Minneapolis League of Women Voters hosts forum on growing local food economy

For Minneapolis and Hennepin County residents interested in improving access to locally grown fresh foods, growing the local economy, creating more urban friendly farming policies, and enhancing environmental sustainability, the Minneapolis League of Women Voters hosted an informational forum on Thursday March 22. Nine speakers who are active in making or influencing governmental policy in the areas of health, sustainable urban agriculture, and recycling expressed how far Minneapolis has come in this arena and the work that still needs to be done.La Donna Redmond, Senior Program Associate for Food & Justice at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy spoke passionately about food justice stating “Every community has the intellect to heal itself and get the food that it needs.” Giving a brief history of injustices in the agricultural-industrial system, she said we need to acknowledge we have never had a fair, just, or healthy food system, and we need to create one.Mayor R. T. Rybak acknowledged how the globalization of our economy has disconnected people from the land. He stated, “We have acted like victims in a much larger industrial system. We need to empower ourselves and support local agriculture.” On a more personal level, Rybak stressed the importance of having a family dinner hour and cooking together, relics of a time when families didn’t have microwaves and such frenetically busy schedules. He also espoused the initiatives of Homegrown Minneapolis to expand our ability to grow, process, distribute, eat, and compost healthier, nutritious, and locally grown food.Tim Browning, CEO of Eureka Recycling, highlighted the need to change the paradigm on waste from an old model of throwing away organic trash to a new model of recycling it and making rich compostable soil for farming and gardening. Continue Reading

Bullies

My son was bullied at school this past week.  He’s only nine years old.   He’s still in this wonderful stage of life where he’s rambunctious yet sweet, demanding yet compromising, naïve yet growing more aware of the larger world we all live in.  The words spewed at him were harsh- spoken loudly in the lunchroom at school.  “I hate you!”  Undertones of “I want to ki Continue Reading

Interchange Project planned to ease transit congestion in Minneapolis

UPDATED 11/1/2011: The last time I took the Light Rail home from a Twins game, two lines of people extended a few blocks long, waiting for over an hour to catch their train. This, said Ed Hunter, project manager of the Interchange Project, is a typical experience for most Hiawatha train riders after a Twins game. Participating in the Hennepin County Citizen’s Classes about local government services, I learned about what has been done, what is currently being done, and what’s in store to expand public transit in the Twin Cities metro area, including the congested area around Target Field.The Twin Cities’ first light rail line, the Hiawatha Light Rail, opened in 2004. Hunter said that transit planners estimated that by the year 2020, there would be 20,000 riders a day taking Light Rail. They achieved ridership of 20,000 a day in their second year of operation. Continue Reading

UROC engages University of Minnesota in North Minneapolis

To Charles Dillon, a long-time resident of N. Minneapolis, Community Engagement Coordinator of UROC, and part-time DJ for radio station KMOJ, “North Minneapolis is growing, nurturing, compassion, connected, community, and culture.” This vibrant urban community located between Penn/Broadway and Glenwood/Broadway is home to a predominantly African American population and a diverse population of Latinos, whites, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Jews, and Muslims. It’s also home to UROC, which is short for Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, a partnership between the University of Minnesota and North Minneapolis community organizations. One of its vital missions is to create public partnerships to “advance learning, improve quality of life, and discover breakthrough solutions to critical problems.”

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Citizens Academy highlights nuts and bolts of Hennepin County Public Works

If you’ve ever wondered what government services your local sales and property taxes pay for, Hennepin County offers sessions twice a year to enlighten interested citizens about some of its most important governmental services. This session’s six classes are held on Wednesday evenings from the middle of September through mid-October at different county facilities. Every class covers a different aspect of Hennepin County government including budgeting, transportation, housing and economic development, environmental services, human services, and corrections. Tours and informational presentations by county government department heads make this a very interesting way to learn about Hennepin County government. This fall I, along with 35 other community members, will be participating in the Hennepin County Citizens Academy. Continue Reading