U of M student cultivates farming program at 38th and Chicago

As a plant sciences major at the University of Minnesota, Bryant Jones has a green thumb and is using it to plant the seeds of peace at one of the city’s most infamous intersections.

"This is about prolonging and trying to share the energy that was brought here with the untimely death of George Floyd," said Jones.

After the death of George Floyd, Jones spent 20 hours a day grilling food for the thousands who showed up at the corner of 38th and Chicago. He eventually used his horticulture talents to help build a garden on the curb across the street from where Floyd lost his life to provide fresh vegetables for people in the neighborhood.

"We are the Twin Cities Relief Initiative and we like to think of ourselves as a traveling oasis," he said. "So, wherever there is a drought, hopefully we can spring up."

Jones co-founded the farming portion of the initiative, which has grown to organize free food giveaways every other week around the Twin Cities. 

"We are creating a living, breathing memorial that’s going to thrive and it’s going to grow from here," said Clifton Williams, a community leader.

When the weather gets warmer, Jones plans to expand the garden. In the meantime, he believes the power of plants can help the community heal.

"Contrary to popular belief, this has always been a peaceful endeavor and it continues to be," Jones said. "We hope that the delicacy of plants being present here will exhibit that."