Support the creation of an ecological park and the nation’s largest food forest at Lake Hiawatha.
Imagine a much cleaner Lake Hiawatha and a wetland teeming with life: fish, frogs, turtles, wild rice and many bird species. It is surrounded by a large park where almost everything is edible. Mixed-use trails meander past trees heavy with apples, pears, plums and cherries. Families enjoy blueberries, raspberries and hazelnuts while overlooking a playing field. Herb gardens, salad greens and wildflowers connect to art installations celebrating cultures and histories. Grape vines shade picnic tables while sunflowers stand proud next to play grounds. This is a park to inspire the soul, nourish the people and heal the land.
The Hiawatha Ecological Park and Food Forest would:
- Improve food security and healthy food access – an open harvest policy would welcome everyone to harvest what they need. Community partnerships could ensure excess food goes to those who need it most.
- Offer a tremendous educational opportunity for all city residents to learn about and participate in food production and ecosystem restoration.
- Incorporate extensive public input into the design and maintenance with a specific focus on racial equity and access.
- Include cleaning up Lake Hiawatha and rehabilitating the natural wetland formerly adjacent to it.
- Contribute to the city’s Climate Action Plan in numerous ways.
- Put Minneapolis on the map as the largest urban food forest in the country.
Lake Hiawatha once included a wetland. It was drained to make way for the 140-acre Hiawatha Golf Course which is part of the Minneapolis public parks system. But the land still wants to be a wetland - 272 million gallons of groundwater are pumped out annually. Yet the pumps couldn't keep the course from flooding in 2014. Half the golf course is still closed due to the flood damage. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) recently found out that the amount of pumping exceeds their DNR permit by seven times. The MPRB has commissioned a study to better understand the hydrology of the area. The MPRB will soon discuss the findings at a public meeting and may consider alternate proposals for the use of this land.
Together we can voice our concern about how such a large piece of public park land is being used. The MPRB Commissioners are elected officials - it is our hope that they will consider a greater vision around what this golf course land can become. Will you support the creation of a food forest and ecological park around Lake Hiawatha?
If so, sign the petition and grow this idea.