April 2018        Smaller footprint. Stronger community.       TransitionASAP.org        District 12, St. Paul, Minnesota
In this issue:

It's clothesline season!  Visit us at the Hampden Park Co-op Sunday afternoon,
April 22, and take home a free, earth-friendly clothesline kit.

How's our local soil & air quality?
Tuesday, April 3, 6:30-8 pm
SPNN studios (St. Paul Neighborhood Network) 
550 Vandalia St, Suite 170, St. Paul 55114
New findings! See an interactive map showing sites of legacy soil pollution in St. Anthony Park, and hear the results of a full year of local air quality monitoring by the MN Pollution Control Agency. Learn from state experts and SAP Community Council leaders.  

Seed swap & share
Saturday, April 7, 11:00-2:00
St. Paul City Middle School 
643 Virginia Street, St. Paul 55103
Hosted by Urban Farm and Garden Alliance. Free, but chip in $5 if you can.

Be a wildlife hero!
Join the Kasota Ponds cleanup crew
Saturday, April 14, 9:00 am
Meet at NAPA Auto Parts parking lot
2536 Kasota Avenue, St. Paul 

Enjoy the spring air, meet neighbors, and help pick up the debris that litters our wetlands area every year. Gloves, vests, trash bags provided (great snacks, too).  A ny time you can give is welcome:  fill out this form .  All ages. Help our wildlife and our water quality, too.

Transition Your Money group
(formerly Local Economy group) 
Wednesday, April 18, 6:30-8 pm
Lori's Coffee House 
1441 Cleveland Ave N., St. Paul 55108
Join us to explore investing in our values: see story, this issue. Email us 
for info. 

Local poets (including you!) 
Monday, April 16, 7 pm
Micawber's Books 
2230 Como Avenue, 
St. Paul 55108
Poets Alice Duggan, Dave Healy, Mimi Jennings, and Nicole Lynsky will start us off. Then the floor's open for other poets! Come early and browse the well-chosen titles at this treasure of a neighborhood bookstore.

Take the Clothesline Challenge! 
Sunday, April 22, 1-3 pm
Hampden Park Co-op
928 Raymond Avenue, St. Paul 55114
On Earth Day, shop at the Co-op and stop to see our simple, fun creative challenge for National Poetry Month. Meet the challenge and take home a free solar-powered clothes dryer (clothesline, clothespins, and hardware). 

Transition Town planning group  
Thursday, April 26, 7-9 pm
At 1496 Raymond Avenue, St. Paul  55108 
Join us in planning projects for a smaller footprint and a stronger community. Social time at 6:30.


Carbon-trade your summer vacation 

Are you planning a summer trip?  Make it carbon-neutral and use it as a "talk climate" opportunity, too. Read Michael Russelle's article " The Fare Isn't the Only Cost in Travel " in the March Park Bugle.  Learn to compare your options and then work off that carbon debt, with buddies! 



Want to learn a little more...?

Take a Permaculture Guilds workshop May 12.   At Frogtown Farm, learn about fruit trees, understory edibles, pollinator species, and permaculture layers.  Saturday morning, May 12, 9:00-10:30.  Register .

     ... or a lot more? 

Earn a Permaculture Design Certificate this summer.  Big River Permaculture's 12-day course spans eight weekends in spring and early summer.  Get hands-on practice and see living examples of permaculture in the Twin Cities, including these:
You'll get 72 hours of permaculture design coursework, over 20 hours of urban-focused teaching, and options for site internships, all with a lens of social and environmental justice.  Course dates for 2018:
April 21 & 22
May 5, 12, and 19
June 2 & 3, and 16 & 17
June 30 & July 1
July 7 (last day)

"Pay what you can" with options for work-trade, barter, scholarships. See the Twin Cities Permaculture Design Certificate site .


Stay in touch
Join our mailing list: email us at Communications@TransitionASAP.org.

Visit our Facebook page and group.  

On Twitter, we're @transitionasap1.

Submit news & views: email the editors,
Mindy Keskinen and Madeline Harpell.

Logo by Pat Thompson. Transition "t" and Bee by Regula Russelle.
Transition Your Money group: Let's invest local
by Pat Thompson

What if your retirement money could be put to work here, instead of in the stock market? Since November, a group has been meeting to create ways neighbors can invest not just locally, but hyper-locally in St. Anthony Park and adjacent communities. We're investigating methods that work for people who already have

Community support helps local enterprises thrive.
substantial amounts saved for retirement and for people who are just getting started, putting away $50 or $100 a month. We're looking at creating affordable housing, needed community services, co-op ownership structures, and more. And we're compiling a list of resources for responsible investing that are broader than the neighborhood, too, while still Twin Cities-based.  

We've named the group Transition Your Money, and we're part of Transition Town - All St. Anthony Park, with a web page here. TYM works with these guiding principles:
  • We plan to offer options for people at different stages of life and levels of wealth and income.
  • We will invest in this immediate geographic area and in a low-carbon future everywhere.
  • We will implement patient capital.
  • We will emphasize safeguarding of principal.
  • We share experience and expertise among ourselves and with others.
  • We partner with compatible community institutions.  
Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 18, 6:30 p.m., at Lori's Coffee House, 1441 Cleveland Avenue N. (at Buford). At that meeting, we hope to: 
  • hear from a Sunrise Banks rep about community-invested IRA options
  • get reports from group members on local credit union investment options and on a meeting some of us had with Land Bank Twin Cities
  • take possible action on forming a TYM Investment Co-op to do local projects
We meet every third Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Lori's, so mark May 16 and June 2 on your calendar, too. All are welcome to participate! To get on the list for notifications, email seagles@softwarecpr.com.

Pat Thompson 
co-leads Transition Your Money (with Sherm Eagles) and also leads our Transportation group. She is active with our planning group, the boards of the St. Anthony Park Community Council and the Creative Enterprise Zone, and the Friends School Plant Sale.
What's permaculture?
Gardening guided by nature
by Nadine Horchner 

Permaculture: we hear this term more often these days, but it's not new. Coined in the 1970s by Bill Mollison as shorthand for "permanent agriculture," the concept has gained currency as we face global challenges to our climate.

At his SAP Garden Club presentation in March, Daniel Halsey described permaculture as a method of sustainable crop production guided by the principles of nature. It integrates species diversity, interaction, and sustenance to create perennial, ecologically sound, productive, and resilient food systems. Like a forest ecosystem that is never depleted of food or biodiversity and where everyone gets fed, permaculture integrates all aspects of land and its inhabitants. 
Instead of working on the land (by plowing and planting rows of single crops, which quickly deplete nutrients and invite pests for a feast), permaculture methods work with the land, using "plant guilds" that enrich the soil, attract beneficial insects, provide shelter and food to animals, and offer harvests to humans in a sustainable, long-term system.
Each plant plays a part in this guild. Insectary plants are chosen to
attract friendly insects that build pollen resources and feed on pests. 
Source: Hemenway, Gaia's Garden. 

There are many books about permaculture -- two good ones are listed below, one co-authored by Halsey -- but the guiding principles are intuitive. Here are just a few (read more in source 2, p. 68).
  • Observe before Interacting. Watch the land and its patterns of light, wind, and moisture in all seasons before selecting the plants that would thrive there. Instead of subverting the land into something new, permaculture uses its existing elements and maximizes their benefits.
  • Use natural patterns. Incorporate existing land shapes and plant diversity (polyculture) to create small ecosystems resilient to the long-term effects of climate change and pests.
  • Catch and store resources while reducing waste. Catch sun energy and nitrogen from the atmosphere by planting sun-loving, nitrogen-fixing plants that enrich the soil. Catch and retain rainwater with swales and rain gardens.
You can apply these ideas on a small scale and with small steps. Just start somewhere and build on your success. Some projects you can try this year:
  1. Apply sheet mulch and "compost in place" to reduce weeds and build soil without tilling or herbicides. Apply a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard to block weed growth and top it off with a foot of organic mulch. As the mulch and plant matter gradually decompose, they enrich the soil. See source 1, p. 85.
  2. Replace your lawn with clover! It fixes nitrogen, enriches soil, needs no mowing, and provides food to bees (and bunnies, so they're less tempted by other garden snacks).
  3.   In this 8-foot keyhole garden, all plants can be reached from the center (cabbages in the outer ring). Source: Gaia's Garden.
    Install a swale in any sloping, damp areas. A swale is a shallow trench along the land's contour that lets rainwater slowly percolate through the soil, feeding the underground reservoir that helps sustain your garden during drought. See source 1, p. 100.
  4. Try a keyhole garden with interplanted vegetables in a bed 8 to 10 feet across (source 1, p. 38). Choosing crops can be a mental chess game as you consider height, sun, and time to harvest, but once you get hang of it, they will prosper. Read more on polyculture in source 1, p. 177.
  5. Add nitrogen-fixing plants to balance nutrients depleted by harvesting crops: for example, false indigo, lupine, beans, and alfalfa (source 1, p 189). 

As the snow melts and the air fills with the smell of spring Earth, it's time to ponder our primal connection to it and our dependence on its generosity. Permaculture principles help us reconnect to the wisdom of nature and find solutions to the complex environmental problems facing us and our children.


1. Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway: A great guide to the principles and practice of permaculture, for all levels.
2. Integrated Forest Gardening by Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, and Bryce Ruddock: A deeper analysis of natural ecosystems, polyculture, and plant guilds.

Nadine Horchner  is a physician who lives in St. Anthony Park. She has a passion for gardening and growing edible fruits, berries, and herbs in the neighborhood for everyone to share as part of the Incredible Edible movement.  Reach her at nadinehorchner@gmail.com.
The Transition Town - All Saint Anthony Park initiative grew from the Energy Resilience Group, a subcommittee of the Saint Anthony Park Community Council's Environment Committee. Visit the SAPCC website to learn more about Saint Paul's District 12 neighborhood projects, including the Creative Enterprise Zone. Lend a hand!   Our purpose:  To raise our understanding in Saint Anthony Park of climate change, the limits of fossil fuels, and the adaptation of our community that is possible and positive.   What's a Transition Town?   It's a community starting the transition from a fossil-fueled, energy-intensive way of life to a more satisfying, locally oriented community with increased stability in disruptive times.