Growing Good Minnesota

An outreach program of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Hands planting in the garden

Growing Good MN is a teenage work experience program for urban teens. Growing Good uses the garden as a tool to create teenage skills development and opportunities in the following areas:

  • First time job skills
  • Horticulture skills
  • Entrepreneurial skills 
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • College and career exploration 

How It Works

Small work teams of youth with an adult facilitator are presented with a garden based work challenge for their summer employment. Each summer provides a new challenge for the youth workers to build on previous experience and challenge new growth and opportunity. Growing Good Minnesota offers two distinct types of work opportunities: CityFresh Entrepreneurs and Community Youth Leaders.

City Fresh Entrepreneurs grow business skills through garden based work challenges:
  • CityFresh Veggies-grow specialty produce and sell to restaurant chefs.
  • CityFresh New Products- take a garden product idea and bring it to market.
Community Youth Leaders are growing plant knowledge and awareness in the community:
  • Growing Good Pop-up Gardeners: Bring innovative urban garden models and and plant based learning to a variety of non-profit, small business, and institutions serving the inner city.
  • Growing Good Communications: Create and disseminate communication tools and methods to share personal and program impacts.
  • Growing to Lead: Grow leadership skills with practice in the program and the community.

Who's Involved

Between 40 and 50 youth are employed every summer. Supporting their work are a team of adult facilitators and many community partners. Youth are invited to apply through community partner organizations. Growing Good Minnesota relies on a variety of partnerships to support the youth work experience. These partnerships include:

  • Youth Employment Partners: Urban youth serving organizations that recruit, hire, and handle HR for youth workers, and provide garden and meeting space.
  • University of Minnesota: Many departments and programs at the University of Minnesota support and enhance the work experience programs.
  • Community Partners: The non-profits, small businesses, restaurant chefs, and institution professionals who take time to meet and work with Growing Good Teenagers-helping build skills, insights, and relationships for their future.
  • Other urban youth employment and youth garden programs in the Twin Cities:
  • Program Funders: The individuals and foundations that share in the mission and financially support the work. 
  • Contact Arboretum Education for more information on how you or your organization can get involved. [email protected] 612-301-1210.