What You Can Do to Fight Food Waste

We’ve officially arrived at my favorite time to live in Minnesota: Summer! Bicycles fill the streets, farmers markets are vibrant and packed with patrons and our farms and gardens are bursting with the season’s bounty. Food is everywhere and the temptation to buy more food than necessary is always an obstacle for me. Each year I struggle to make good use of all the wonderful food I ether bring home from the market, or grow in my home garden. But this year, I’m inspired to do better. 


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Straw Bale Gardening, Part 2: The Plot Thickens

Starting a new project begins with great, lofty imaginings…in this case, the vision is of a perfect garden. Then the unanticipated variables creep in. The straw bale garden has triggered a few surprises, some serendipitous, some not. As a follow up to Part 1 of this series, I’ll share in this report on this planting, watering and watching a straw bale garden grow.


The bale set-up was actually a thrill. Maybe it’s an unfulfilled interest in engineering, but I really enjoyed the challenge of locating and grouping the bales in full sun, amongst a system of north-south lines between posts that I drove into the ground myself with a post pounder. I enjoyed stringing an espalier wire system (trellis) between the posts, as I imagined great climbing cucumbers, beans and tomatoes. 

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Living with Livestock, Part One: Food In, Poop (or is it Compost?) Out

When I walked into my first of a series of four livestock workshops at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the curriculum, but I was pretty sure what to expect of the students: a bunch of new-age, backyard chicken growers, to be sure.

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"Yards to Gardens" Matches Gardeners to Land Owners

Yards to Gardens (or Y2G) might just the most benevolent site in the web universe. Essentially, it functions as a matchmaker between people who want to garden but don’t have the space, and those who have the space, but not the time. (It also puts people who want chicken manure in contact with those who have it, and gives room to shout to those who are trying to give away extra seeds and clay pots, but more on that later.)

I say it’s benevolent because the founders of Y2G know that it’s just not right to let someone suffer with an unfulfilled primal urge to dig in the dirt. (They just want to grow things!) The purity of their sentiment is matched by the other side of the coin: people who have yards and gardening space and just want to see it put to good use.

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Nothing Says "Happy Earth Day" Like a Big Pile of Compost

There are many ways to celebrate the Earth Day: plant a tree, sign a petition, say hello to a polar bear, go fly a kite, buy a bus pass. And I’m going to suggest one more: start a compost pile.

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Common Roots: Good Food from Scratch

I've been excited to write about Minneapolis' Common Roots Cafe for a while. I love so many things about the place, including their swanky logo, the building facade, the fact that they compost, the vegetarian options, the delectable pastries (from mostly - if not entirely - local, sustainable ingredients), and the fact that they are so involved in the neighborhood. Last week they provided free bagels, muffins, and scones to nearly 50 families at my boy's elementary school. All of the food was locally grown and made.

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