Thank you for attending the 11th Annual Green Gifts Fair! We look forward to seeing you next year!

A Green Development Pattern is Now a Financial Necessity

Charles Marohn Strong Towns Strong Towns is a non-profit organization that is helping to change the way cities and neighborhoods are being built. The key insight that the Strong Towns movement provides is simple: it costs more financially to sustain our current development pattern than it generates in financial return. …

Read moreA Green Development Pattern is Now a Financial Necessity

Bands That Go Green

Reprinted from Sarah Lipman thegreenguide.com Musicians have long been catalysts for social change. When it comes to the environment though, the music industry has lagged behind. However, many musicians today are climbing aboard the “green” tour bus. Why should they care? As a whole, the music industry contributes 150,000 tons …

Read moreBands That Go Green

Bartering Services Taking Off in Twin Cities

Harvey Meyer Community Barter Network Bartering? I thought that was something people did in the old days. You know, like, “I’ll trade you this sack of potatoes if you help me put up a fence.” Or something like that. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover bartering – primarily, exchanging …

Read moreBartering Services Taking Off in Twin Cities

Bioneers!

Vonda Vaden Northland Bioneers The Northland Bioneers Conference, a feature of the Twin Cities calendar since 2006   The annual Fall Northland Bioneers Conference is an inspirational day or weekend-long event open to the entire community-students, teachers, workers, parents-anyone concerned for the future of the planet. Attendees listen to and …

Read moreBioneers!

Climate Café: Conversing Toward a Cleaner World

Felicia Parsons Do It Green! Minnesota Climate cafés are a relatively new offshoot of the café discussion movement, which takes its inspiration from philosophical discussion groups tracing their ancestry as far back as Plato and Socrates. Recognizing that it is too easy for people to become disconnected from their community-particularly if …

Read moreClimate Café: Conversing Toward a Cleaner World

Co-operative Housing

Do It Green! Minnesota From www.co-ophousingcoalition.org From the outside, a housing co-op looks like any other townhouse development or apartment building. But, a housing co-op is different – here’s how: Owned by Members The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-op corporation which owns the whole property. …

Read moreCo-operative Housing

Community Building is Sustainability

Sean Gosiewski Alliance for Sustainability Community Brings Happiness. How many of your happiest moments have been spent with those you love? We are social creatures; healthy family and community ties are the foundation for our physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual health. Our common future will be built through healthy community …

Read moreCommunity Building is Sustainability

Community Investing and You

Co-op America and the Social Investment Forum Foundation Reprinted with permission Everyone can be a community investor. It’s easy. For example, did you know that your checking account could help low income families buy affordable homes? Did you know that your IRA could help create jobs in impoverished communities? Community …

Read moreCommunity Investing and You

Eco-Villages and Intentional Communities

Laurie Voeltz Intern at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage I have this dream of living some kind of “happily-ever-after.” A dream where I’m surrounded by friends, and we eat together, laugh together, create together, work together and work out our problems together outside the constraints of modern society as we know it. …

Read moreEco-Villages and Intentional Communities

Environmental Education in Minnesota

Colleen Schoenecker Minnesota Pollution Control Agency What is environmental education? The field of environmental education (EE) began to take shape in the 1970s as the international community gathered to address worldwide environmental problems. Out of these meetings came two landmark documents — the Belgrade Charter (UNESCOUNEP, 1976) and the Tbilisi Declaration (UNESCO, …

Read moreEnvironmental Education in Minnesota

Environmental Education Resources

Do It Green! Minnesota Minnesota is a national leader in environmental education and offers a number of resources: Minnesota Association for Environmental Education (MAEE) MAEE is a professional organization that supports and strengthens environmental education throughout Minnesota. MAEE also represents the EE community on relevant issues and legislation. SEEK: Sharing …

Read moreEnvironmental Education Resources

Healthy and Responsible Eating on a College Student’s Budget

Since moving away from home and subsequently being forced to become more self-sufficient, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is how to eat healthy with a limited budget. The following is a bit about how I changed my diet for the better both for myself and for the environment. …

Read moreHealthy and Responsible Eating on a College Student’s Budget

How Communities Changed: How To Unite Your Community

CommunityGroup.co.uk Listen to the older generations: many of them say there’s no sense of community the way there was when they were young. They’re probably right, since communities have changed with each generation during the last two decades, although not necessarily in a bad way. The grinding poverty and terrible …

Read moreHow Communities Changed: How To Unite Your Community

How To Make Your Town or City More Self-Reliant and Sustainable

Linda Buzzell-Saltzman, M.A., M.F.T. Sustainable Small Cities Project, For the Future If you’d like to work towards sustainability in your community, you might want to start by creating Sustainability Circles – small groups of people who care about the topic in question or have special knowledge or resources. Circle members …

Read moreHow To Make Your Town or City More Self-Reliant and Sustainable

Make a Difference and Make It Fun!

Ami Voeltz Do It Green! Minnesota “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead There is a new type of environmental activism in the air-along with protests, lobbying, letter writing, and campaigns, there are …

Read moreMake a Difference and Make It Fun!

Minnesota GreenStep Cities: A Sustainability Agenda for You and Our Communities

Philipp Muessig MN Pollution Control Agency (MCPA) Driving across Minnesota, you have no doubt entered towns that announce on a road sign that they are a “Minnesota Star City.” And you probably wondered, What are these cities? What did they do to merit a sign? During renewable energy discussions around …

Read moreMinnesota GreenStep Cities: A Sustainability Agenda for You and Our Communities

Minnesota, Nice or Not?

The Minneapolis Foundation Reprinted with permission from The Minneapolis Foundation’s “Immigration In Minnesota” Veiled African women wrapped in long gowns on their way to work, Mexican youths playing basketball, a Russian couple strolling in a mall, a Hmoung family buying groceries. These are Minnesota’s newcomers, a second wave of immigration …

Read moreMinnesota, Nice or Not?

National and Local Community Gardening Resources

The following resources provide a national and local look at the community gardening movement including current events, classes, workshops, planning assistance, and potential funding ideas: American Community Gardening Asscociation (ACGA) Columbus, Ohio. A bi-national nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities. …

Read moreNational and Local Community Gardening Resources

Organics Recycling — Give Back to Nature

Alisa Reckinger Hennepin County Whether at a school, church, or business, establishing an organics recycling program is a great way to reduce the amount of trash disposed of by your organization and reinvigorate your recycling program. Organics include all food waste and non-recyclable or food-soiled paper products and can make …

Read moreOrganics Recycling — Give Back to Nature

Partnering with Agriculture for the Health of our Communities and our Environment

Mark Muller The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) The difficulties facing the Minnesota farmer are well known. Commodity prices for corn, soybeans, wheat and hogs are below the cost of production. The number of farms in Minnesota is in continual decline and the remaining farms merge and expand. …

Read morePartnering with Agriculture for the Health of our Communities and our Environment

Placemaking: Designing a Garden for the Community

Shannon McWalters Gardening Matters The following information was adapted from “Placemaking: Designing for Community” The benefits of a community garden are countless. From increasing a sense of community ownership and pride, building community leaders and stewards, and teaching youth where food comes from, to even bringing together multiple generations of …

Read morePlacemaking: Designing a Garden for the Community

Public Outdoor Lighting Needs a Major Overhaul

Tine Thevenin International DarkSky Assocation Few of us give much thought to outdoor lighting because it is all around us: on our streets and parking lots, barn yards and buildings. We feel safer with lights and have come to depend on them. Outdoor lights give us a feeling of security …

Read morePublic Outdoor Lighting Needs a Major Overhaul

Rideshare Program in St. Paul

St. Paul Transportation Management Organization (TMO) In 2007, the St. Paul Transportation Management Organization (TMO) brought the nation’s first incentive-based ride network, a national web-based organization called NuRide, to the seven-county metro area. Estimating that a 10% increase in ridesharing decreases congestion delays by 50%, the TMO believes everyone would …

Read moreRideshare Program in St. Paul

Spiritual Progress: Congregations Going Green

By Sean Gosiewski & Wanda Copeland Congregations Caring for Creation (C3) Congregations Caring for Creation (C3) is an interfaith network of more than 80 congregations that are making the active care of Creation integral to spiritual life and social justice in their congregation. C3/MNIPL is the Minnesota chapter of a …

Read moreSpiritual Progress: Congregations Going Green

Strengthen Our Communities to Strengthen Sustainability

Sean Gosiewski Alliance for Sustainability Minnesota has some of the highest levels of social capital and volunteerism in the US However, community ties in the US have been declining for decades. With most households needing two incomes and many people working longer hours, time for neighborly pursuits can seem scarce. …

Read moreStrengthen Our Communities to Strengthen Sustainability

Suburban Communities Going Green

Sean Gosiewski Alliance for Sustainability Highlighting the Minnesota Cities of Burnsville, Edina, and Oakdale City of Burnsville’s Sustainability Guide Plan During 2008, city staff worked with a consultant team to develop a 105-page Sustainability Guide Plan based on best practices and the Natural Step framework. The guide plan delineates 37 …

Read moreSuburban Communities Going Green

Sustainable Community Development

Jennifer Hawkins Graduate student at the University of Minnesota According to the Office of Environmental Assistance, “a sustainable community can persist over generations, enjoying a healthy environment, prosperous economy and vibrant civic life. It does not undermine its social or physical systems of support. Rather, it develops in harmony with …

Read moreSustainable Community Development

The Development of Sustainable Communities

Shelley Calvert Do It Green! Minnesota Historical perspective might provide some clues. Consider the shift in how and where people live. When the country was young and mostly undeveloped, small gatherings of people settled in geographic areas that proved fruitful for farming, mining, fishing, logging or shipping all industries that …

Read moreThe Development of Sustainable Communities

The Info on Minneapolis Infoshops

Amanda Luker Arise! Resource Center and Bookstore As Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon.com and the like swell rapidly in size and domination of the book world, independent booksellers and infoshops grow in importance to the health of our community. In the past few years, mega-chains like as those listed above …

Read moreThe Info on Minneapolis Infoshops

The Myth of the Homeless Person

Joshua Lang St. Stevens Homeless Shelter The image that most people identify with a homeless person is the panhandler on Nicollet Mall, the vodka-guzzling man on the bus, or the mentally ill person hearing voices on the corner. These stereotypes are the visibly homeless. In reality, they are the exception …

Read moreThe Myth of the Homeless Person

The Transition Movement: Building Resilience in Uncertain Times

Louis D. Alemayehu and Jonathan S. Bucki For generations, people have recognized that the industrial growth economy is destructive and ultimately will engage in its own catabolic demise. Long before the 1972 seminal work Limits to Growth modeled the consequences of finite resources supplies and increasing world population, our indigenous …

Read moreThe Transition Movement: Building Resilience in Uncertain Times

The Understanding of Your Housing Rights

Elizabeth A. Emerson VISTA Tenant Advocate It goes without saying that a housing problem exists in the Twin Cites. Private landlords and tenants alike find it increasingly difficult to maintain their housing and tenants, and the housing market shows no signs of relieving either group. Sustainable housing is an important …

Read moreThe Understanding of Your Housing Rights

Workparties: Many Hands Make Light Work

Philipp Muessig Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network Each month, like a roving band of grain threshers or barn raisers, my family of four and two other households descend upon one of our homes to paint, build, garden and clean, and to eat, drink and be merry. This is our work cooperative, …

Read moreWorkparties: Many Hands Make Light Work

Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota

Sue Roegge “As high school youth we have the power to unite. Instead of small organizations, we can come together as students representing all of Minnesota high schools to initiate real environmental action and to make change happen.” -Ethan Buckner, YEA Minnesota No one can deny that awareness of environmental …

Read moreYouth Environmental Activists of Minnesota

Our Sponsors