The Building Blocks of a Better Life

Learning how to pickle cucumbers and green beans

Our local sustainability group — Transition Longfellow — has been helping people preserve their garden produce with group cucumber and bean pickling and group tomato canning workshops. This summer we’ve also built solar cookers and Little Free Libraries. Some members have gone berry picking together, toured each others’ gardens, and made jam, jellies and soups together. These are teaching and learning moments, but they are also friend-making and community building moments.

Transition Longfellow First Saturday Discussion Group

How often do you hear people complain that as they get older, it’s harder to make friends. It doesn’t have to be that way. Since becoming involved with the Transition movement, I have not only learned new skills, I’ve met literally hundreds of people with whom I have important things in common. I have made many new – and I hope lasting – friendships. It has enriched my life (and my pantry) immensely.

Learning about – and making – a solar cooker with friends from Transition Longfellow.

While it may be challenging to make significant lifestyle changes to reduce your carbon footprint, to reduce waste, or to grow your own food, building a network of supportive friends who are walking the same path makes this effort much more joyful and rewarding. We are amazed at not only the talent of people in our community, but also their willingness to share and teach. Last weekend, a very skilled carpenter helped a dozen people build Little Free Libraries together, making his studio available for us to use. Just yesterday, a new friend spent most of the day with me teaching me how to use a pressure canner to can soup.

Spreading the word that Longfellow has a neighborhood sustainability group and everyone is invited!

If you are in the Longfellow neighborhood, we hope you will join us. I think you’ll find many opportunities to participate and to build new friendships. We host a 1st Saturday discussion group at the Riverview Wine Bar from 10:30 to noon. We also host a potluck/movie night on the 3rd Friday of each month (starting again in Sept), at Bethany Lutheran Church on 36th Avenue and 39th St. Other events are offered occasionally throughout the year. Of course, if you’d like to lead an event or offer a training, please let us know. We’ll advertise it to our list.

Neighbors get to know one another while building “Little Free Libraries” together

If you live elsewhere, don’t wait for someone else to make things happen. YOU can make things happen. YOU can create a flyer and post it at as local coffee shop to create a sustainability group. YOU can host a reading group at your local library or church. If you are in the Twin Cities, contact the Alliance for Sustainability to see if they know others in your area who are interested in these types of activities or if there is already a group in your community.

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