Skip to main content

Hennepin Tech Plant Sale Celebrates Its History


Brooklyn Park, March 23, 2023 – The 2023 Plant Sale is special because it is an opportunity to reflect on the history of the event. Hennepin Technical College is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2022-23 academic year. During this milestone year, the Landscaping/Horticulture/Greenhouse/Urban Forestry program is also is celebrating its accomplishments and the history of the Plant Sale.

Faculty member Deb Kvamme has been teaching at the college for 23 years and has led the sale during her tenure. We asked her to share her fond memories.

Hennepin Tech: The college is 50 years old. Is the Plant Sale also 50?

Kvamme: I believe a Plant Sale has been taking place at Hennepin Tech for about 30 years. It started with high school students selling plants. School District 287 rented space here. Their involvement ended eventually but the Plant Sales continued with Hennepin Tech college students instead. In 2001, I organized the first Plant Sale that involved our students. Now it is a signature event that students, alumni and the community all enjoy.

Hennepin Tech: What has been the best-selling item at the Plant Sale in its history?

Kvamme: Mother’s Day hanging baskets and planters. Customers can see that they are beautiful and a great value.

Hennepin Tech: Everyone really enjoys the idea that students grow the plants – and the proceeds help support the program and scholarships. Tell us about that.

Kvamme: Throughout the academic year, all of the classes are working toward the Plant Sale. Students are propagating plants and flowers. In addition to being a tool for teaching, it’s a strategy that helps the event generate revenue. Especially during the early years of the Plant Sale, when we didn’t have anything, we needed to grow our own products to sell. That’s why it is so beneficial for all the students in our classes to work toward the event.

We also use sustainable practices. For example, we are recycling lots of things, even dirt, so we avoid buying new. We collect seed from native plants and use them at the Plant Sale. 

Hennepin Tech: There is a spirit of teamwork and comradery around this annual event. What traditions have developed?

Kvamme: The Plant Sale always starts on a Thursday. In the past, we had an Open House for alumni on Wednesday.

Another annual tradition is students making t-shirts to wear when they work at the sale. I know alumni who are very proud to have a collection of t-shirts from prior years. Our t-shirt for this year’s Plant Sale is tie-dye. We’re honoring the 50th anniversary of the college.

Hennepin Tech: The Plant Sale had a few difficult years during COVID, correct?

Kvamme: Yes, that was a challenge. For two years, customers couldn’t visit our greenhouses. They shopped online and then we had curbside pick-up. Now we’re back in-person.

Hennepin Tech: So that was the worst of times. What was the best of times?

Kvamme: I think every year the Plant Sale helps to make us more like a family. That was always my goal. Alumni come back to volunteer or shop from all over the metro area and Wisconsin. They just love it. When alumni are looking to hire people, they come back to this program and want to hire our students and grads because we are all connected to the program. I wanted to develop those connections that are meaningful and valuable.

Hennepin Tech Plant Sale 2023

Date(s): May 11, 12, and 13
Time: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Location: Hennepin Technical College | 9000 Brooklyn Blvd. | Brooklyn Park, MN 55443

For more information please visit the Plant Sale event page.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college offers degree and non-degree courses in over 40 programs in the skilled trades and high-demand career fields. Achieving a high job placement rate, Hennepin Tech prepares students for high-paying employment opportunities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2023-03-27 04:56:58