Mn Adult and Teen Challenge Sustainable Garden


Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Workstudy Garden Project



Central Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge

Work Study Sustainable Gardens


Establish a horticulture hands on educational program enhancing MnTC’s faith based addiction treatment and recovery programming.


Educated by Crow Wing County Master Gardeners and other knowledgeable experts and mentors, clients are guided and fully engaged with constructing, planting, managing, harvesting and utilizing the produce they grow in their onsite sustainable garden and orchard. Clients and onsite dining facility management guide what is grown, supplementing fresh fruits and vegetables consumed onsite by the clients.                                                                       

MnTC’s mission is to assist teens and adults in gaining freedom from chemical addictions and other life controlling problems, by addressing their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The sustainable garden is hands-on healing, proven very effective in enhancing a clients critical well-being and recovery. The nurturing, patience tactile interaction and positive accomplishments all aid in the process of overcoming the barriers to healthy living. Gardening enhances the educational and experiential connection between humans and the natural world. Results are measurable through consistent commitment, communication, teamwork, problem solving, responsibility and pride.

MnTC’s Work Study Sustainable Garden 3 year Inaugural Plan:

Year 1- Completed in 2014:

  • Clients have:
  • Installed deer fencing                                                                          
  • Constructed and installed raised and in-ground growing beds
  • Replaced existing construction fill dirt with good soil/compost mix
  • Planted an orchard and native plant pollinator beds.


Year 2- Initiated and ongoing in 2015:

  • Master Gardeners are providing clients weekly onsite basic botany growing and garden care classes tailored to their program. Class sessions are recorded and available to current and new clients via a new client Garden Library for horticultural education


  • MnTC Onsite Deep Winter Greenhouse Plan initiated in cooperation with the U of M, the MN Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, CWC Master Gardeners, Jim Chamberlin Of Happy Dancing Turtle of Pine River, the U of M College of Design and Interns, and other U of M departments.


Year 2 - Spring of 2015:

  • Spring Inaugural planting of client’s sustainable garden: Fruits, culinary herbs and vegetables.
  • Central MnTC plans to break ground constructing an addition to the campus building. New facilities to include 20 new beds to add a short-term licensed residential treatment program. In total, the Central MnTC will have the capacity to house 83 clients in their facility.
  • The design phase of an onsite greenhouse potentially attached to the new maintenance and woodworking shop greatly increasing educational and garden production potential while adding additional job skill enhancements for the clients.
  • June 1st, 2015: CWC Extension Committee meeting and tour of client gardens at Central MnTC.
  • June, 2015, Client & Family Garden Planting Day. 
  • June, 2015 MnTC Garden Spring Public Open House.
  • Excess produce donated to families struggling to afford healthy eating choices.


Year 2- Summer of 2015, Installation of Perennial Nursery Garden.

  • CWC Master Gardeners educate Clients in various propagation methods of flowers, ornamental grasses. Divisions from perennial nursery plants will be sold at MNTC Plant Sales bi-yearly as sustainable garden fundraising events.


Year 2- Fall 2015:

  • Onsite canning, preserving, and jelly/jam making educational program to enhance client education and skills. Excess produce and preserves donated to families struggling to afford healthy eating choices.


Year 3- Fall and Winter 2016 and early 2017:

  • Onsite fruit tree and ornamental trees Grafting Propagation Program to increase client education and skill levels. Grafted stock provides a wider variety of nursery items to sell at MnTC plant sales, increasing fundraising for their sustainable gardens.

Partners/Donors/Granters to date:

  • Central Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge clients and staff, Crow Wing County Master Gardeners, CWC Extension, U of M CRSDP, Crow Wing Power Community Trust, Gesner-Johnson Family Foundation, Navillus Land Co, Landsburg Landscape Nursery, Hengals Ready Mix & Construction, Menards, Dan Lueken, Ken Lueken.


MnTC Programming Information:

  • Central Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge

2424 Business Hwy 371

Brainerd, MN 56401