Urban Organic Gardening
Mother Earth Gardens has locations in South and Northeast Minneapolis. Photo by Stepheni Hubert
Mother Earth Gardens brings much-needed greenery to Minneapolis urbanites.
Minneapolis is truly a city unlike any other. Sure, it has its skyscrapers and dense city streets, but its lush bounty of parks and community gardens makes for a natural oasis right smack dab in one of the Midwest’s largest metros. Taking a stroll through Minneapolis is like following a map from park to park, garden to garden. Thanks to Mother Earth Gardens—with locations in South and Northeast Minneapolis—local urbanites can take the greenery home with them.
“We strive to provide customers with beautiful plants and products that have been grown, produced, and delivered in a sustainable manner,” says Karen O’Connor, co-owner of Mother Earth Gardens. “Some key words in our buying and decision-making process are: organic, native, sustainable, local, family, and independently and cooperatively owned.”
Mother Earth Gardens was founded in the 1990s by a pair of Twin Cities sisters, and the current owners—and close friends—Paige Pelini and Karen O’Connor bought the business in 2007. The plants and products, though fluctuating with the season, are consistently sustainable, organic, and—of course—beautiful.
“In the spring and early summer, we sell an incredible amount of outdoor plants: annuals, perennials, natives, vegetables, fruit, trees, and shrubs. And we sell all the accessories one would need to support organic gardening at their home, such as soil, manure, compost, fertilizer, amendments, and tools. We also have a large selection of unique pottery in a wide range of sizes,” says O’Connor. “In the fall, we have a huge selection of locally grown organic pumpkins for carving and pie. In the winter, we sell chemical-free Christmas trees from a family farm in Wisconsin, boughs and greens; specialty floral for DIY winter decor; and fresh, handmade wreaths, winter containers, swags, and garland.”
In addition to its seasonal offerings, Mother Earth Gardens has a wide selection of houseplants, houseplant accessories (pots, soil, fertilizers), and gift items like home decor, bath and body products, cards, and more all year-round. As if the list wasn’t long enough already, Mother Earth Gardens offers a variety of services, including classes and workshops both onsite and in the community at partner locations, and garden coaching, maintenance, and customer container work.
With a focus on organic gardening, Mother Earth Gardens lives its philosophy every day, which is to strive to provide beautiful plants and products that have been grown, produced, and delivered sustainably. Though, they admit, they sometimes struggle with this mission—especially when it comes to their gift offerings—they strive to mix in as many responsibly produced products as they can.
During a time like the current coronavirus pandemic, staff of Mother Earth Gardens have had to act quickly to ensure that customers’ needs are met while also following social distancing guidelines. With the recent change to Minnesota’s stay-at-home order, allowing garden centers to reopen, Mother Earth Gardens is preparing to welcome shoppers while keeping them safe.
“Mother Earth Gardens is no longer offering a curbside pick-up option, but we do have a volunteer-based delivery service in the works to serve our most vulnerable population (70-plus, and/or immunocompromised) and frontline workers,” O’Connor says.
The protocols Mother Earth Gardens has implemented at its stores in accordance with the CDC and Department of Agriculture guidelines to provide everyone with a safe shopping experience are:
- Limiting the number of people on the lot/in the store at a time in order for those shopping to be able to maintain the recommended social distance of six feet from others. This means there may be a wait at the gate to get into the store.
- Conducting contactless credit transactions and not accepting cash (though they are accepting gift cards).
- Sanitizing carts after every use.
- Arranging the lots and stores to help guide one-way flow and maximize a distance between shoppers and asking customers to obey directional signage.
- Asking shoppers to:
- Utilize the “one shopper to a cart” practice, which means not bringing the whole family.
- Wear a mask when they come to shop. All staff will be wearing them as well.
- Bring their own hand sanitizer. Mother Earth Gardens’ supplies are limited and needed for staff members.
- Leave dogs at home (this, O’Connor notes, makes the Mother Earth Gardens team especially sad!).
For more information about Mother Earth Gardens, visit motherearthgarden.com.