Program begins at 6 p.m.

    A series of discussions about local foods and gardening will kick-off Thursday, January 23, 2014, in Bede Ballroom at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Suppers in UMC’s food service are free but reservations are required.

    Attendees are requested to go through food service at 5:30 p.m. and then bring their meal down the hall to the Bede Ballroom. The program will commence at 6 p.m. and conclude around 7 p.m. For reservations, call or email Megan Luxford or Laura Gabrielson at 281-8128 or

    Thursday’s speaker will be Noelle Hardin, a U of M Extension Educator whose focus is Community Food Systems in northwest Minnesota.  Noele has a broad familiarity with gardening at the community and campus level, having experienced gardening efforts at the U of M St Paul, the U of Wisconsin – Madison, and the University of Oregon. She will profile those efforts and lead discussions to identify various possibilities and priorities of attendees. The programs are supported by a Mini-grant from the U of MN’s Institute on the Environment to UMC’s Center for Sustainability and are free and open to all interested in the topic.

    “There has been a recent ground-swell of interest in home-grown foods, Farmer’s Markets, and gardening and these programs will be a way of connecting people with similar interests,” said Dan Svedarsky, program organizer and director of UMC’s Center for Sustainability.

    Discussions have been underway at UMC for the last year to launch a campus garden that would provide produce to be served in campus food service. This might include smaller garden boxes/plots around campus and/or a larger plot. In addition, there has been interest expressed in having garden plots around the Crookston community; perhaps in vacant lots where houses have been removed to make way for flood protection efforts.

    “‘Urban Gardening’ is growing in popularity in cities across the country and there is no reason why we can’t have a version of it on the local scene,” Svedarsky said.

    The next program is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6 and will featured a discussion of  the University of Minnesota – Duluth’s campus garden, presented by Randel Hanson, environmental scientist and garden project leader.

    These programs are complementary to the “Local Foods College” sponsored by Extension beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 21. For more information, contact Svedarsky at 281-8129 or