This farm team has been converting vacant plenties to tiny farm plots all over Minneapolis since 2011.

If you ever find yourself strolling through the heart of Minneapolis, keep an eye out for something unusual: a farm.

What a working farm plot in the middle of a city? Yep.

16 different farm plots, to be exact, across MinneapolisSt. Paul.

They look like this:

A Stone’s Throw lot in the Twin Cities. Image by Carina Lofgren Photography.

Since 2011, Stone’s Throw Urban Farm has been busy morphing vacant plenties in the Twin Cities into farms that give back to local communities.

“[ Our lots] range in size from 0.11 acres to 0.5 acres, ” farm employee Caroline Devany explained to Upworthy. “Most … were formerly residential spaces, but several have had less conventional past utilizes, such as a bowling alley parking lot and[ a] funeral home.”

Houses, a bowling alley, a funeral home, all converted into small fields that make a wide various different forms of harvests: tomatoes, squash, peppers, onions, eggplant, greens, herbs, carrots, beets … the listing goes on.

A straight-up RAINBOW of veggies. Image courtesy of Stone’s Throw Urban Farm.

So, tell me again why we don’t simply convert all our unused urban space into farmland?

Farming in the city is a bit out of the ordinary, so it understandably comes with a unique choose of challenges.

Though a bowling alley may sound like a cool place to grow onions( or kale, or oregano ), the clay quality of vacant lots is another issue exclusively. Many of the plots used by Stone’s Throw have clay that requires careful attention and added nutrients.

Stone’s Throw utilizes garbage from local breweries to render compost that can help bring depleted clay back to life.

But being “part of, and accountable to, multiple communities, ” as Caroline explains, provides the farm with many a chance for unique solutions to match those challenges.

For instance, Stone’s Throw lately began employing garbage from local breweries to stimulate compost that can help bring that exhausted soil back to life. Old beer to veggie compost !? Yes, please.


As a visible part of so many different communities, Stone’s Throw tries its best to be a good neighbor and it has many neighbours. The farm offers a sliding scale, EBT-accessible marketplace stand and hosts volunteer and ability share opportunities for the community.

They also partner with rural farms outside the city( who lack the urban advantage of visibility) in a cooperative called Shared Ground.

Of course, this uncommon land use doesn’t come without its naysayers.

The aftermath of the 2009 foreclosure crisis allowed space for new ideas about best applies for land. Areas that has hitherto housed commercial businesses were abruptly available for new, creative utilizes. That’s what allowed Stone’s Throw Urban farm to get up and running with so many vacant lots, the city was open to using some of them for farming.

But Caroline explains that “as the market retrieves, people are interested in ensure constructed development.” Store. Office. Housing growths. “Traditional” urban land uses.

An aerial view of one plot in St. Paul. Image via Google Maps.

As a outcome, sustainable land access is one of the biggest challenges faced by Stone’s Throw. In fact, the farm’s future may depend on their ability “to better articulate the ways that urban agriculture is a form of developing with many benefits to urban residents.”

But the Stone’s Throw squad is determined and optimistic.

And they’re not about to let the challenges of urban farming get in their road.

What’s more, they’re noticing changes in the way the community and policymakers talk about issues of food and growth. And that gives me hope.

It’s not easy to cultivate healthy and only communities, but a little grit and diligence can go a long way. A fondness for weeding likely doesn’t hurt either.

Image by Carina Lofgren Photography.

Read more:

About the Author

Leave a Comment: