News & Views

Commercial Composting--What Is It?

Thanks to the resurgence in gardening and food in general, most of us know about compost. Many of us have even taken a shot at a backyard compost bin or even a vermicomposter. Now, Minneapolis is taking composting to the next level--commercial composting. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, perhaps you have seen signs promoting composting at restaurants and farmers markets. The Birchwood Cafe, Mill City Farmers Market, Bryant Lake Bowl, Bread and Pickle, and Anodyne are just some of the folks taking the initiative to compost everything from paper products to food waste.

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Good Food for Everyone!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

- Confucius

I live in Minneapolis, where eating lots of local food is not at all strange. Many of my neighbors are CSA members, and we have been known to share ingredients, recipes, and restaurant recommendations. On my block, nearly everyone seems to know how to cook kale and how to grow tomatoes. It's easy for me to think that this is normal. It isn't.

In the past two weeks, I've had the opportunity to attend two events focused on good food. Both were excellent, and left lasting impressions.

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Getting Fresh at the Food Shelf

It wasn’t until Olivia Lara’s 16-year-old son was diagnosed with diabetes that she began to think about what she was eating. 

The tacos, juicy burgers and other fast food that served as their normal diet have now been replaced with spinach, potatoes and, on some occasions, vegetables Lara admits to knowing nothing about. 

The result: weight loss, liveliness and a desire to eat right long into the future.

“People are telling me now that I act completely different, like I have all this energy all of a sudden, “ the St. Paul resident said.  

Lara was among a healthy crowd of residents who turned up at a recent local foods event at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul where food shelf officials, local farmers and others were trying to encourage similar transformations. 

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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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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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Food Safety and Local Food

Scanning the titles of recent blog posts from Bill Marler's terrific, food-safety-focused Marler Blog gives us just a glimpse of what lurks below the surface:

July 5 - Unnamed Egyptian Fenugreek Seed Grower Responsible for 4,200 Illnesses and 50 Deaths

July 6 - Four French, including baby in a coma, linked to E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Lilie

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Izzy's Ice Cream Goes Local

In an ideal world, the owners of Izzy’s Ice Cream Café, Jeff Sommers and Lara Hammel, say their ice cream would be derived from milk produced by cows at a dairy all their own. Instead, though, they’ve settled on the next best thing. 

Last year, Sommers and Hammel decided to turn to a Columbus, Wis.-based dairy for the mixture of milk, eggs and sugar that serves as the building block for each of the more than 125 flavors they make at their St. Paul shop annually. The move came after a decade of relying on large wholesalers who simultaneously supplied ice cream giants such as Dairy Queen and Culvers, and was prompted by a desire to support a regional, family farm. 

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Taking the Torch

Simple, good and tasty? What better words to describe what food should be. I am all too excited and grateful to be taking on the challenge of continuing the dialogue that Lee Zukor has started with this food blog/resource that is Simple, Good, and Tasty. My hope is that I can continue to provide access to insightful articles and useful resources for Minnesotans and food lovers everywhere. Although Lee will continue his interest, writing and support for SGT, I know that it will be you, the subscibers and contributors, who will help keep the website alive and vibrant.

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Minneapolis Schools Says "Good Riddance" to Chocolate Milk

Last week, I was granted three more reasons to be glad I moved to Minneapolis seven years ago.


(Full disclosure: I don’t live in Minneapolis proper, but in a suburb 15 minutes west of the city. But when I travel and people ask me where I’m from, I always proudly proclaim “Minneapolis.” )


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