The Rice Street Gardens are now seven years old. The founders, the garden team, and most of all, the gardeners are hoping the garden continues for generations to come. This community, multi-city, and church (Galilee Lutheran) effort today serves 260 gardeners, 70% of them immigrants and many from Nepal and Myanmar. The gardeners speak a dozen first languages in their homes!

These gardeners are not only gardening to provide food for their families (and extended family and neighbors) but are eating healthy and familiar food. They are, at the same time, building a new community — something not as easily done when one is an immigrant to a new country and a new way of life.

As someone who has visited the gardens and watched them grow, it is always a treat to see people tending the earth in new ways. I have seen many, many plants that were totally unfamiliar to me. I have been offered produce from people with a smile rather than spoken language. I’ve watched gardeners share tools, help with keeping the water tanks filled, and share produce and meals with each other.

The 2.5 acres of the Rice Street Gardens (located at 1958 Rice Street, Maplewood) are part of a 13-acre parcel owned by the Saint Paul Regional Water Services. The owners would like to sell the entire piece. Rice Street Gardens are trying to raise $1 million dollars to buy the land to preserve the gardens forever. More than a third of the money has been raised but the need is great. Gifts of any size are welcome and appreciated and will be matched up to $50,000. Gifts are tax deductible. You can help by sending a check to: Rice Street Gardens – Preservation Fund, Galilee Lutheran Church, 145 McCarrons Blvd. Roseville, MN 55113.

This is a wonderful opportunity to feed a hunger — a hunger for nutritious food as well as a hunger for a way to support a family, build relationships, and learn to be part of a new community in a new country. Stop for a visit as the growing season begins; join in the Summer Garden Party on August 5, 2023 from noon to 4 p.m. There will be music, food, a cultural fashion show and more!

You will quickly understand that hunger is more than simply a food need. Learn more at

Vernita Kennen

Incarnation, Shoreview

P.S. Click here to watch a KSTP-TV story on Rice Street Gardens from February!