CLUES Community Garden

My name is Pedro A. Bayón – allow me to introduce you to Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio aka CLUES. CLUES is changing lives and transforming latino communities across state of Minneosta. Latinos make up 5.5% of Minnesotans, yet 21% of Latinos are living below the poverty level, compared to 10% of all Minnesotans. Limited access to education, healthcare disparities, language barriers, and economic inequality all create a cycle of disempowerment, perpetuating inequities and limiting opportunities for growth for Latino individuals and families across our state.

At CLUES, they believe that every person deserves the opportunity to thrive, and envision a society where all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances, can unlock their potential and contribute to the greater good. Youth Farm is proud to be able to support this visionary work by providing free starts for their community gardening program.

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I spoke w/ Community Garden and Engagement Coordinator, Kelli Cook, about CLUES’ impact on the health and wellbeing surrounding Latino communities in the Twin Cities. “In the community health department [of CLUES] we have MNSure, food shelves, health screenings, and the garden, too.”

CLUES community gardener, watering plants (2021)

CLUES began in 1981 as a grassroots movement, driven by a collective desire to uplift underserved communities. Over the years, the organization has expanded their reach and support, and continues to grow and reach new heights. CLUES recognizes that diverse communities bring immense strength and resilience to our society, and they aim to break down barriers and unlock the potential within each individual. Their Community Garden is one space where this work takes place.

The Community Garden, located next to CLUES’ headquarters in East St. Paul, is a gathering space for the community to connect. “Community is everything,” says Kelli, “if we’re not united then there’s no power in that at all. It’s so empowering to be a part of community.”

“It just feels like a big family [in the garden]. Everybody is just happy to be together and connect with each other. That’s definitely my favorite part. It’s when relationships form and blossom, seeing kids run around, and people harvesting and enjoying the space together.”

CLUES Community Garden

At Youth Farm, we know that community gardens are not only a place to access nutritious food and gain skills, they’re a place to connect with the community and work together to create lasting change.

“It means everything to be able to provide these programs to folks and be able to gather and share, think about the future and how we want that to look.”
This year, Youth Farm’s plant starts will make up over half the plants the CLUES Community Garden program will be using – not only for planting, but for giving away at their Canasta Familiar, a free food distribution program in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Austin. “People are always just so excited [to receive plant starts]. We give people little flyers on how to grow them.” To continue to encourage folks to grow food at home, the CLUES Community Garden team has created a free Spanish language gardening resource that can be accessed here.


Providing free starts to organizations like CLUES is a core piece of Youth Farm’s mission. We’re honored to be a part of programs like these that provide life-changing services to those who need them most.

CLUES’ plants, ready for pick-up at Youth Farm’s St. Paul Greenhouse (2023)

Thank you for taking the time to learn about CLUES and their mission to connect lives and unleash empowerment. Together, we can build a world where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances. Join us today and be a part of this transformative journey!

See ya later!
Pedro A. Bayón