Monday, March 29, 2010

Burning restrictions take effect in 25 counties, including Twin Cities area

Rapid snowmelt, low precipitation, and warm weather in the month of March have combined to create a condition that is unsafe for burning. A High Fire Danger Rating means unattended fires are likely to escape, quick to spread, and difficult to put out if not caught early. Beginning today, the DNR is placing restrictions on burning in several counties, including Ramsey and Hennepin. During this period, it is recommended that we compost or chip debris.

Follow these links for more information about fire danger and burning restrictions:

Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota DNR

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rain barrel and compost bin sale on now through the Recycling Association of Minnesota

Rain barrels and/or compost bins are available for Twin Cities residents to purchase from the Recycling Association of Minnesota. For those folks living in the Hamline Midway, you can also take the additional CRWD discount found here (pdf).
Order by 4/22/2010 to pick up at the Living Green Expo at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand North Parking Lot
May 1, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or May 2, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Accepting orders until April 22, 2010.

Compost Bin Available $55

The Earth Machine

Dimensions: 33" x 33"
Capacity: 10 cubic feet

Rain Barrel Styles Available:
Both styles $65

The Rain Catcher

Dimensions: 24" W x 34" H
Capacity: 54 gallons

The Systern

Dimensions: 34" H, 26.1" in diameter
Capacity: 55 gallons

Payment by credit card only. Prices listed above do not include sales tax.

Rebates offered for residents residing in: -Capitol Region Watershed District -Ramsey-Washington Watershed District To find out more, CLICK HERE (pdf).

DIRECTIONS FOR ORDERING: -ST. PAUL (Living Green Expo): May 1-2 (pdf)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Compostable Yard Waste Bag Requirements for Metro Residents

There are new requirements for yard waste bags in the Metro. Please note that City of Minneapolis residents are not required to use compostable bags until January 1, 2013, however no better time than the present to get started!

See this update from Rethink Recycling :

"Beginning January 1, 2010, residents in the Twin Cities area who bag their yard and organic waste will be required to put their waste out for pickup in compostable bags - either paper (kraft) bags or compostable plastic bags. This will affect residents in the following counties: Anoka, Carver, Hennepin (excluding the City of Minneapolis), Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.

Using paper and compostable plastic bags rather than traditional black plastic bags will greatly reduce the amount of plastic being sent to local composting facilities. Because local composters will have less plastic to screen out of their finished compost, processing costs will be reduced and the quality of the finished compost will be enhanced. Lower processing costs at local composting facilities should reduce the costs for haulers of yard waste, which may lead to lower prices that residents pay for yard waste service.

Compostable plastic bags are distinct from regular plastic bags because they are usually clear or a translucent shade of green or white. Most home improvement, grocery, and hardware stores now carry them. If you don't see them at your local store, ask an employee; many store owners are just learning of this requirement also and may appreciate the customer request."

More information can be found at

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friends of Horton Park gearing up to get back into the native plants

Friends of Horton Park are excited to get back into the garden in 2010 season! The group is participating in the St. Paul Park Annual Spring Clean-up on Sat. April 10th. Please join us at 9:00 am at Horton for spring greetings, light raking of the gardens, trimming of old stems and trash pick-up. We may get some sightings of our first spring flowers? Bring a buddy and any raking supplies if you have them (otherwise provided).

Be a native plant enthusiast while enjoying the greater Horton Park with fellow Hamline Midway neighbors. Gardening sessions are typically monthly on Sunday's at noon until 2pm. Garden website is FFI, or to get on this community garden's list contact

Friday, March 19, 2010

HMEG Announces a Yogurt Cup Re-Use Collection in the Midway at Shirtz Unlimited on Snelling Avenue

Please note: This collection has ceased due to expanded plastic recycling options at Whole Foods. You can take #5 plastics to the store located at Fairview and Grand Aves in St. Paul.

In the Midway area of St. Paul, HMEG members have set up a yogurt cup collection for the purposes of reuse. The collected cups will be made into seed starting kits. HMEG members have pondered waste reduction topics for some time, even writing applications for grants. There is the option to institutionalized waste; personal choice and action! Here is the yogurt cup collection announcement:

HMEG Announces a Yogurt Cup Re-Use Collection in the Midway at Shirtz Unlimited on Snelling Avenue. The Hamline Midway Environmental Group (HMEG), in partnership with the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM), invites you to recycle your large and small yogurt cups (with lids) to reduce waste! HMEG has arranged a neighborhood drop-off location at Shirtz Unlimited, a locally owned shirt screening business, on Snelling Avenue near the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue. The yogurt cup recycling is sponsored by the Recycling Association of The yogurt cups will be re-used to make seed starter kits for sale to the public. To recycle your yogurt cups and cottage cheese containers bring them to the Shirtz Unlimited store (755 Snelling Ave N, 651-645-3311). The pilot re-use program accepts only CLEAN single serving (6oz) and 32oz containers for recycling. Don't forget the lids! Please, no Yoplait brand or six-pack containers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer confirmed to have moved into southeast Minneapolis

Below is the press release about the find of the Emerald Ash Borer in Prospect Park, Minneapolis in February 2010. It was a happening that folks were expecting, but dreaded to hear. One-fifth of the boulevard trees in Minneapolis are Ash. The continuing infestation of EAB only highlights the efforts by the Hamline Midway Environment Group (HMEG) to fundraise around community tree planting projects.

If you live in a 5 mile radius from St. Anthony Park (Saint Paul) or Prospect Park (Minneapolis) please plant a tree this season!

Here are some of the local press available on this announcement:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirms emerald ash borer infestation in Minneapolis trees

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today confirmed an emerald ash borer infestation in four trees in the Prospect Park East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis within Tower Hill Park. This infestation is within a mile of the St. Paul neighborhood in which the tree pest was found last year. The infestation was discovered through an ongoing survey of ash trees in the vicinity of the South St. Anthony Park neighborhood, where EAB was found in May 2009. While this marks the first time emerald ash borer has been found in Minnesota outside Ramsey County, state officials said the discovery was anticipated. Last fall, scientists determined that the St. Paul infestation had been in place for about three years prior to detection. Since the
adult beetles can fly up to 2 miles each year, officials expected that the bug had spread into Minneapolis. “When we found the St. Paul infestation last May so close to the border of the two cities, we knew there was a good chance we’d find it in Minneapolis,” said MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe. “That’s why we included Hennepin County in the initial EAB quarantine, even though it had only been confirmed in Ramsey County.”

The EAB quarantine in place for Ramsey and Hennepin Counties prohibits moving from the counties any items that may be infested with EAB, including ash trees and ash tree limbs, as well as all hardwood firewood. This quarantine remains in effect in 2010. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Forestry Division is responsible for planting and maintenance of public trees on Minneapolis city streets and parkland. The Park Board’s forestry division has been working with MDA to prepare for the arrival of EAB. Next steps will include removal of infested trees and an intensified survey of all ash trees in the surrounding area.

EAB is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees. Its larvae kill ash trees by tunneling into the wood and feeding on the tree’s nutrients. Since its accidental introduction into North America, EAB has killed millions of ash trees in 13 states. The metallic-green adult beetles are a half inch long, and are active from May to September. Signs of infestation include one-eighth inch, D-shaped exit holes in ash tree bark and serpentine tunnels under the bark. Officials remind Minnesotans they can take the following steps to keep EAB from spreading:

• Don’t transport firewood. Buy firewood locally from an approved vendor, and burn it where you buy it;
• Be aware of the quarantine restrictions. If you live in a quarantined county, be aware of the special restrictions on movement of products such as ash trees, ash limbs, and firewood. Details on the quarantines can be found online at; and

• Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. If you suspect your ash tree could be infested by EAB, visit and use the “Do I Have Emerald Ash Borer?” checklist.
MPRB Emerald Ash Borer Preparedness Plan

Michael Schommer Communications Director , Minnesota Department of Agriculture 651-201-6629
Janell Wojtowicz Communication Specialist Minneapolis Park and Recreation, Board 612-230-6414

HMEG/Midway Greening and Growing set-up Whole Farm drop site in Midway to increase local food options

HMEG member Nine Dodge got this arrangement made in effort to increase local food's access in the Midway area. See her announcement:

Ahmed, the owner of the Hamline/Thomas SuperUSA, has agreed to be the drop site for Whole Farm Co-op. He has refrigerator space to store our locally-produced goodness upon delivery until we are able to pick up (hopefully promptly and while also buying other items on occasion)

Whole Farm Co-op is a network of 30+ farms near the Twin Cities. By getting together to do orders, marketing, and delivery, they are able to be small producers who really know & care about what they offer us as consumers. We order online; products include meats, dairy,
groceries, crafts, garden produce in the summer, and more.

Deliveries will be monthly in the 3rd week -- Wednesdays. That means orders need to be in by May 13th for the first delivery on Wednesday, May 20th. Note: You should receive a "store confirmation" within 3 days saying that Whole Farm has your order. Kristin is the name of our
contact person there. She fields emails at or calls M,W,F at 320.732.3023

This is all really cool to me because it is recognizing and patronizing a local business as well as supporting local farmers and artisans and the awesome products they offer. It's also really flexible -- you can order every month or not as often, check out different products that interest you.

Look at the website to learn more or to make your order

Community Garden Spring Resource Fair on Sat., March 27

This year's line-up is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Resource Fairs to date. Ashley Atkinson from Greening of Detroit is coming! She is a very respected community organizer, with expertise in community gardening and urban agriculture. Ashley will share her story and experiences in the keynote speech kicking off the Fair, and then presenting at two workshops later in the day.

Ashley is part of a collaborative that has created an inspiring real-life example of how to enhance neighborhood-based food production and make our communities more resilient and our community gardens more sustainable. Detroit's Cluster Networks have inspired Twin Cities community gardeners to think about a metro area where there is strong support for gardening at the neighborhood level-

* where community gardens are at the core of this community-based food system...
* where flower gardens are crucial to the livability of our communities and food production system -- we're all in it together!
* where neighbors are creating an infrastructure and network so that everyone interested in participating in a community food system can do so...
* where there is ongoing support and learning to improve how we garden for the yummiest yields while improving the health of environment at the same time.

But that's not all -- strong workshops, diverse exhibitors -- learn about what's happening in Minneapolis and St. Paul are enhancing local foods, hear what Extension is up to and pick up a Urban Soils Guide.

You can download and print the flyer at

The Sixth Annual Community Garden Spring Resource Fair
Saturday March 27th, 2010
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sabathani Community Center, 310 East 38th St, Minneapolis
Free Parking $5 Suggested Donation at Door

Keynote Ashley Atkinson, Director of Project Development and Urban Agriculture, The Greening of Detroit: How Detroit Works Together to Strengthen Neighborhood-Based Food Production. Twelve workshops, activities for the kids, and engaging educational displays throughout the day! Details and directions at this page or call Gardening Matters at 612-492-8964.