Inver Hills Community Garden & Orchard Spring 2021

Building a stronger community

The Inver Hills Community Garden & Orchard is an interdisciplinary, cooperative effort that engages Inver Hills Community College students, staff and faculty along with members of area communities. The Inver Garden encompasses a 1-acre communal garden, 38 individual plots, an apple orchard and a 50-seat outdoor classroom for classes, meetings, visiting speakers and concerts. Everything is located behind (west of) Heritage Hall and the Business building on the college’s campus in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

Inver Garden grounds are pesticide free. While not completely organic, Inver Garden supports organic and sustainable gardening practices. Produce from the communal garden and orchard is donated to food shelves and nonprofit organizations.

The Inver Garden Committee welcomes campus and area community members to volunteer in the community area to help grow fresh produce for local food shelves.

The Inver Garden will be a stop the new Native Trail proposed by The Bee’s Knees Committee in collaboration with the American Indian Advisory Council at Inver Hills and Dakota County Technical College. Flower beds in the communal garden include perennials and native plants favored by pollinators. Opening day for the Inver Garden is Friday, May 7, 2021. Events are in the works for Climate Week on campus (week of May 17, 2021) and Earth Day 2021 (April 22).

Inver’s Leucistic Red-Tailed Hawk: Unofficial mascot of the Inver Garden

Inver Garden Opening Day

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Inver Garden: Conservation Principles for Soil Management

Kristin Digiulio, biology faculty at the college, reported that the Inver Garden is incorporating conservation principles crucial for proper soil management. Soil conservation is the single most important sustainability practice. Organic practice may or may not follow these principles.

“These principles, when followed, increase resilience to extreme events—excess water, drought, etc.,” Kristin said. “The practices we’re using in the garden also minimize or eliminate erosion, and sequester carbon. Soil management is one the best tools we have to mitigate climate change.”

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: North Dakota

Five Principles of Soil Health
  1. Soil Armor
  2. Minimizing Soil Disturbance
  3. Plant Diversity
  4. Continual Live Plant/Root
  5. Livestock Integration¹
¹ The Inver Garden doesn’t have grazers, but the garden does benefit from composted goat manure provided by Minnie Pearl and Ethel.
Kristin with Minnie Pearl and Ethel

Scientific American: “How Dirt Could Help Save the Planet”

Credit: J.J. Gouin Getty Images
Farming practices that retain carbon in the soil, or return it there, would limit both erosion and climate change
By Jo Handelsman March 14, 2021

Community participation

The Inver Garden Committee invites all community members to participate in garden activities. Faculty can integrate the garden into their coursework and class projects; student clubs and organizations are welcome to host meetings and events in the garden. Individuals can volunteer in the community area, or apply for a 10’ x 10’ individual plot for the growing season to cultivate fresh food for their own use. Note: Registration is closed for this season.

Whether you seek a quiet place to enjoy the sunshine and smell the flowers, or you want some outdoor exercise and camaraderie, the Inver Garden is open to all!

Learn more about the Inver Garden by contacting:

Ben Dvorak
Garden Manager/Biology CLA

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