Nicollet Market Garden Cooperative forms at 34th & Nicollet

Credit: Devin Hogan at the Nicollet Market Garden Cooperative. Photo by Michelle Bruch

Tomatoes were still ripening in November at a new garden co-op at the northeast corner of 34th & Nicollet, formerly the site of a commercial building that burned in 2008.

Members of the Nicollet Market Garden Cooperative will sell fresh garden produce at a farmstand there next summer, and they have donated food for community meals at Zion Lutheran Church.

The garden is the brainchild of Josh Dibley, who also helped start a garden at 32nd & Garfield. When a few people there expressed interest in communal growing, he kept his eye out for a space to do it. The Lyndale Neighborhood Association connected him with the property owner on Nicollet.

“Barring a sale, we’re okay to grow there,” Dibley said.

Dibley is looking for more gardening sites as well.

“There are a lot of vacant lots like this. … It’s just a good way to activate sites,” said Dibley, who noted that he’s helping with shoveling this winter. “I think it’s an attractive deal to the landowner.”

To avoid any pollutants, the co-op brought in food-grade organic dirt from Farmington and created raised beds over several inches of woodchips. Rainwater from the neighboring property is routed toward a bed growing hostas and other non-edible plants.

Co-op members and Ramen Kazama across the street can bring waste to the garden to compost.

The cost to join the co-op is $20 a share, and there are about nine members so far, with the first general membership meeting slated for early December.

For more information, visit the group’s Nicollet Market Garden Cooperative Facebook page.