Start the Year Right with Good Food Classes at Linden Hills Co-op


Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If so, do you make the same ones each year? Are you still trying to shed those 20 pounds you've been resolving to lose since 1997? Me too.

Last year I resolved to learn a few new tricks: I made granola for the first time, a Kahlua-like drink, cassoulet, and a bunch of pork shoulders (my wife gets most of the credit for these). I started composting. I spent half a dozen days at Riverbend Farm to try to get a very small feel for organic farming. I even took a canning class at Linden Hills Co-op in Minneapolis.

The great thing about resolving to learn new things is that there's a clear path to get there; lots of times you can just find a class and sign up. I don't know if you've noticed this, but in my family, a funny thing happens when something makes its way onto the schedule -- it actually happens.

When the great folks at Linden Hills Co-op (where I'm a member) sent me their latest class schedule, I was impressed by the number of classes and the range of offerings (from vegan baking to candle making to skin care and more), and I was reminded that this is the first series of classes to be held in their gorgeous new space. Here are a few of the classes that look especially good to me, along with descriptions from the co-op:

Healthy Eating in a Busy World - Dr. Karen Schragg, Tuesday, January 11, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, $15 (non-members)/$13 (members)

Learn easy ways of cooking that are healthy and great for the planet. Perfect for busy mom and dads who want to avoid processed foods for their families and adopt a more plant based diet. Arrive hungry, there will be plenty of food to share!

Dr. Karen I. Shragg is the manager and naturalist of the City of Richfield’s Wood Lake Nature Center, where she has taught any number of classes on environmental education, specializing in wild edible foods. A long time activist and guest speaker around the country, she specializes in environmental issues involving food and the overpopulation issue. She is also a children's book author. Her most recent title is “Lucy’s Hero, Remembering Paul Wellstone.”

Stocks & Soups - Mary Jo Rasmussen, Thursday, January 13, 6:15 – 7:45 pm, $17 (non-members)/$15 (members)

 Homemade stock adds a depth of flavor to soups, casseroles and other dishes that you just can't get from a can. Learn how easy it is to make your own and go home with some great recipes for putting it to good use. We'll walk through the techniques and then do a taste-test of homemade vs. store-bought stocks.

Mary Jo Rasmussen is a partner in Urban Relish, a food and entertaining business that specializes in using local and sustainable Minnesota products. Urban Relish teaches cooking classes that are open to the public, as well as in-home, private cooking parties and corporate cooking events.

Composting is for Everyone! - Joanna Toleno, Thursday, March 3, 7 – 8:30 pm, $17 (non-members)/$15 (members) 

Garbage is everywhere - the answer is compost! Not only will you be doing something good for the environment but you can reduce your garbage going to the landfill by 50%. From hot composters to worm bins, you will learn everything you need to know about making beautiful dirt and worm castings.

Joanna Toleno Bakken is a Master Recycler from Portland, Oregon. She is a mother of  3 and has been gardening her entire life. She is currently enrolled in the Leadership for Sustainability Education Masters Program at PSU.

Homemade Yogurt 101 - Kelly Smeltzer, Tuesday, March 8, 7 – 8pm, $17 (non-members)/$15 (members)

Making your own yogurt is simple and healthy. You'll be assured your yogurt contains no additives and you can enhance it with whatever flavor you desire. We'll walk through the process of making yogurt, talk about flavoring your yogurt and discuss variations like soy and Greek yogurt.

Kelly Smeltzer is a partner in Urban Relish (described above).

These are just a few of the classes being offered at Linden Hills this season; check out their website for a complete list. I hope to see you there!


Lee Zukor is the founder of Simple, Good, and Tasty. Email him at