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25 Years at the Plant Sale

The Plant Sale was held at the Twin Cities Friends meeting house in 1997.

The Friends School Plant Sale is 25 years old.

It all started in 1989–90, one year after Friends School of Minnesota was founded. The fundraiser began simply with a few kinds of vegetables, herbs, perennials, and annuals spread out on the ground. We chose to sell plants because the school’s leaders saw a connection between our school’s belief in community and the community-building nature of gardening.

Our catalog has grown from a single sheet of paper to 60 pages listing 2,300 kinds of plants. Now, if you Google “plant sale,” guess what comes up first?

Fifteen- to twenty-thousand people come through our doors, and most shoppers also graciously “round up” for the school. Altogether, the sale and round-ups raise more than $250,000 for scholarships.

The first sale was organized by Henry Fieldseth, a school parent, and he’s still one of the core volunteers who works to make it happen. Regular shoppers may recognize the many other dedicated volunteers who seem to live at the State Fair Grandstand, from set up to clean up, every Mother’s Day weekend.

It takes over a thousand volunteers to run the sale, including a committee whose members work year-round to select plants and make each sale more streamlined. Our middle school students learn about community service and hard work as they help set up the sale, manage plant sections, and assist shoppers. Plant lovers or people who just love the sale donate countless hours to make it a success. We hope you feel their enthusiasm as you shop!

Even with the growth of the last 25 years, the Friends School Plant Sale is still about community. The sale brings together novice gardeners, master gardeners, and everyone in between. It’s a community of volunteers working to make the sale high-quality, pleasant, and efficiently run. And it’s for a great cause: making Friends School of Minnesota accessible, regardless of financial need.

Thank you for your support of our 25th sale!

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