Metro Blooms partners with communities to create resilient landscapes and foster clean watersheds, embracing the values of equity and inclusion to solve environmental challenges.
Engage communities to create resilient landscapes.
At Metro Blooms, we work to create the conditions for all of a community’s members to be meaningfully involved in environmental improvement projects protecting clean water and habitat. We carry out our work using principles of equitable engagement and environmental justice so that those most impacted have the opportunity to take part in the decision-making. We intentionally reach out in underserved communities that include – but are not limited to – people of color, lower-income neighborhoods and affordable housing communities.
Our Roots, Our Work
Metro Blooms grew out of a volunteer-powered garden recognition program, the Minneapolis Garden Awards. Between 1983 and 2016, hundreds of trained volunteer evaluators visited thousands of gardens, every year recognizing and celebrating excellence, and inspiring a proud culture of gardening in the city. We were originally called Blooming Boulevards, then Minneapolis Blooms, and, finally, in 2007 became Metro Blooms.
Meanwhile, in 2005, we formed partnerships with several cities and watershed districts to take the lead on engaging the gardening community to be active stewards of our water resources. We developed an innovative series of raingarden workshops to promote practices to capture stormwater, preventing polluted runoff from entering nearby lakes and streams. Today we offer annual workshops for do-it-yourselfers that offer sustainable practices to create resilient yards.
In 2009, Metro Blooms began work on our first Neighborhood of Raingardens projects in the Cleveland, Victory and Powderhorn neighborhoods of Minneapolis. Since 2009, we have installed more than 1,100 raingardens in Minneapolis and beyond, working hand-in-hand with many partners that include cities, neighborhoods, and many volunteer groups.
In May 2015, Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water® became a Metro Blooms program. A public-private partnership that promotes native plants, raingardens, and shoreline stabilizations to reduce runoff and improve water quality, Blue Thumb is managed by Metro Blooms through a license agreement with the Rice Creek Watershed District. Blue Thumb manages the application process for individuals for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Lawns to Legumes program providing grants and other support to Minnesota residents to plant for pollinators in their yards.
We are committed to environmental justice and equitable engagement. In our Boulevards Bioswales program, we engage with residents in North Minneapolis to reshape and replant their boulevards with raingardens that attract pollinators. We also work with affordable housing communities on participatory redesign projects to create more resilient landscapes, engaging residents in the decision-making on stormwater practices and livability in their outdoor spaces.
We offer Sustainable Landcare Training to teach employable skills in maintaining raingardens and other best management practices in stormwater. This training provides pathways to job opportunities in the green economy.