Growing in the Twin Cities with Backyard Harvest

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

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.


Stories from the Gardens: The Weavers Grow It for Themselves

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 10:22 am

Anne with her corn & beans patch

When I first met in Anne Weaver in the spring of 2009, she was just starting on her urban homesteading journey. We sat down at her dining room table with gardening books scattered around us. She told me that although she had been doing a lot of reading, she still wasn’t sure where to start. She hoped that having a Backyard Harvest farmer from whom to learn would give her the hands-on help that she needed to get to the next level. And so it was decided that the Weaver family would welcome a new addition – a full service, diverse vegetable garden in their front yard cared for by one of Backyard Harvest’s trained & experienced urban farmers.

Throughout the 2009 growing season, Anne followed along with Farmer Grayce through planting, watering, weeding, pests, harvesting, more planting & more harvesting. She was so diligent in her observation that in 2010, she decided that she had learned enough to grow the garden on her own with occasional help from Grayce. And she was right!

Anne's peppers

Anne’s South Minneapolis yard now includes three garden spaces – two for annual plantings & one for perennials. This summer she has been growing tomatoes, collards, corn, beans, peas & more. She also added perennials like rhubarb, raspberries & strawberries. Her plans for 2011? Anne says she’ll do it again & has learned even more from doing it on her own.

As you probably know by now, Backyard Harvest’s mission is to strengthen the Twin Cities’ urban food system – one yard at a time – by turning lawns into nourishing & healthy landscapes. This food system serves each of us whether we are growing 800 pound of our own vegetables each summer or dining at the cities’ excellent restaurants. Anne & her family are an inspiring example of how to jump in with both feet to be active as both producers AND eaters – learning, growing & savoring along the way.

Anne's corn


Counting Down…. August 25, 2010

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 11:57 am

Read about Anne & her corn & beans patch in the Updates section on our Kickstarter page

You are still invited to support Backyard Harvest through Kickstarter RIGHT NOW! We have only 6 days left with $4500 in pledges still to find. So NOW is the time….

Reasons to Pledge Your Support Now

  1. Fantastic rewards! Choose great stuff like a dinner with our charming, creative staff; garden art; an online garden journal & more.
  2. Our video premier! See & hear the story of Backyard Harvest.
  3. Help city dwellers transform their landscapes into tasty, beautiful & sustainable mini-farms.
  4. Funding is all or nothing. We have to reach our goal of $8,200 to receive any money at all through Kickstarter. Your contribution will be so very appreciated.

To make your pledge, just go to our project page (here: & click on “Back this project”. Any amount over $2 is welcome. Furthermore, all or part of your contribution will be tax deductible.

Spread the word! Links & widgets on our Kickstarter page make it easy to:

  • Post it on your blog
  • Link to it via Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Tumblr (if you’ve already done so, please do so again!)
  • Share it via e-mail

What is Kickstarter, anyway? Kickstarter is a really wonderful web-based funding organization that helps creative projects of all kinds get the money they need to do the cool stuff that they envision. Backers like you pledge an amount to the project. If the total amount requested is reached, your pledge is accepted & the money goes to support the project! Plus, you get a reward if you choose one. If the total is not reached, your money just stays in your bank account.

To those who have already pledged:  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Hope to see you on Kickstarter,



“Rent an Urban Gardener: Local Produce in Your Own Backyard” August 19, 2010

Filed under: News/Updates — Krista Leraas @ 12:51 pm

From’s Hungry for Change blog, the official blog of the movie Food, Inc.:

Farmer Dina Kountoupes harvests veggies for residents of Rivertown Commons, a 140-unit affordable housing complex in St. Paul. (Photo: Sarah Utter)

“Plenty of green thumbs in the world are eager to don Carhartts and gardening gloves and spend an afternoon weeding, planting, and making friends with ladybugs.

But it seems to be a very specific type of person who’s skilled at this hobby, while the rest of us stand by longingly, grocery bags in hand, regretting that we’re not quite sure where our food comes from.

Enter Backyard Harvest, a gardening service in the Twin Cities that serves up food, not flora.” Read more including an interview with Program Coordinator, Krista Leraas…


$5000 & 12 days to go. Pledge your support on


A Featured Garden August 17, 2010

Filed under: Equal access — leaberg @ 4:38 pm

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to visit the Hernandez family garden.  Although the family loves to cook, they had never been successful growing their own food.  Enter, Backyard Harvest!  After hauling in a truck full of compost/soil blend, farmer Dina has turned 100 sq. ft. of grass into a productive growing space, based on the permaculture principles of plant diversity, companion planting and succession.

The family is pleased.  This summer, the kids have watched the garden grow and produce food that they enjoy.  And, Carlos and Amy have been able to incorporate the ultra-fresh food into their family’s diet.  They are hoping that with the knowledge that they’ve gained this season, they’ll be able to continue taking care of the garden themselves in the years to come.

This garden has been made possible through a partnership with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and a generous donation from Backyard Harvest supporter, Michelle K. (featured in photo with Amy Hernandez)