COMMUNITY VOICES | Park Board considers plan to expand urban agriculture

A forest of fruit trees or youth-run community garden could soon be growing in a Minneapolis Park near you. Opportunities like these are outlined in a Urban Agriculture Activity Plan that is currently under review by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.Additional goals outlined in the plan include: increase growing healthy, local food; use of outdoor public spaces to promote, sell and distribute local food; increase edible landscaping and urban fruit tree growth; expand community gardening options; and, enrich youth programs.Russ Henry, an advocate for the plan and former resident of Corcoran, presented the December meeting of Corcoran’s Land Use and Housing Committee. CNO members asked questions about the proposed plan and discussed how urban agriculture could impact the neighborhood and city.”Urban agriculture is an important way to enhance food security for underserved neighborhoods” shares Henry, “and improve access to health for residents throughout Minneapolis. The MPRB Urban Ag Activity Plan, if adopted will give neighbors access to more tools, resources, and knowledge that will empower Minneapolis residents to grow health and sustainability in their neighborhoods.”However, Henry also shared that this plan is not a sure thing. He has a personal goal of recruiting 1,000 Minneapolitans to submit feedback about the Urban Agriculture Activity Plan. The Park Board will be hosting two more information sessions about the proposed Urban Agriculture Activity Plan:- Tuesday, December 17 from 5:15 – 7:15 PM at Hope Community- Thursday, December 19 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM at St. Olaf Community CampusPlease review the draft plan (PDF), and then take a minute to share your feedback in this online survey before December 21. For more information please refer to the MPRB project webpage. Continue Reading

OPINION | Riding pipelines

There’s a beauty in the breath of horses, fall mornings a bit of breath seen in the air and the smell and sound of horses. One hoof at a time. Bebezhigogonzhiig … one at a time, a one hoofed being. On Nov. 14, Michael Dahl and I, both Mississippi Band members rode horses from the headwaters of the Mississippi along a proposed route of a new oil pipeline, which would cross the reservation.

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Gov. Dayton: This is farmland, not fracland

NOTE: Land Stewardship Project members and staff met with Governor Mark Dayton about frac sand mining issues on Dec. 4 in Winona, Minn. The meeting began with Bob Christie of Utica, Minn., sharing his perspective as a lifelong farmer on why frac sand mining is wrong for southeast Minnesota. Gov. Dayton was visibly moved and asked for a copy of the statement, which is reproduced here: Continue Reading

Great Lake tar sands threat: Be aware

Lake Superior is virtually unique as a thing. It is a huge lake, it is far from the equator, it is very very deep, and it is a freshwater lake. That combination is hard to come by. It is therefore almost always going to be true that a major environmental disaster such as the sinking or wrecking of a tar-sands boat on that lake will not have a precedent. If there is a huge tar sands disaster on Lake Superior it will not be possible to clean it up, most likely. And there will be such a disaster; this is almost guaranteed. Continue Reading

Southeast Como residents file suit in face of chemical vapor contamination

Some residents of the Como neighborhood in Minneapolis have filed a lawsuit against General Mills over chemical vapor contamination in their homes. The suit claims that at least 200 properties are affected by vapors from Trichloroethylene also known as TCE.The chemical was released in the area decades ago as a by-product of research and development work done by General Mills at a facility in the neighborhood.In early November the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency informed residents of the potential problem. Since then some homeowners have agreed to allow testing, while others are questioning the motives of private companies and government agencies involved in creating the contamination and trying to clean it up.On Saturday December 7th, an investigator from another law firm led by Erin Brokovich will hold a meeting in the neighborhood to talk about the situation. Brockovich became well known through a movie about her own fight against corporate interests in a case of industrial contamination.Coral Sadowy is a resident of the area who, along with her neighbors, has been through a very difficult few weeks. She taked with KFAI’s Yvette Howie on The Morning Blend. Continue Reading

Pollution clean-up at Superior Plating site continues, public input meeting set for Dec. 12

State officials and the owners of the former Superior Plating site at 315 First Ave. NE are continuing the decades-old pollution cleanup project there. Plans now include removing the building, taking out the soil down to the bedrock, and continuing the ground water cleanup below.The parking lot across the street is also on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) radar, but might not receive the full cleanup unless a future owner decides to dig on the property.Residents can weigh in on the current plans at a public meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, 7-8 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main St. NE. Continue Reading

Landscaping restoration planned for Hiawatha Avenue, open houses set for Dec. 4 and 9

The County is planning on restoring the landscaping on Hiawatha Avenue between 32nd Street and 46th Street. Tonight will be the first of two open houses where residents are invited to view the plans, ask questions, and provide comments.Robb Luckow from Housing, Community Works, & Transit explained on the Hennepin County website the reason for the new plantings, “The landscaping along Hiawatha Avenue is showing its age. The trees are in poor condition and provide inadequate tree cover. The corridor welcomes travelers to Minneapolis, yet lacks aesthetic appeal.”The County is working with consultants from LHB to develop the restoration plan, conduct soil testing, identify plants and trees best suited for the roadway, and develop a planting scheme.The landscaping plan is expected to be completed in early 2014. Planting could begin in spring or summer, depending on funding.Learn MoreThere will be two open houses where you can learn more about current plans:Wednesday, Dec. Continue Reading