with the students as they went about their field stations to do slope measurements. 

The Scott Soil and Water Conservation District showcased their spring of 2014 Raingarden.  This garden located west of the NRCS field office allows water to run-off into a depression and pool water while at the same time infiltrating runoff from rain events.

A special thank you to The Waconia and Jordan NRCS staff  for participating in this outreach event with Project Sweetie Pie. Events such as this are ways that NRCS can showcase how NRCS “Helps People Help the Land” on a daily basis.

For more information regarding NRCS outreach please contact Cutrina Moreland at Cutrina.moreland@mn.usda.gov .