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Archive | July, 2013

KaratePhoto

‘The Art’ martial arts studio offers training for children and adults

Posted on 12 July 2013 by robwas66

KaratePhotoAward-winning martial arts teacher, Jake Erling, has just opened The Art, LLC Martial Arts Studio in Falcon Heights. The Art offers martial arts training for children and adults. Their rigorous programs include training from white to black belt, plus basic self-defense tactics that can prepare adolescents on how to handle situations with bullies in the schoolyard.

Erling began his martial arts training at the age of six and became a 1st degree black belt at age fifteen. With 21 years of experience, he now holds a 3rd degree black belt.

“As a little kid, I was mesmerized with Bruce Lee and wanted to be just like him,” Erling recalls.  “He is the reason I started taking karate classes. What I didn’t know at the time is how much of a positive impact the martial arts world would be on my life, my health, my attitude, my everything!  Martial arts is more than a sport, it’s really an art form and a lifestyle – that’s why I named my new studio, The Art.”

Erling has trained hundreds of award winning students who have become instructors themselves. He is still an avid Bruce Lee fan and teaches his students about the martial arts icon every chance he gets. He even proudly sports a Bruce Lee tattoo on his forearm as a reminder of the great man who set his life on the right path.

He goes on to explain, “The Art’s martial art style is a mix of traditional Tae Kwon Do, American Karate, American Kickboxing, an embraces many Gracie JiuJitsu practice. It’s a real combination of the best of the best!”

To register for classes, call 612-598-3065, email theartllc@hotmail.com, or stop by The Art Martial Arts Studio, 1535 W. Larpenteur Avenue, Falcon Heights, Falcon Crossing Mall, Lower Level.

 

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Top authors coming to Hamline

Posted on 12 July 2013 by robwas66

Over the next week, Hamline University invites the public to several book readings by nationally known authors of literature for young people as part of its Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) residency. Distinguished guest authors include Newbery Medal winning author Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux), Emily Jenkins, Franny Billingsley, William Alexander, and John Coy.  Faculty readings will be presented by Ron Koertge, Marsha Qualey, Phyllis Root, Gary Schmidt, Laura Ruby, Marsha Chall, Swati Avashti, Claire Rudolf Murphy, Gene Yang, Eleanora Tate, and Anne Ursu. All readings are free and open to the public. Readings by graduating students will also be open to the public on July 16, 17, 18, & 20, all starting at 6:45 p.m. in Drew Science Center Room 118, which is located behind Old Main at 1536 Hewitt Avenue.

Friday, July 12, 6:45 – 8 p.m., Drew Science Center, Room 118, 1536 Hewitt Avenue. Authors: Ron Koertge, Marsha Qualey, Phyllis Root

Sunday, July 14, 6:45 – 8 p.m., Drew Science Center, Room 118, 1536 Hewitt Avenue. Authors: Gary Schmidt, Laura Ruby, Marsha Chall, Swati Avasthi

Monday, July 15, 6:45 – 8 p.m., Drew Science Center, Room 118, 1536 Hewitt Avenue. Authors: Claire Rudolf Murphy, Gene Yang,  Eleanora Tate, Anne Ursu

Tuesday, July 16, 3:30 – 4 p.m., School of Law Building, Room 103, 1518 Hewitt Avenue. Author: Emily Jenkins

Wednesday, July 17, 1:50 -2:15 p.m., School of Law Building, Room 103, 1518 Hewitt Avenue. Author: Franny Billingsley

Thursday, July 18, 3 – 3:20 p.m., Giddens Learning Center, Room 100E, 1556 Hewitt Avenue, Author: John Coy

Saturday, July 20, 11 – 11:20 a.m., Giddens Learning Center, Room 100E, 1556 Hewitt Avenue, Author: William Alexander

Sunday, July 21, 3:30- 4:30 p.m., Drew Fine Arts Center, Anne Simley Theatre, 1530 Taylor Avenue, Keynote Address: Kate DiCamillo

 

 

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GardeningJuly2013_feature

‘City kids’ develop green thumbs at Midway Y community garden

Posted on 11 July 2013 by robwas66

(Left to right) - Nora Wolfe, Abdi Aman, Sahiti Pogula, Pastor Joy Johnson from Open Hands Midway/Bethlehem Lutheran Church In-the-Midway.

(Left to right) – Nora Wolfe, Abdi Aman, Sahiti Pogula, Pastor Joy Johnson from Open Hands Midway/Bethlehem Lutheran Church In-the-Midway.


By JAN WILLMS

City kids don’t always have an opportunity to plant a garden. But with the help of organizations, volunteers and donations, about 130 children will have the chance to watch plants and seeds grow into healthy vegetables they can share with their families.

St. Paul Midway YMCA Teaching Growing Gardens started with a conversation back in January between Cathy Quinlivan, the Y’s director of healthy living, and Susan Schuster, senior consultant of community affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

“Susan had started connecting for-profit organizations to nonprofits in 2009 to give food to the community,” Quinlivan said. “She said she had been looking for a year for children’s centers with youngsters at the poverty line to engage BCBS employees to form a partnership. She did a site visit and thought the YMCA would be perfect.” Approximately 90 per cent of the children are under the poverty line.

As discussions for a community garden at the Y’s location at 1761 University Ave. continued, the plan was turning into reality by May of this year. Quinlivan started talking to Mary Maguire Lerman, a Y board member and master gardener. Ideas were exchanged on how to create the community garden.

In the third week of May, Vicky Vogels from the Minnesota State Horticultural Society (MSHS) entered the picture. MSHS had a Garden-in-a-Box program, with kits including a 3’ x 4’ fabric raised-bed garden box, soil and vegetable plants. MSHS donated 40 of those boxes to the St. Paul Midway YMCA.

The goal of the Garden-in-a-Box program is to teach people to grow their own fresh produce and experience the benefits of gardening; affordable, healthy food; exercise; outdoor activity and community growth.

“We got some staff and volunteers and a flatbed trailer and moved 440 pounds of soil,” Quinlivan explained. “We made three trips bringing it here.” The plants were stored in Lerman’s yard for a period of time, and on June 14 volunteers from BCBS, the U of M extension staff, the Y, Open Hands Midway Food Shelf and the St. Paul Sunrise Rotary, as well as individuals who heard about the project, assisted children from the day camps and childcare at the Y in planting.

David Motzenbecker, a landscape architect with the Cuningham Group, designed the garden structure. The focal point of the site is an oak tree with rays coming out from the tree. With funding from BCBS, the Y has purchased stock tanks that will be placed on the site in July.

“The gardens look permanent, but are temporary,” Quinlivan remarked. “We have our Christmas tree sales there, so we will have to put the boxes away and put them up again next year.”

But for now, the kids are growing food for themselves and their families, as well as the food shelf.

Although the Y has a hose, Quinlivan said she has gotten little watering cans for the children. “I like to have as many hands helping as possible,” she noted.

She said the youth groups are really caring for their gardens, watering and weeding and cleaning debris from the grounds. They will soon be staking tomatoes. Annual and perennial flowers have also been added.

To receive the Garden-in-a-Box kits, the project must be sustainable and continue for two years.

Quinlivan said garden curriculum teachers are helping the kids look at various problems they may encounter, such as what to do if there is too much rain or how to handle critters in the garden.

Okra and bean seeds are starting to come up, Quinlivan noted. Cherry and regular tomatoes, kale, beets and bush beans are among the crops being raised.

“In the future, we want to make scarecrows and look at composting and rain barrels,” she added. “But right now we are trying to be good stewards of what the earth can provide us.”

She said the doors of the Y are open to serve the community in whatever way it can to make people healthier.

“This will be a good model for all YMCAs,” Quinlivan said.

The Garden-in-a-Box project is a positive factor in so many ways, according to Quinlivan. The vegetables can provide healthier eating and serve in preventing diabetes and obesity. The Y is available for exercise for people of all ages. The project can also be used to teach cooking methods and food safety.

“The Teaching Giving Garden just fits right along with healthy living,” she added.

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RiceStJuly2013_feature2

Rice Street Festival Holds fond memories for all

Posted on 11 July 2013 by robwas66

On Wed., July 24, 6 p.m., there will be an Old Timers Softball Game, Kamps vs. Stasnys, Rice and Lawson fields.

On Wed., July 24, 6 p.m., there will be an Old Timers Softball Game, Kamps vs. Stasnys, Rice and Lawson fields.


By DEBORAH BROTZ

At 103 years old, the Rice Street Festival holds fond memories for many people. Royalty director Monette Moorman’s favorite memory is the Car Show. Sharing activities director with Kevin Barrett, Gidget Bailey’s favorite memory is the parade. Barrett’s favorite memory is driving his mother in his pickup truck in the parade. With the festival running from Wed., July 24-Sun., July 28, people will be making their own memories this year to treasure for years to come.

Moorman, sums up being royalty director in one word: busy.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “The girls and candidates are such great representatives of this community. They’re fun to be around.”

At the Kickoff Dinner, Delaine Crawford, who lives in the North End, was named Grand Marshal of the Rice Street Parade.

“He was very surprised by it,” said Moorman. “He has been doing the football program for the booster club in the North End and coaches football at Como Park Senior High School. This is all volunteer work.”

Moorman’s favorite memory from years ago is the Car Show.

“Every year the royal ladies pick the top three cars,” she said. “I love old cars. I’m an outdoor girl who could walk around old cars all day and be happy.”

It’s important for Moorman to be involved in the festival because of her feelings for the community.

“I think it’s because of how much I love the community,” she said. “I want to make sure we have this festival to bring the community together here in the North End.”

Bailey, who owns Tin Cup’s, wanted to be involved in planning the festival because of her business.

“I wanted the community to know us as a small business that is really involved in the community,” she said. “The Rice Street Parade is the second oldest parade in St. Paul. I wanted to make sure it still continues on.”

Bailey feels festival highlights will include Rockin’ and Rollin’ Down Rice Street, on Fri., July 26, starting at 7 p.m., and the Car Show and High Heel Race, on Sat., July 27.

For Rockin’ and Rollin’ Down Rice Street, seven bars: Born’s Bar, Ron’s Bar, Tin Cup’s, Foundry Pub, Wilebski Blues Saloon, Freddy’s Tiki Hut, and McCarron’s Pub, will join together as a community.

“Each bar will have a different venue,” said Bailey. “Tin Cup’s is doing Back to the ‘80s. All employees will be dressing in ‘80s clothing. The DJ will only play music from the ‘80s.”

Like many other North End residents, Bailey’s favorite memory is the Rice Street Parade.

“I was born and raised in the Rice Street area,” she said. “The parade was always the highlight because we could be with all our friends. We knew at the end of July, we would see all our friends we went to school with. It’s still a thrill to see people I haven’t seen in awhile.”

Bailey says everybody knows the last Thursday in July is the Rice Street Parade.

“It’s nice to see the community come together,” she said. “For one night, everybody is the same. It’s nice to see people have so much pride and dignity in the area that everybody just wants to celebrate.”

The Old Timers Fast Pitch Softball game on Wed., July 24, is another highlight for Bailey.

“These people range in age from 45 to 90 years old,” she said. “Some of them don’t even live in the area, but they faithfully come back.”

In her second year of sharing activities director with Barrett, Bailey’s reason for getting involved in planning the festival is simple.

“I just want to make sure in the years to come that we still have a festival,” she said. “I don’t want to see it go away. If anything, I want to see it become bigger and better every year.”

Barrett, who owns Dar’s Double Scoop Ice Cream & Pizza Shop, says he has been involved in the Rice Street Festival since his shop opened up two days before the 2005 Rice Street Festival.

“It’s been going on for 103 years,” he said. “The reason is to keep the tradition alive. I would hate to see it die when all these people before us kept it alive.”

For Barrett, the festival’s highlight is the parade.

“I sponsor a Royalty Candidate,” said Barrett. “She’s an ex-employee of mine. She’s been with me for three years and quit when she went to college. The winner who is Queen can run for Queen of Snows. The last two Queen of Snows came from our Royalty Program. We’re a feeder for Winter Carnival Royalty.”

Barrett’s favorite festival memory has to do with his mother, Darlene, who he named his shop after.

“The first year I had her in the back of a pickup truck, I still remember her face waving to all the kids,” he said.

As a business owner, Barrett wants to see the festival keep growing.

“103 years is an incredible amount of time,” he said. “I want to see it grow and be strong and hand it off to someone else. What I love is it shows off our street.”

Don Apitz, parade director, is working on what he considers will be a parade highlight.

“If I pull it off, it will be something this town has never seen before,” he said. “There will be lots of lights and sirens in one whole city block. It’s a very impressive thing.”

Apitz has thoroughly enjoyed being parade director.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “People who are on this committee are all working together. When I was out of town, the committee stepped up and helped out. It’s a very good group of individuals.”

Moving to the Rice Street area from Isanti in 2013, Apitz couldn’t resist being involved in the festival.

“I was involved in Isanti for 15 years,” he said. “I moved down here so I jumped in with both feet.”

Bailey hopes the Rice Street Festival is a huge success.

“I hope everybody enjoys every minute of it,” she said. “I also hope everybody appreciates the hard work that goes into it to keep it going. There are so many volunteer hours that go into this. Planning started in January. I hope everybody really appreciates it, has a fantastic time, and makes many new memories that their children are able to carry on.”

For information, visit: ricestreetfestival.com

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Project for Pride in Living tackles two buildings at University and Hamline

Project for Pride in Living tackles two buildings at University and Hamline

Posted on 11 July 2013 by robwas66

Project for Pride in Living (PPL) is planning its newest St. Paul project on the north side of University between Hamline and Syndicate on the former Midway Chevrolet site.

Project for Pride in Living (PPL) is planning its newest St. Paul project on the north side of University between Hamline and Syndicate on the former Midway Chevrolet site.


By JANE MCCLURE

University Avenue’s transformation continues, spurred on by the upcoming Central Corridor or Green Line light rail service and the potential for new development. Construction is underway in the area between Prior and Fairview avenues, as the new Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity building and Episcopal Homes expansion are well underway. Many projects will be completed or taking shape by the time light rail begins running in 2104.

Now Project for Pride in Living (PPL) will take its turn. The nonprofit housing and jobs provider is planning its newest St. Paul project on the north side of University between Hamline and Syndicate on the former Midway Chevrolet site.

PPL Executive Director Steve Cramer said the nonprofit is pleased to be part of the changes along University. Area residents will see the dirt fly next year.

PPL will build two buildings on the block. The two buildings will each be four stories tall and have a total of 108 dwelling units. Hamline Station West will have 14,249 square feet of main floor retail space and 57 housing units above. Hamline Station East will have 57 dwelling units and no retail. PPL recently won city assistance in the form of tax increment financing (TIF) and has been assembling financing from a number of sources.

“There’s still miles to go, but getting the TIF districts approved is a very important first step,” said Cramer. He said that work to finalize building plans and financing will continue in 2013, with construction starting in 2014.

The projects will provide affordable housing and new retail right on the light rail line and a short distance from Hamline Station. Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark praised the project, saying it gives people a transit-friendly housing option. “This has been in the works for a long time.”

More changes are coming. The long-awaited redevelopment of the former Metro Transit bus barn site and the Midway Marketplace land to the east got underway in late June as Metropolitan Council sought assistance with redevelopment. That area has been eyed for projects including a theater, mixed-use development, a Best Buy and Home Depot. Area residents have long hoped for new retail there.

The most recent request for proposals is meant to bring in a party with redevelopment proposals that are transit-oriented. That will be followed by actually seeking a new developer or developers.

Work also continues on redevelopment of the former Old Home Dairy site into retail and housing, with apartments and new townhouses. A collaborative group is working to redevelop that site.

Also, Beacon InterFaith Housing is continuing its work on Prior Crossing at 1949 University, for a five-story, 44-unit supportive housing development for homeless youth ages 18-25. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2014.

 

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StoryweaversJuly2013_feature

Episcopal Homes residents collaborate on recently released collection of prose and poetry

Posted on 11 July 2013 by robwas66

A new collection of prose and poetry is a result of two writing groups at Episcopal Homes, Storyweavers and Scribblers. The Storyweavers group has been meeting for the past three years, and Scribblers was born a year and a half ago. Writers at Episcopal Homes meet with a Monitor reporter to talk about their recent publication. (Photo by Paul Hagen)

A new collection of prose and poetry is a result of two writing groups at Episcopal Homes, Storyweavers and Scribblers. The Storyweavers group has been meeting for the past three years, and Scribblers was born a year and a half ago. Writers at Episcopal Homes meet with a Monitor reporter to talk about their recent publication. (Photo by Paul Hagen)


By JAN WILLMS

Some have been teachers and professors. Others have spent their lives in business and industry. One has been in politics for many years and another is a member of the clergy.

But with a myriad of backgrounds, these current residents of Episcopal Homes, a retirement community along University Avenue in Saint Paul, now have one thing in common. They are all published writers.

Working with Roger Barr, who has been a professional writer for the past 30 years, they have put together a book, “Weaving Life: Prose & Poetry,” that was published in June.

The book is a result of two writing groups at Episcopal Homes, Storyweavers and Scribblers. The Storyweavers group has been meeting for the past three years, and Scribblers was born a year and a half ago. The groups are facilitated by Julie Niewald, manager of Cornelia House, and Andrea Erickson, services coordinator at Seabury.

The groups meet once a week to talk about their writing and provide feedback to one another on their work.

“It’s cheap group therapy,” quipped David Girard, one of the participants. But it is much more than that. It draws on experiences from individuals who have led lives that have taken them across the world, as well as dwelling in Minnesota.

“What is fascinating is that we all come from different backgrounds,” said Ruby Hunt, a member of Storyweavers.

And the book focuses on those backgrounds, from stories and poems of the Depression to a tribute to an unborn child to youthful adventures to a prosaic description of willows. There is much more, stories that trace the fabric of lives that have been lived fully, and provide the reader with a look into history, both local and global.

“I have a lot of great grandchildren,” explained Marjorie Fletcher, “and the reason I’m writing has to do with the way my generation lived. It’s important for future generations to know the past—it’s why we have history.”

LaVon Woodcock said she started writing memoirs when she first began telling some stories to her son. “He asked me to write things that he and his siblings wanted to know, and they would suggest topics for me.” Woodcock said she first began writing for her school newspaper when she was in junior high. When she married, letters home became very long because of where she and her husband lived.

Jim Daly began writing memoirs for his high school graduation class for their reunions, putting a lot of humor into his anecdotes. He said that if he can write pieces that he finds funny, his hope is that readers will also find his writing humorous.

Bob Willis, who started writing poetry when he was teaching at Hamline University, said he has found the writing groups to be a wonderful opportunity. “There is good feedback and good personal support,” he said.

Irma Wyman has another purpose for her writing. She has endowed some scholarships, and she makes it a point to have lunch with the recipients and visit with them.

“Thirty years from now, I won’t be going to lunch with them. So I have written some things that I want the endowing institution to supply them with,” she said.

For Father Jogues Epple, the writing provides stimulation as well as friendship.

“I had just started with Storyweavers when my 80th birthday came up,” he said. “Jim Palmer wrote a poem, Ode to 80. And I thought it was just for me.”

“I am here for the mental health,” Epple continued. “You have a choice in old age to keep your brain active or not.” He quoted his friend Palmer about the writing. “Jim said history is made up of imagination and facts.”

Palmer had been an active writer, and his piece on the Depression can be found in the book. However, he died before the book was published. His picture is there when the writing groups meet, and his presence is still felt.

“Our time together is so highly valued and so precious,” claimed Niewald. She said that Creative Ventures was a program established before the writers’ groups began meeting. “The foundation has supported our efforts and paid for publishing the book,” she added.

Erickson said that the Scribblers and Storyweavers have brought together individuals from all parts of Episcopal Homes: the independent living, assisted living and nursing home residents.

“It’s nice to get to know the people from all the buildings,” she said. “This has built a lot of community and friendship.”

For Barr, it seemed like an event waiting to happen. He said he has had a history with Episcopal Homes that has unfolded over the years. He had given some readings to the residents and was asked by them to assist them with some writing instructions, to help them review their skills and hone their writing abilities.

He did so, and when the groups agreed they wanted to become published writers, he served as the editor of “Weaving Life: Prose and Poetry.”

“These are very educated people with very strong writing skills,” he said. “I told them to work on that piece you have always wanted to write.” He said editing the book was both fun and challenging, bringing together stories from such diverse backgrounds.

Barr said the writers look upon him as a mentor. “And I look at them as the kind of person I want to be.”

Anyone who is interested in a copy of the book can contact Niewald at JNiewald@ehomesmn.org

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Page & Flowers leading urban garden movement in the Twin Cities

Page & Flowers leading urban garden movement in the Twin Cities

Posted on 11 July 2013 by robwas66

 

Page & Flowers is working with the city regarding regulation surrounding the hoop house next to their home in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

Page & Flowers is working with the city regarding regulation surrounding the hoop house next to their home in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.


Local couple named 2013 Ramsey County Farm Family of the Year

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN

The 2013 Ramsey County Farm Family of the Year lives and farms in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

Cherry Flowers and Tim Page of Page & Flowers (formerly named Holistic Health Farms) are part of the growing movement of urban farmers. “We were the first people to put up a hoop house in St. Paul,” Flowers said. The 6.5-foot high hoop house sits alongside their home. It’s one of the many innovative methods the two have employed in their urban garden plots.

“We push the envelope,” Flowers said.

They believe that urban farms are important and that they empower the people who contribute. “In neighborhoods that have community gardens, the crime rates go down,” said Flowers. “Property values go up. Communities are connected.”

The hoop house enables the farmers to extend the Minnesota growing season significantly, which gives them an edge at farmer’s markets. In the winter, they use the hoop house for compost. The compost is used to enrich their soil, which in turn enables them intensively farm the small plots they have.

Page and Flowers are actively working with St. Paul and Minneapolis officials to standardize the requirements on hoop houses. In Minneapolis, they are considered a temporary structure, Flowers pointed out. Right now in St. Paul, they are considered a permanent structure, similar to other outbuildings. The size is limited, and footings are required. Page and Flowers are working with St. Paul right now regarding their own hoop house. They’ve had to make it smaller to comply with regulations, and are installing 12-foot-deep concrete footings. St. Paul’s regulations are limiting for the urban farmer, Flowers noted, many of who are using land that they don’t own.

TECHNIQUES TO MAXIMIZE LAND USE

“We try to use a lot of techniques to maximize the use of the land,” said Flowers. She added that if they owned 140 acres, they wouldn’t need to be as conscious of space as they are. But because they have small plots in the city, they try to cram as many plants together as they can.

With companion planting, Flowers and Page put plants together that benefit each other, such as mint and cabbage and asparagus and strawberries.

Within their rows, there is a mixture of vegetables. Between the tomatoes is basil and at the ends of the lettuce rows are onions.

They don’t walk on the rows where they plant to avoid compacting the soil.

They use SPIN techniques, planting a lot of items in two-foot-wide rows that are easier to weed. The staggered rows resemble the pattern of a dice. Instead of placing carrots three inches apart in rows that are 15 inches apart, their carrots are merely three inches apart.

Rows that are skinnier cuts down on labor costs because they are easier to weed. They also lay burlap coffee bags between plants to keep the weeds down, a product they’ve found works much better than other options. “It allows us to focus more on growing and less on weeding,” said Flowers.

GARDENING THROUGH EXPERIENCE

Flowers learned about gardening at a boarding school in Iowa where she lived during her four high school years. The students did everything there, including butchering pigs and making yogurt. Her passion has most recently led her to attend the classes to be a Ramsey County Master Gardener; she has 50 volunteer hours left before earning her certification.

Page picked up his knowledge of gardening through the youth work he’s done.

The duo met working in an urban garden in North Minneapolis where teens from low-income families were learning about how to grow their own food.

In addition to the plot next to their house, Page and Flowers operate a one-acre market garden at Maryland and Arundel St. in St. Paul’s North End neighborhood. The land is owned by Sparc, a community development corporation, and was initially slated to be a housing development. When the market changed, Sparc decided to focus on market gardens. Page and Flowers only use about half the site there, and host a community garden on the other half.

The duo also farm on certified organic land in North Branch that is owned by the Women’s Environmental Institute. They are involved with gardens in North Minneapolis, and last year provided a site for a Picnic Operetta by Mixed Precipitation Theater. Over 150 attended the event in their garden, which included not just the musical performance but a 5-course sampling menu.

TRANSFORMING LIVES

Page and Flowers are known for their youth mentoring work through Boys Totem Town in St. Paul and Emerge Community Development in North Minneapolis. The look for opportunities to put youth and seniors together. Their work tends to involve gardening. They believe it is important to teach young people about where their food comes from. “I can’t tell you how many kids have no idea that carrots come from the ground,” said Flowers. “It’s exciting to see the transformation.”

TOUGH TO MAKE A LIVING AS FARMERS

Despite all the effort they put into growing vegetables, the duo recognizes that they can’t make a living off of just farming. Even rural farmers often have second jobs, Flowers pointed out.

In addition to working elsewhere, Flowers and Page have begun focusing on “value-added products” that they sell while at farmer’s markets. These items include the burlap coffee bags that block weeds, and several food items: salsa verde, Page’s Cha Cha relish/chutney, zucchini bread and flavored vinegars. Flowers & Page can be found each Saturday at the Mill City Farmer’s Market and on Sundays at the Linden Hills Farmer’s Market.

Page teaches classes on how small entrepreneurs can survive in part by focusing on value-added products. He also manages Market on the Bluff at 798 E. 7th St., an event on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Why do farmers need an extra job to survive? Why is food in the United States so cheap? Why can’t a lot of people afford to buy food? Those questions point to problems with the United States food supply.

“We think that local, sustainable food is part of the solution,” said Flowers.

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Discovery Club