Project Type: Community Engagement and Site Design
Client: Hennepin County Community Works and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority
In the fall of 2019, LHB was selected to assist Hennepin County Midtown Community Works in close partnership with the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) to develop a plan to turn three vacant lots into an urban farm and community gathering place. Currently owned by Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), the vacant parcels are located between Bloomington Avenue South and 18th Avenue South adjacent to the Midtown Greenway. The parcels will be maintained and operated by NACDI as their Four Sisters Urban Farm which provides opportunities for the neighborhood to engage with the land and to access fresh food.
Engagement of the neighborhood and native people was critical to the success of this project. Before any design began, LHB helped lead an in-person engagement event was held at the site that coincided with Indigenous People’s Day. Over 300 people attended the event that included a blessing ceremony and a land acknowledgment from Hennepin County.
Feedback from the engagement event directly informed three concept designs that focused on connections, education, and creating a framework to support Indigenous farming and medicine. LHB continued to work closely with Hennepin County and NACDI to narrow down the options and finalize a long-term vision for all three parcels.
LHB assisted Hennepin County on prioritizing what could be accomplished with the current budget. The design team assembled and design construction documents for bidding for the critical elements of the short-term plan.
The design team will continue to assist in seeing Phase I through to construction. Hennepin County and NACDI will continue to fundraise together to realize the full future vision for the site. The LHB design team has been honored to work on this wonderful, collaborative project that furthers NACDI’s mission “that all American Indian people have a place, purpose, and a future strengthened by sustainable community development.”
You can read more about this project at https://www.nacdi.org/four-sisters-farm.