Growing in the Twin Cities with Backyard Harvest

Building a sustainable (and delicious) urban food system – one yard at a time

Farewell February 8, 2011

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 5:32 pm

After two incredibly successful seasons, the Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate is saying farewell to Backyard Harvest. Although Backyard Harvest is no more, PRI will continue to support urban farmers through our Urban Farming Certification Program. We are also extremely excited that Backyard Harvest Program Coordinator, Krista Leraas, and Urban Farmer, Dina Kountoupes, will continue to do backyard farming and permaculture work as Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers. PRI will partner with them this summer to continue supplying fresh vegetables to food shelves and to offer hands-on training for urban farmers.

Deep gratitude to everyone who helped to make this program a success whether you donated a few dollars, volunteered to flyer or care for a food shelf garden, or played a cheerleader role! We couldn’t have done it without you.


Your garden – not just for eating anymore! January 19, 2011

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 9:41 pm

Friend, fellow permaculturist & all-around awesome guy Dave Boehnlein recently penned (pixeled?) a great article for Urban Farm Hub. In it, he points out a myriad of ways that your garden or urban farm could be producing a yield – well beyond the familiar foodstuffs. Curious? Check it out:

Urban Agriculture: Beyond Your Stomach by Dave Boehnlein


2010 Reflections December 22, 2010

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 12:05 am

Wow, what a year! The gardens were bountiful thanks to good planning, great weather and deft farmers.

a midsummer harvest at Rivertown Commons

Our unique partnership with the Cornerstone Group met with great success at their new urban farm at the Rivertown Commons housing complex in St. Paul. Over 460 pounds of produce was made available to residents at weekly vegetable distributions. Residents and managers were so pleased with the project that they are already moving to institutionalize it by hiring a staff farmer! Backyard Harvest will continue to assist them on their urban agriculture journey.

Homeless youth and neighbors with HIV/AIDS also benefited from the abundance. Over 160 pounds of fresh veggies and herbs was donated to the hot meal programs at The Aliveness Project and a homeless youth shelter. Youth Farm and Market Project kids chipped in at a garden dedicated entirely to food donations at the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association offices. A grant from the Seward Co-op Community Fund will support this continuing work next season!

Collaborations were also started with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Frogtown Gardens and the Macalester-Groveland Community Council.

And let us not forget about garlic! Everyone’s favorite flavoring made its debut appearance in our gardens this year. Yum!

Big thanks to our awesome staff including our fantastic farmers – Dina Kountoupes, Andrew Montain, Anders Gurda and Stefan Meyer – who once again inspired and enlightened clients with their plant and soil passions. Lea Berg put her heart into forging what we hope will be long-term relationships focused on getting more fresh food into the hands of those with little access to it. Krista Leraas and Paula Westmoreland (along with Stefan) have continued to provide steadfast leadership.

We hope that this December finds you safe, warm and enjoying the holidays!

Back (l-r): Stefan Meyer, Krista Leraas, Anders Gurda, Paula Westmoreland; Front (l-r): Lea Berg, Dina Kountoupes, Andrew Montain


American Farm Bureau Federation takes an interest October 5, 2010

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 12:54 pm

Backyard Harvest gardenBackyard Harvest is featured on the front page of Foodie News, a food trend newsletter of the nation’s largest farm organization. The American Farm Bureau Federation has been following sustainable & urban agriculture for some time. Foodie News features several articles about these cresting movements. Read the article about Backyard Harvest & our Northwest colleagues, Your Backyard Farmer, in the October issue.


One Growing Season’s End is Another’s Beginning September 8, 2010

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 11:59 pm

Sign up now for a 2011 Backyard Harvest garden

We can help you transform your landscape into a tasty, sustainable and beautiful mini-farm!

Backyard Harvest’s urban farmers have both the expertise and time to grow a beautiful, nourishing and abundant garden for you and your family. A Backyard Harvest garden allows you to be a part of the food you eat and to really know your farmer!

Farmer Dina harvesting

We offer a variety of services and options to the Twin Cities including 3 full service garden designs, 5 specialty food gardens and garden coaching. A Backyard Harvest garden is a unique package that includes the garden design, installation, watering system, personal urban farmer for the growing season, weekly harvest at your door, e-newsletter, garden journal and more!

New features and options in 2011 include starter veggie gardens, salsa gardens and season extension. Full Service Gardens now available in all of Minneapolis; Frogtown, Mac-Groveland and Highland in St. Paul; and Morningside in Edina.

Discounts for fall installations  –  For more information visit our website

Learn more and schedule a free consultation today! E-mail Krista

One of this year's potato bins


Kickstarter Success!

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 11:09 pm


We did it!! Thanks to the generosity of backers & promoters we made our $8,200 goal on Kickstarter. It was an exciting last minute dash to the finish line. Lots of gratitude to the 109 backers who pledged (& in some cases raised their original pledge) to help us reach our goal. The money has now been transferred to our bank account & we can start utilizing it in strengthening our urban farming & permaculture programming. If you missed your chance to support us via Kickstarter & would like to donate, please visit to make a secure, online, tax-deductible contribution!


Growing a sustainable food system takes teamwork…. August 31, 2010

Filed under: Events,News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 10:33 am

Just 12 little hours left to throw your support behind Backyard Harvest’s Kickstarter campaign! By supporting us, you can help city dwellers transform their landscapes into tasty, beautiful & sustainable mini-farms while simultaneously transforming our relationships to food & farmers. Goodness.

If nothing else, visit the site to watch our lovely little video.

Once again, lots of gratitude to those who have already pledged their support! If you are “waiting to see how close we get”, wait no more! All of those who are “waiting” can make a big difference in whether we meet our goal or not.