In times of economic downturn, some Minneapolis residents are generating creative solutions to help their families save food, fuel, and money.
Eating for less
Longfellow neighborhood resident Jean Galligan says she has started to participate in what she calls cooperative shopping. “Me and a friend will go over to Sam’s Club together and buy a lot of stuff. I’ll say- I’ll help you with that cost, and she’ll make extra servings to send home with me. It’s great because then you have more recipes.”
Galligan’s aunt holds a weekly “must go!” day. Galligan explains that instead of throwing left-overs out, or letting less appealing food waste away in the refrigerator, “You eat everything in the refrigerator that must go… If there’s a single serving of meatloaf left over in the fridge that’s not enough for two of us, then someone has to have it, it must go.”
Aaron Jones lives in Minneapolis with his family of four, “Instead of buying an air conditioner, we bought a fast growing tree and planted it in the back yard to help get more shade… We splurged on that now to save later.” According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.”
Looking for help
Gail Alexander is the minister of a United Methodist church in the Longfellow neighborhood. She notes that many people are reaching out to her for help, either wanting to borrow money or to get food donations from the church.
“People that I used to see once or twice a year, I now see about every other week…,” Alexander says. “I’ve had more people come and ask if the church doesn’t have work they can do.” Alexander also says she has seen some attitudes change. “I’ve had people who’ve sworn they would never take the light rail who now ride every day.”
Maura Youngman is a student at Hamline University and an intern with the TC Daily Planet.