Greening Minnesota ~ August/September
Though we missed Greening Minnesota last month, we certainly didn't forget about it! Once again, a round-up of earth-friendly news from our green and blue state.
Driving a Humvee or Escalade? Those giants are hard to park, but their available spaces have just been reduced. Signs that read "ECO VEHICLE PARKING Violators Towed at Vehicle Owners Expense," have appeared near the door of 8200 Building at Normandale Lake Office Park in Bloomington, which is home to the new Parma 8200 restaurant. Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op in St. Paul also has designated three prime spots for fuel-efficient cars.
A farmers market has opened in north Minneapolis! The Mini Farmer's Market is a small-scale weekly event on Tuesday afternoons from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on the east end of a large parking lot on Plymouth Avenue. The market will continue weekly through November, weather permitting. Unsold food at the end of the day will be donated to a local food shelf.
Saint Paul was recently awarded with a $50,000 grant to help train builders in energy-efficient and sustainable development. Nationally recognized architects from the University of Minnesota will spearhead the training to show builders how to follow the city's plans to go green. The aim is to help builders and their buildings meet standards set out in the St. Paul Sustainable Building Policy. Mayor Chris Coleman called the policy a "national model for green development."
In a time-span of less than 100 days, more than 50,000 people used the Nice Ride Minnesota. The program is now moving forward into its Phase II, exploring options to expand into North Minneapolis, St. Paul and first-ring suburbs. The program is drawing praise, not just locally, but nationally. Once again, other cities are looking to the Twin Cities to help launch their own similar bike share programs or learn how to expand existing services.
This week, September 20 through 24, is Farm to School week. This observance is designed to increase awareness about the benefits of the rapidly growing Farm to School initiatives around the state. The Farm to School program brings local produce to local school, which results in less fossil fuel energy being used in transportation, and fresher, more nutritious food being delivered to Minnesota's children.
Several hundred district and charter school teachers, businesspeople and students from all 50 states will meet in Minneapolis, October 24-26, for a conference. It is the nation’s first conference bringing together schools, non-profits, government and corporate partners to help encourage the growing “National Green Schools Movement. Discussions at the event will include green building techniques for public schools, curriculum that helps students learn about the environment, and green jobs that students may one day have.
Finally, some food for thought. A recent study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency condluded that public schools across Minnesota churn out nearly 500,000 pounds of trash each day and that most of it could be recycled. While just over 40% of the waste generated is being recycled currently, the study found that 78% could be recycled or composted. Food waste and recyclable paper account for nearly half of the total waste produced at schools.