From urban farming to freedom fighting at Sabathani conference

At the table after lunch, an excited Dimitri Kaasan draws on a napkin. He diagrams the aquaculture system at his son’s school, Southside Family Charter School. Plants such as herbs are rooted in circulating water that is fertilized by fish (see video for fuller explanation). The students keep up the system through the year and base their curriculum around growing the plants and fish.


ST. PAUL NOTES | Groceries on the East Side of St. Paul: Who's there, who's coming

Scroll down for interactive map showing grocery stores. 

A couple of weeks ago, the Newsroom Café group meeting at Dayton's Bluff Community Council talked about groceries in the neighborhood. By now, most folks have heard that Mississippi Market plans to move in on Seventh Street, just north of Metro State University and across the street from Swede Hollow Café. But what's the current grocery situation, and what will they add to the mix?


Farm-to-Food Shelf bill advances in House committee

Rob Zeaske, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, answers members’ questions during a March 6 presentation to the House Agriculture Policy Committee of Rep. Jeanne Poppe’s bill, HF2538, which would establish the Farm-to-Foodshelf program. (Photo Paul Battaglia)

A couple summers ago, Apple Valley vegetable grower Gary Pahl had more sweet corn in his fields than grocery stores would buy. But rather than disposing of the excess, he worked with a Twin Cities hunger relief organization to get the food to Minnesotans who struggle to put food on the table. Pahl on Thursday told the House Agriculture Policy Committee that his participation in Second Harvest Heartland’s farm-to-food shelf program has grown so that in 2013 he donated 847,000 pounds of food.


Winter wimps, gird your loins!

In Minnesota we are socialized as children to engage in small talk, usually about the weather. Unlike religion, politics, and sports, the weather is a safe inoffensive topic that Mid-westerners are particularly keen on discussing.


Far right and left's common interest around agriculture

The far right and far left tend to agree on more issues than folks realize, but have very different ideas for how to resolve those issues. The recently enacted federal farm bill is one example.


NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Plan a tea party at A Cupcake Social

With flavors like Red Velvet, Death by Chocolate, Hawaiian Dream, Samoa, Dreamsicle, Oh Joy! and Pistachio Chocolate, you might be standing at the counter awhile.

The corner at 28th Ave. and 38th St. is a popular destination these days. Last fall, Keen Coffee opened on the southwest corner, filling the space vacated by Tillie’s Bean.


IGGERS DIGEST | La Fresca - Sophisticated Mexican cuisine in South Minneapolis

I won't pretend to be objective about La Fresca, Hector Ruiz's new nouveau Mexican restaurant at 48th and Grand in south Minneapolis.


The next frontier for liquor: Microdistilleries

Liquor was the name of the game on Tuesday in the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee. Eight bills were heard from allowing on-sale wine and malt-liquor licenses for professional junior hockey games in Richfield to reinstating sacramental wine sales by religious stores and expanding microdistillery sales. All bills were laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus liquor bill.


Bluestem: French Meadow 2.0

Monday morning, and we’re hungry. So hungry a bagel won’t do. And neither will dishwater coffee. Sooo—picture a scene in a Woody Allen movie—we’re driving around South Minneapolis—Patisserie 46, Lynn on Bryant, Lucia’s, braking only for their “Closed on Mondays” signs. Finally, I remember: Yeah, French Meadow! And then I remember something even better: its new sibling, Bluestem, joined at the hip to its older sis. Bluestem ditches the elder sister’s hippie vibe in favor of a clean demeanor that could hold its own in L.A.: the minimalist-chic of earthtone walls accented with birch saplings for a made-in-Minnesota look and tiles in Superior blue dressing the curvy bar.


Ha Tien Grocery Store: "We are confident that it will be better, a lot better"

Son and Ne Dao

“It’s just a very long distance from not having anything, to get to this point,” says Ne Dao, co-owner of Ha Tien Grocery Store (353 University Avenue West, St. Paul). While Dao means as business people, St. Paul is also a long distance from where Ne and husband and co-owner, Son Dao, started out geographically.

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