Category Archives: Longfellow Community

Support LOCAL Community-Building Resources This Season

Many people make end-of-year financial gifts to charities, either in the name of a family member as a holiday gift, or for tax purposes. If this is part of your tradition, consider adding local community-building organizations to your list of gift recipients. Without these civic-minded folks, it would be much harder to connect.

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Thanks for Reading

At the Personal Permaculture discussion last Saturday I met a reader who has been following my blog for awhile. She told me how much she appreciated my simple, to-the-point writing style. She liked that I shared both what worked and what didn’t work, what we were doing now and what was going to have to wait. She liked that it was realistic.

What a nice thing to hear! I’m happy if that’s the message that comes across because this journey is about progress, not perfection.

  • It’s about deciding that, although it’s 11 below 0, I’m going to try riding my bike to yoga. I may not always do it, but I’m going to do it this time. And if it works out – hey, maybe I’ll do it again.
  • It’s about buying that GO TO bus pass so that cash in hand is not the barrier to taking the bus. It makes it easier to choose mass transit for my trips.
  • It’s about telling my neighbor what I’m doing because they may know more about this than I do, they might be able to help me, or they might want to do it with me.

That’s what I love about the monthly discussion groups of Transition Longfellow. I learn new things and I get so many more ideas when I hear what other people are doing. Everyone I meet is an inspiration and that’s what I need to keep up my energy as I continue to look for ways to minimize my family’s carbon footprint.

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.

Irrigation-Free Landscaping Workshop

Some of the effects of global climate instability are increasingly violent storm activity as well as high temps and droughts. Many north Longfellow homes are already challenged by occasional basement flooding during heavy storms and it’s not uncommon for water to collect in the street when the sewer system becomes overburdened from heavy rains. Landscaping can help both of these problems – providing a way for rainwater to stay on the homeowners property and out of the sewer, and minimizing the impact of drought and water needed to maintain plants in the yard.

On Saturday, July 28th, from 11:00 am to noon, the landscape design firm PRAIRIEFORM will lead a workshop on irrigation-free landscaping for residents of the Longfellow neighborhood. Irrigation-free landscaping combines drought-tolerant planting techniques and “drought training” for plants. It creates a landscape that does not require supplemental watering and that minimize rainwater runoff from a property while still providing an animal- and people-friendly yard. The irrigation-free landscape is formal enough to fit in a front-yard setting.

The workshop will be held in a yard on the northeast corner of 28th Street & 42nd Avenue. This is the location of the irrigation-free landscaping pilot project the neighborhood undertook last year, with funding from the homeowner, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and LCC’s Environment & Transportation Committee.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP (appreciated but not required) to Spencer: or call 612-722-4529 ext. 5.