Valley Natural Foods
Co-op Community Gardens
As part of our mission to support F.R.E.S.H. values, Valley Natural Foods created the Community Gardens in 2011. Our organic garden plots are available for rent each year on a first-come, first-served basis to both owners and non-owners, with priority given to existing rentals.
Our gardens on the south side of the building serve as our natural classroom, where you can find native plants that help promote pollination, edible herbs and leaves that can contribute to health and wellness, and a place to meditate, relax, and enjoy a pergola made of local reclaimed wood. Educational classes and group sessions are offered to provide information about the plants we feature.
The purpose of the Teaching Garden at Valley Natural Foods is to provide our community a calm, natural place to relax, while also showcasing plants and growing methods that are beneficial to humans and the environment.
In our Teaching Garden you will find native plants that attract pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds, various herbs that can be brewed into tea or processed into oils or supplements, and other plants that have healing or health properties.
Our natural classroom is also a great venue for instruction, whether it’s a class on natural herbal supplements, or a field trip for children to catch insects or learn where food comes from.
TheTeaching Garden is also a perfect spot to rest and rejuvenate. In 2016, member-owner Tom Kackmann donated and assembled a pergola made from reclaimed wood and materials from the local area, complete with a seating bench and a birdhouse.
Our cooking classes are your educational resource for healthy meal planning. Learn how to use more fresh foods in your meals, cook gluten-free, add pizazz to your holiday dishes and get your kids involved in the process too. Our instructors will teach you the skills and techniques you need to feel more comfortable and confident in the kitchen.
Let our co-op’s wellness expert, Eileen Johnson, RN, CCN, get you started on your journey toward healthier lifestyle choices! Eileen offers free 30-minute one-on-one sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings to discuss your goals for nutrition, exercise and stress management. She will guide you toward making healthier choices through tools, resources and her many years of experience and knowledge. Eileen has a passion for helping others live well and she looks forward to helping you.
Our employees and member-owners have not forgotten our roots of volunteerism either. Volunteerism built our co-op, with hands and feet willingly taking steps to give and shape the path toward healthy food choices for others. Our employees and members continue to volunteer and give back in their community today. Valley Natural Foods’ sponsored volunteer events with non-profits in our community, pave the way for continuing to engage our members in our roots.
It all begins in the classroom. Since 2006, Midwest Food Connection has received financial support from Valley Natural Foods to bring their curriculum and instructors into Apple Valley, Burnsville and Eagan elementary school classrooms. These instructors provide fall, winter and spring series focusing on locally grown food, cooking with Minnesota’s local harvest, learning about gifts from other cultures and urban farming. The series culminates in the spring with students visiting Valley Natural Foods for planting activities in the co-op’s teaching garden space. Because of Valley Natural Foods’ support, Midwest Food Connection also teaches classes at International Outreach Church in Burnsville, utilizing Woodhill Urban Agriculture’s community garden space on the church’s property for learning activities.