Local nonprofit Giving Gardens is announcing its most recent move in applying for and being granted fiscal sponsorship by the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation (GWBLCF), an organization aimed at inspiring philanthropy in communities that share the shores of White Bear Lake.

Giving Gardens founder Chris Harms described this development as “a really big step in building our future as a movement and organization, while at the same time aligning ourselves with really great people who share our values of community building.”

In welcoming Giving Gardens to the foundation’s family of funds, Chairman Bill Foussard said the Foundation is “pleased to have the opportunity to be the fiscal sponsor for Giving Gardens, an important project for our community.” 

Contributors can now make tax-exempt donations to Giving Gardens by donating online or by check made out to GWBLCF with Giving Gardens Fund in the memo line. 

Giving Gardens began its operations in Spring 2017 by offering 50 raised-bed gardens at no cost to community members who wished to adopt them. 

Garden beds included the structure, dirt, compost, seed and/or started plants to start growing produce. 

“The idea was to eliminate any and all barriers to someone wanting to get involved and adopt a garden bed to grow produce for the community, and even their own table,” Harms said of the basic philosophy behind the project. Giving Gardens then expects its growers to donate a majority (51 percent or more) of the produce harvested to a local food shelf or partnered community service program. 

Harms’ idea seems to be working. To date, the growers of Giving Gardens have donated a total of 500 pounds of produce to the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf, and 150 pounds to the White Bear Lake Senior Program. 

Due to popular demand, Giving Gardens is announcing that 100 more 4-by-8-foot raised-bed gardens will be available for the community to adopt this fall for the 2018 growing season. Giving Gardens will be delivering and installing the raised bed structure, dirt and compost to those adopting over the weekend of Oct. 28-29. Another followup delivery will be made in late April/Early May with the seeds and/or started plants to round out the all inclusive, free, garden bed package. 


Harms said there are plenty of opportunities for community members to get involved with the nonprofit. Not only can someone adopt a garden bed, but they can be a sponsor if gardening isn’t their thing. He’s hoping sponsors will contribute $100 towards a raised garden bed.

Organic vegetables on a stand at a farmers market with a sign reading locally grown


“This is a great opportunity for businesses, organizations, clubs, churches and individuals to grow their philanthropic footprint in a highly impactful way,” Harms said. “Give the gift of growing by providing all of the materials needed for a complete garden bed.”

Donations of any amount are welcome and deeply appreciated. Donations can be made online through givinggardensmn.org, or by check/cash mailed to the Greater White Bear Lake Community Foundation, P.O. Box 10626, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. If writing a check, please write “Giving Gardens Fund” on the memo line.

Volunteers are welcome. There is a need specifically associated with the fall garden bed delivery launch, taking place Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sunday, Oct. 29. Interested groups or parties can contact Giving Gardens on the volunteer section of givinggardensmn.org or simply email givinggardensmn@gmail.com.