Thursday, June 22nd

Garden-In-A-Box Program

 SandburgGIABwith photoreleases

Helping Families in Need
"Grow Their Own"

See below for 2017 Application information

What is Garden-in-a-Box?

The Garden-in-a-Box program provides an opportunity for children and families in need to experience the benefits of gardening: affordable healthy food, outdoor activity; education and community building. It gives childcare providers, community program coordinators and teachers the chance to incorporate hands-on learning experiences into their programs. 

Started in 2008, Garden-in-a-Box was created by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society to provide a gardening opportunity for children and families in need in the metro area. This year we are partnering with organizations in the Twin Cities metro area along with outstate organizations in Northern, Central, and Southeastern Minnesota. Partnering organizations can be nonprofit and community organizations, childcare centers, community centers, schools, and in some cases, family homes. 

What is provided to program participants?
Partnering organizations will receive free garden kits for growing vegetables to distribute among their program participants starting in May. All the materials needed to start a small space container garden will be donated at no cost to the participants:

  1. 3’ x 3’ polypropylene box from Victory 8 Gardens. The box is 11.5" deep.
  2. Enough soil from CreekSide Soils to fill the box (10 cubic feet).
  3. Natural fertilizer from Sustane.
  4. A selection of vegetable plants from Wagners Greenhouses suited for small space garden.
  5. Seeds from Lake Valley Seed and Egg/Plant Urban Farm Supply.

You also receive educational support on gardening and cooking, youth-friendly gardening materials, and access to expert gardeners. Once accepted into the program, you are eligible to receive plants, material, and support for three growing seasons assuming you complete all requirements.

How is the program funded?

Garden-in-a-Box is funded through a variety of grants, donations from the community and MSHS members, affiliated garden clubs and plant and horticultural societies, as well as partnerships with local businesses. With these generous donations, we are able to provide boxes to interested families and provide education throughout the growing season. For a list of our partners and funders, scroll to the bottom of the page.



The Minnesota State Horticultural Society 2017 Garden-in-a-Box program is close to capacity. All applications will be wait-listed. Turnover is common so we still invite your organization to apply and partner with us this upcoming growing season!

Learn more about being a partner organization by clicking the below links:

If you are interested in participating in our Garden-in-a-Box program, please click the link below to access and submit our online application form.

Apply online by clicking the link  2017 Garden-in-a-Box Program Application (for waitlist)

Download a PDF of the online application by clicking the link  2017 Garden-in-a-Box Program Application PDF (for waitlist)

Garden Box kits will be donated based on availability.  We will send you confirmation of your acceptance into the program and let you know how many kits you are eligible to receive.

Applications will be accepted and approved on a rolling basis until April 21st, 2017.

For more information, contact Sam Johnson at giab@northerngardener.org or call 651-643-3601.


MSHS Spotlight - Bemidji Community Food Shelf FARM

Bemidji Spotlight Photo

In 2013 the Bemidji Community Food Shelf (BCFS) needed more fresh fruits and vegetables for their clients so they took matters into their own hands. In collaboration with community partners they started their very own farm with three goals:

  1. Provide high quality fresh produce for Food Shelf clients and their families;
  2. Teach sustainable gardening skills to Food Shelf families;
  3. Provide community members the chance to contribute their time and talents.

In its first year, the farm produced 5,500 pounds of beautiful homegrown produce!

However, obstacles kept them from fulfilling their other goals. Transportation and time barriers kept clients from learning gardening skills or contributing their talents at the FARM. So in collaboration with the UMN Extension SNAP-Ed program, BCFS reached out to MSHS and applied to be a part of the Garden-in-a-Box program. What has sprouted since is remarkable!

In 2015 ten boxes from GIAB doubled ten boxes built by BCFS going to low-income housing complexes. This enabled 20 families using the Food Shelf to garden in their own backyards! The boxes were so popular that in 2016 BCFS purchased ten more from MSHS to expand the program. This past growing season 25 boxes gave 81 people (54 of them youth) opportunity to grow their own food.

“She loves to plant and also loves to eat fresh veggies right out of the garden,” professed Lin James, the program’s garden coordinator about one enthusiastic participant. “Kids love Planting Day!” The program uses the veggies in cooking classes taught by UMN Extensions Snap-Ed Educator, Deb Dilley, to demonstrate healthy eating and self-sufficiency. All involved look forward to 2017!

--Sam Johnson


Thanks to the following partners: 

creeksidelogo_bg            Farmer-Logo-Hi-Res-web           logo 

   sustanenaturalfert-3colorLogoA-web       Wagners-web


2016 Program Funded in Part by:

cargilllogo  gannettfoundation h  yumPower STACKED 4c  SPGClogo web 


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