Prior to 2020, the garden beds in the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus’s Mayo Terrace flourished with plants and vegetables of all varieties. Due to the onset of the pandemic and the subsequent shift to remote learning, the garden beds fell into a state of neglect, overgrown with weeds and decaying plants from prior years.

Earlier this summer, seven incoming students with the U of M’s BA/MD Joint Admissions Scholars Program, which helps prepare students from underrepresented backgrounds in medicine pursue and succeed in Medical School, began to reclaim the garden in partnership with the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, turning it back into a haven for pollinators, beneficial plant life and even a few vegetables.

The students and this project have had support from several sources:

  • The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, who provided garden beds, new soil, hoses and sprayers, and watering cans
  • U of M LandCare, who contributed mulch and fertilizer
  • U of M Medical School Facilities, who helped provide water access to the space

The garden's plants also came from community sources including donations from campus neighbors, the Ramsey County Master Gardener Plant Sale and from other local growers.

A special garden benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, also secretly planted basil and other vegetables in the garden as well.

Throughout their time weeding, fertilizing, planting, watering, replenishing the soil and mulching, these students have raised and grown flowers, vegetables and their relationships with each other- Relationships that will last throughout their undergraduate educations and beyond.