August 2011

Farming: Coming To a Neighborhood Near You

Last week I found myself in a conference room with an aquaculturalist, a mushroom grower, a hops grower, and a handful of CSA farmers.

 This may sound like a great setup for a terrible joke, but the occasion was a serious one. We were sitting in Minneapolis City Hall along with an assortment of other farmers, gardeners, would-be farmers, extension workers, advocates, and city planners, all with lists of policy goals spread out in front of them on the table. The extraordinary thing is that most of them do their growing right here inside the Minneapolis city limits, and that’s why they made the trip to City Hall: to have a say in the first public meeting for implementing new zoning policies for urban agriculture here in the Minne Apple.

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Stop the Waste Challenge: Easy Ideas for Everyone

There are 2.85 million people in the twin cities, 5.3 million in all of Minnesota, and over 300 million in the U.S. Each of these folks consumes probably, on average, 2 purchased beverages a day. Simple math tells us that we are throwing out 6 million (twin cities), 10 million (MN), and 600 million (US) containers a day. The website sustainability is sexy quotes information stating that Americans use 16-23 billion coffee cups per year. Just coffee cups! 

This is not a staged photo.This is not a staged photo.

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Summer Smoothies - Give Your Body a Break

Summer is fantastic. A warm summer night with a frothy smoothie in hand is better. During these warm months, we come together with friends and family often to visit, celebrate and to just be in the company of one another. Along with these gatherings, comes food and a lot of it. Some of the edible options are healthy and some are...well, not so much. I'm sure that you have a little list of a few seasonal specialties that you simply must have (I know I do!) because you only get spinach dip so many times a year or the grilled red potato salad just looked too good to pass up. 

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Your CSA Box: A Cool Potato Salad with Pickles

I had a potato convergence last week. There were potatoes in my community-supported agriculture (CSA) box; we have a share at Foxtail Farm. A friend gave me some potatoes from her grandmother's farm. We visited our CSA farm and got to dig potatoes. All of a sudden, I had a LOT of potatoes. Fortunately, I also had a potluck to attend, and a potato salad would be perfect to bring.

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August Simple, Good and Tasty Book Club

It is with sadness that we bid farewell to the Mississippi Market book club. They are bowing out after poor attendance numbers. With everything that must pass we should remember to take something with us. I suggest that we work hard to encourage friends and acquaintances to see the value in reading and community. Book clubs are an opportunity not only to learn, but to turn that learning into thought and action. Let us take this moment to set aside the time to fully support the Linden Hills Coop book club in Minneapolis and the Harmony Coops book club in Bemijdi!

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Where Love and Farming Meet: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Often, when I mention our CSA to people unfamiliar with Community Supported Agriculture and I explain how a CSA works, they express astonishment at the high cost of these weekly vegetables. With each year of CSA participation, though, I feel less and less interested in justifying my choice. When someone asks, “Isn’t that really expensive?” I shrug and say, "it depends on how you look at it."  Now, for people who want to argue the point further, I have a book to recommend. 

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The Black Forest Inn Brings Weinfest to Minneapolis

Germany is perhaps best known for its beer and sausage, but in the summer, local German restaurant Black Forest Inn brings the German wine celebration, Weinfest, to the heart of Minneapolis. 

Weinfest is a festival of wine, after all, so various wines were sampled during the 10-day extravaganza…but perhaps my favorite was the Possman Frankfurter Apfelwein. Mild and sweet, this apple wine is dangerous. Crisp and tart, the fruit flavor masks the 5.5% alcohol content.

Weinfest specials included a variety of food cooked with wine—mussels steamed in a white wine broth, veal chops served in a wine-herb sauce, beef kabobs marinated in red wine and juniper berry, and wine-poached pears for dessert.

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Gardening the Community: Lessons From Youth Leaders

That food justice organization in Six Corners--those kids who grow gardens where nothing but weeds and garbage stood before--they’re good neighbors to have, especially when you live in a nationally recognized food desert.

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Kindred Kitchen: Nourishing Foodie Dreams in North Minneapolis

You may not have heard of Kindred Kitchen, on West Broadway in North Minneapolis, but if you keep up with food in the Twin Cities, chances are you've heard of, and perhaps even enjoyed, food prepared by some of Kindred Kitchen's chefs. 

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To Toast and To Taste!

Last Thursday was no potluck with too much pasta salad. Nor was it the type of garden party that has you weeding your friends' garden while getting munched by mosquitos. A wedding like gala with drunken relatives and bad speeches? Think again.

There is a reason that Toast and Taste at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is called "the best outdoor party of the summer". Don't get me wrong, there may be the time and place for parties that require you to do regrettable things like jello shots or -gasp- dance. However, if you want a fully relaxing yet engaging party with the best spread of food and wine imaginable, Toast and Taste is it. 

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