About Us

Artist Susan Swerda Foss is a painter, designer, sculptor and illustrator who has lived in Minnesota since 1969. She was born in Vienna, Austria, and spent her youth living in England, Japan, Seattle and other cities around the United States.  Susan has worked for Tobies Bakery as a manager for over 20 years and is now in semi-retirement. Creating art has always been her delight and she was inspired to create the Minnesota Goose Garden by the work of ethnologist Frances Densmore (1867-1957) 

​Susan's husband, Rodney Foss, has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. For 28 years, Susan and Rodney ran a dairy farm on a homestead built in 1917 that has been in the family for four generations.  One day in the late 1980's, Rodney was asked by Susan for a particular, small hay field in order to create a special garden.  For several years, Rod spent hauling rocks onto the field and laid out the parameters of a goose, nest and gosling; he also built an arbor for the gosling. He continues to mow the perimeters of the garden with his beloved Case tractors and provides Susan with ongoing support.​

Our Mission


The Minnesota Goose Garden was first envisioned by artist Susan Swerda Foss in 1989, and with the technical and physical assistance provided by Rodney Foss, became a botanical sculpture garden based on Ojibwe history.  It is located in east-central Minnesota and strives to preserve and promote education of the flora used by the Ojibwe tribes for food, medicine, utility and ceremony.