Nordic Ware's Community Garden and Honey Bee Hives
NOTE: Our community garden plots are lying fallow this year due to the light rail construction along our southern lot line. The honey bees colonies are still in place and thriving. We’re excited for the completion of the construction so we can get back to our gardens!
Several years ago the Nordic Ware Community Garden Project was launched in the back yard of our corporate offices and manufacturing facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What began as a simple idea to encourage people to eat more vegetables and get outdoors a bit during the workday soon grew into a much larger opportunity: a chance to give back to the community! Situated on a prime south-facing plot of land next to our shipping and distribution building, and simplistic in its design, the Garden Project featured 28 plots measuring 8’x4′, a cedar shed to house our seeds and tools, a compost pile, and fencing to discourage visits from the bunnies, chipmunks and gophers who love to feast on our vegetables.
What we offer to all of our employees is simple: Nordic Ware will provide a plot plus all materials, seedlings, seeds and necessary tools to grow a healthy garden. In exchange, each participating employee agrees to practice 100% organic gardening throughout the growing season (no pesticides or man-made fertilizers!) as well as donate at least 10% of their weekly harvest to our local food shelf. The remainder can be taken home to be enjoyed with family.
In recent years, our hometowns of Minneapolis-St.Paul have had a renewed interest in the Buy Local movement, especially as it pertains to locally-grown produce. Farmer’s markets and produce stands have sprouted up all across town, and many restaurants are growing their own greens on rooftops and in vacant parking lots. Consumers are starting to take notice of where their fruit and vegetables were grown because they now understand the sustainability implications that buying or growing local can have.
In our own way, we’re trying to use our Community Garden Project as an educational tool to further the Buy Green, Buy Local movement. Each summer, our Factory Store hosts a cooking class for the public that includes a trip through our gardens to harvest vegetables and herbs for the host chef to use. We maintain a bi-weekly vegetarian lunch in our offices where we utilize what we’re harvesting to make a healthy meal for everyone to enjoy.
At the end of our growing season, our garden participants gather to share a meal created from what we’ve harvested over the summer. This Harvest Dinner is a great time to share learnings from the garden, as well as recipes.
In 2016 we added honey bees to the to the Nordic Ware Community Garden. Our honey bees pollinate the garden and the native plants that grow within a two-mile radius. The bees are maintained with the help of the University of Minnesota’s Bee Squad. This group works with the nationally acclaimed Bee Lab on the university’s St. Paul campus, where research is taking place to help bees make a comeback. The bees are able to weather our Minnesota winters and provide us with 50+ pounds of delicious honey each autumn. Read more about these amazing creatures and our honey production here!
If you happen to be biking or walking along the Greenway Trail in the future, stop by and pay us a visit! We’d love to show you around.