Just south of the Minnesota River in northern Dakota County lie the cities of Burnsville, Eagan and Apple Valley, often collectively referred to as Dakota Valley. Burnsville, a city of 59,118, has garnered national acclaim for its environmental initiatives. The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Smarter Cities Project ranks Burnsville 5th in the nation for environmental sustainability and livability for cities under 100,000. Residents enjoy the city’s numerous wild spaces, including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge along the city’s north border.
The 63,751 residents of Eagan, Dakota County’s most populous community, are surrounded by 130 miles of walking trails, 350 lakes and ponds, and 54 municipal parks. The smaller, 50,074-person community of Apple Valley is most known as the home of the Minnesota Zoo, but has recently been put on the map for its green initiatives. In 2009, the city started a community-wide energy efficiency initiative, made possible by a two-year grant awarded to four Midwestern cities.
The Dakota Valley region has a unique recognition program for businesses that make responsible environmental choices called Awards for Reduction and Recycling of Waste, or ARROW. Residents can find the full 120-member list at DakotaValleyRecycling.org/ARROW.
Apple Valley Farmers Markets
â€¢ Apple Valley City Hall Open Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from June to October.
â€¢ Mount Olivet Church Open Tuesday afternoons during the summer months.
Burnsville Farmers Markets
> Mary Mother of the Church
Located in the church’s side lot Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. May through October.
> Diamondhead Senior Center
Saturdays in June through October from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Senior Campus parking lot (Burnsville Parkway and Pleasant Ave.).
Eagan Market Fest
Market Fest is a weekly summer event that features local fresh produce, hand-crafted artisan items, live entertainment, and activities for all ages. Wednesdays 4â€“8 pm, July through September.
Cub Foodsâ€”Apple Valley
Cub Foods in Apple Valley donates over 1300 lbs of food per week to 2nd Harvest Heartland food shelf. They focus on energy efficiency by using heat reclamation and converting to greener refrigeration cases. In 2005, Cub was awarded organic retailer certification by Quality Assurance International.
Barry and Judy George specialize in growing heirloom tomatoes and tomato plants naturally. Choose from over 80 varieties of plants and fresh-picked tomatoes.
Valley Natural Foods
Valley Natural Foods is a vibrant, sustainable, member-owned co-op providing the community with local, organic food and resources for healthy living.
Antiques Minnesota revolves around the concept of reuse; all of the antiques in the store are sold to new owners instead of going to the landfill. They have supplied quality antiques and collectibles to collectors and dealers for more than twenty eight years.
Autumn Place Arts
Brenda Weber is a local recycled jewelry artist who designs and creates
her art using "found" items from vintage typewriter keys to old
Led by a LEED accredited professional, CNH has received national attention for its sustainable architecture, including the Apple Valley Municipal Center. The sustainable designs focus on water conservation, energy efficiency, material/resource conservation and indoor air quality.
Dalseth Family and Cosmetic Dentistry offers quality dental care with sustainability in mind. Their office has gone green with geothermal heating, efficient lighting systems and eco-conscious landscaping.
The Deck Store
The Deck Store has a history of commitment to high environmental and health standards, using non-toxic ACQ wood for all of its deck designs since 2000. Scrap wood is remade into new products, diverting it from the landfill.
High-efficiency temperature control, LED lighting, use of eco-friendly cleaners and electricity from wind turbines will make Walser Subaru Minnesota’s first LEED-certified automotive dealership.
ARTS & RECREATION
Birnamwood Golf Course
This 9-hole golf course is certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International. The course features a 900 sq. ft. butterfly garden and a restored oak savanna.
Eagan Art House
Offering a variety of classes for art enthusiasts of all ages.
Eagan Community Center
A proud ARROW business, ECC is home to Market Fest, The Blast indoor playground, Oasis Teen Center, a fully-equipped fitness center, 55 Plus programs and ample space for meetings and special events.
Lebanon Hills Visitor Center
Gateway to the beautiful, 2,000-acre Lebanon Hills Regional Park, the Visitor
Center is located at the Schulze Lake Trailhead. Many sustainable features
were incorporated in the building, including the eye-catching vegetated "green" roof.
Dakota Valley Recycling
The shared recycling department for the Cities of Apple Valley, Eagan and Burnsville. DVR connects residents and businesses to recycling, composting and disposal information.
The Recycling Zone
From fluorescent bulbs and electronics to paint and yard chemicals, The Recycling Zone is Dakota County residents’ place to bring household items that do not belong in the trash.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA)
Serving Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount and Savage. MVTA’s Burnsville Transit Center showcases a 96-panel solar garden that generates a quarter to one-third of the station’s electricity during the summer months.
NOTE: The organizations and businesses on this page were chosen by the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by Do It Green! Minnesota.