November  2015       Smaller footprint. Stronger community.      District 12, St. Paul, Minnesota
In this issue:

With strong support from its congregation, St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church will soon have rooftop solar panels. Story below. Design rendering courtesy John Seppanen 

Join us Thursday, November 12 at 7 pm
Fossil fuel divestment 
info session
by Ginner Ruddy

Divestment helped end apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. Can it help end the fossil fuel era, too?  Join us for a session with Patty O'Keefe of the climate solutions group MN-350. As individuals and as institutions, we can stop funding companies with large stakes in oil, gas, and coal, and invest in renewables instead.  As MN-350  puts it, "We need to remove the 'social license' of the fossil fuel industry that currently allows it to change the chemical composition of our  atmosphere in the name of profit."  See details below and at MN-350 .

Ginner Ruddy is active in the Transition Town ASAP planning group and Reflective Circle. 

Investing in a Cooler Planet
presented by Patty O'Keefe of MN-350

When:  Thursday, Nov. 12, 7-9 pm

Where:   Carleton Artist Lofts, 2285 University Ave. (east building, next to the Lyric). Main entrance at rear; smaller entrance on University. Follow signs to community room. 

To get there: 


Public transit:   Take Green Line or bus (87 or 16) to the Raymond stop. Plan your trip at .


Car:  Park on Hampden, Carleton, or other side streets (no parking in lot directly behind Carleton Lofts).

Carpool from North St. Anthony Park:

Reserve by 2 pm that day: 612-860-6091 or   


Other questions?  Email  Mindy Keskinen.




Monarchs in the Balance
St. Anthony Park Garden Club meeting
Tuesday, November 3, 7:30-8:30 pm
St. Matthew's Episcopal, 2136 Carter Ave. 
How can we help conserve this migratory species? Ann Hobbie of the U of M's monarch butterfly lab will tell us. Free and open to all. Come at 7 for refreshments.

Transition Tap
Wednesday, November 4,  7-9 pm
Urban Growler, 2325 Endicott
At this monthly pub get-together, kindred spirits float their sustainability ideas over a craft brew. Try a Pumpkin Saison or a Cowbell Cream Ale. Look for Allie, Kevin, and the "Transition T" sign (like the one in our title above). 

Land Use Committee meeting
(SAP Community Council)
Thursday, November 5, 7-9 pm
Jennings Community Learning Center
2455 University Ave. 
Agenda includes update on Ecumen's senior housing plans in the Luther Seminary area; new designs will reflect public input. All are welcome to these SAP Community Council committee meetings. 

Twin Cities Arab Film Festival
November 5 - 8 
Visit for schedule
Based in our own Creative Enterprise Zone, the Arab arts group Mizna hosts this film fest at St. Anthony Main and the Walker Art Center.

State of the Park:  SAP Community Foundation annual meeting
Tuesday, November 10, 6 - 8 pm
Murray Middle School, 2200 Buford
Open to all, this upbeat meeting changes format every year. New this time: short breakout sessions, one led by Transition Town ASAP: "15 Minutes to 2040: Charting Our Path to Sustainability." Come at 6 for a nonprofit info fair, hear the Foundation's report at 6:30, and stay for short breakouts starting at 7; topics also include schools, land use, and retail.

Fossil fuel divestment info session
Thursday, November 12, 7-9 pm
Carleton Lofts, 2285 University Ave. 
See item at top of this column.

Transition Town ASAP
planning group meeting
Thursday, November 19, 7:30 pm
1495 Raymond Avenue
This group meets monthly for long-term planning, community collaborations, and other general projects. All are welcome; those who've already worked with an action group may find it most rewarding. Come early at 7 for social time. 

Sustainable food and land
action group meeting
Friday, November 20, 7 pm
All are welcome. For location, email
Join planning for food preserving sessions, seed-starting workshops, and more. A good entry point into Transition Town ASAP. 

Reflective Circle
Saturday, November 21, 12:30 -2:30 pm
SAP Public Library, 2245 Como Ave. 
Let's seek the seeds of change within ourselves. The Circle offers a welcoming space for the inner work of adjusting to the challenge of climate change. We take turns responding to simple but thought-provoking questions about the natural and human systems we live in, often finding new ways forward. This is a great entry point into climate change work. Details on the web page.

Transportation action group meeting
Wednesday, December 9, 7 pm
All are welcome. For location, email
See what this imaginative group is up to! (Visit the web page for some clues.) Another good foothold for Transition Town activity.


Pickled beets:
Bon appetit!
Food preserving

We've canned, we've pickled, we've fermented. How about one more session in early December? This time we'll learn about food drying and root vegetable storage, and we'll bottle the sauerkraut we started last month. Date TBA. Interested? Email Sustainable Food leader  Kit Canright .


"As long as we live,
let us keep learning how to live ."


Avalon's Lauren Leith:
Next stop, Paris climate talks
When the UN-sponsored climate talks start in Paris on November 30, Avalon science teacher Lauren Leith will be there: she's an education ambassador with Minneapolis-based Climate Generation.  At an October 22 meeting at Avalon, Lauren and colleagues described the talks as our best chance for limiting the global effects of climate change. They'll blog and webcast; visit the Climate Generation website (and ours) for links. 

A student interviews Lauren Leith on
Climate Generation's plans for Paris 

Meanwhile, what are Avalon students doing in their project-based curriculum?
  • A junior is arranging for solar panels on the school's roof.
  • A senior is focusing on global climate justice for a major project. 
  • The Environmental Club is studying cap-and-trade and will listen critically to the Paris talks.
  • Lauren often links her subjects to climate: for example, chemistry students analyze the roles of carbon and methane.
Follow us on Twitter!
... thanks to Rhiannon Magee
Avalon senior Rhiannon Magee is our new social media intern. She knows our neighborhood well: she grew up around two family businesses in the CEZ--The Edge and Sacred Paths Center--and she's been at Avalon six years. She's also interned at Express Bike Shop and at a thrift shop where she remade old clothing into new styles. "I'm excited to be part of the community again, especially with such an important topic and being able to bring the generations together," said Rhiannon. You may see her tweeting at our events, as she did at the October meeting at Avalon

Rhiannon (right) with Janet Brown
 of Climate Generation

Join us on social media
  • Visit our Facebook page: At, stay up to date with events, photos, and news.
  • Join our Facebook group: At, find Transition ASAP, click on "Request to join," and soon you can join the conversation.
  • Follow us on Twitter: At @transitionasap1, stay current and track some events live.

Join an action group
Visit "Action Groups" at our website, email the leaders listed here, and drop in on a meeting. You'll likely find kindred spirits.  Or start a new group: email Michael Russelle to brainstorm.

Community solar:  Steve YetterBarry Riesch

Home energy curtailment:   Tim Wulling

Housing options:   Phil Broussard

Reflective Circle:  Marilyn Benson  

School liaison:   Mimi Jennings

Sustainable food:  Kit Canright Lois Braun

Transportation:  Pat Thompson

Zero waste:  Gary Carlson ,   Brandon Sigrist

St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church goes solar
by John Seppanen

As many of us may have already learned from the Bugle or from friends and neighbors, St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church is scheduled by the end of the year to install a 40-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the church at Como Avenue and Luther Place (as shown above). The panels will be installed on both the sloped southeast-facing roof of the sanctuary and the flat roof toward the north. Based on current use, the system will produce about half of the building's annual electrical need. In years to come, the congregation aims to further reduce usage though targeted conservation and retrofitting LED light fixtures. That's the news in brief. Once the panels are up and running, I'll return with more details.

John Seppanen is a member of St Anthony Park Lutheran Church, father of three SAP elementary school students, member of the District 12 Council and supporter of Transition Town ASAP--not to mention architect, electric vehicle enthusiast, and hammock camper.  
World-class resources in our own backyard:
Learn beekeeping -- or host a hive 
by Margot Monson

With all the media attention to pollinator declines, more people want to learn about the art and science of beekeeping, with the goal of having their own hives one day.  Here a t the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, Dr. Marla Spivak and her technician Gary Reuter teach workshops with separate sessions geared to beginners and second-year beekeepers.  Two of those sessions are coming up soon.

Beekeeping in Northern Climates
a one-day workshop


Year 1: Getting Started  

Nov 7, 2015 or Feb 27, 2016 


Year 2: Keeping Bees Year after Year  

Nov 8, 2015 or Feb 28, 2016 

For more information or to register, visit the U of M Bee Lab website

Do you want to provide honey bee habitat, but you're not ready to take the plunge as a beekeeper? Or do you need a first-year mentor? More options are available. You can host a hive on your property-- some rooftops work well for this-- and it will be maintained by an experienced beekeeper. Visit the U of M's Bee Squad  web page to learn more.

Meanwhile, how are our n ative pollinators preparing for a Minnesota winter in the wild? As adults, they burrow under leaves and brush piles or under tree bark. They may enter unheated buildings through cracks and crevices. Some occupy abandoned insect and rodent burrows, or they find crevices in retaining walls, hollow plant stems, and so on. Many survive in earlier stages of development as eggs, larvae, and pupae. 

But with cold weather approaching, our Minnesota honey bees will soon be primarily staying inside their hives wrapped in their winter covers, eating the honey they have stored for the long cold months, clustering together and "shivering" to create the warmth that maintains the hive's interior temperature in the mid-90* range.  Pretty amazing that such small animals can do this all winter, no matter the outside temperatures.

Beekeeper and entomologist Margot Monson is a member of Transition Town ASAP's Community Solar and Sustainable Food groups.  See her pollinator slide show and tips for protecting pollinators.
Good Acre food hub opens on Larpenteur
by Pat Thompson

We've got a new neighbor! The Good Acre just opened up at 1790 Larpenteur, site of the former Hermes garden center. It's a new nonprofit organization and a beautiful building that will be a "food hub" for small farmers. It houses all the things that are expensive for farmers to buy individually (refrigeration, freezer space, produce-cleaning equipment), plus a training kitchen and several large rooms for teaching or community events. Oh, and they coordinate a 19-week CSA that delivers at the new building. We look forward to learning more about Good Acre's work, and to collaborating on sustainable food efforts.

Pat Thompson is a leader in Transition Town ASAP's Transportation action group, and she recently pickled and fermented with the Sustainable Food group. Another ongoing project is the Friends School Plant Sale, held every May. When she's not causing trouble, Pat can be found gardening in her yard.  
Another neighbor drops a car
Weighing the costs of ownership 
by Lynn Englund

St. Anthony Park has dropped one more car. I recently sold my 1999 Saturn, a no-frills sedan I'd bought used in 2002. I loved the convenience and independence it provided. But as years went by, I drove so seldom that it became a burden, and the cost of insurance, license, and maintenance grew in relation to the few miles I drove. A year ago I began to feel that I wanted to sell the car, but thought it might be difficult. I knew many younger people in the market, but many of them had never learned how to drive a stick and weren't sure they wanted to! 

One morning last September I impulsively posted it for sale on Craigslist. Five minutes later, I was astonished to discover three serious inquiries! The sale was made an hour later.  After a test drive and title transfer, the car has a new owner: a commuting father who also drives his children to school. While he gains greater safety, better mileage, and a car he can work on himself, I have lost little. My partner, John, and mother, Joanne, are generously sharing their cars with me. Car2Go and Metro Transit help fill the gaps. We all take more time to plan trips and weigh factors of cost, time, and convenience. Living on the Green Line makes public transit appealing for longer trips, but walking is usually the cheapest and most pleasant option for shorter ones, even in winter.

Lynn Englund is an educator and culture creator seeking her place in Transition Town ASAP. She works for a culture of connection -- one that measures wealth by rich social relationships, transparent decision making, distributed power with governance by consent, equitable participation, and sustainable use of resources.

2015 Zero Waste Summit:
"No such thing as waste -- only resources"
by Brandon Sigrist

Nearly 100 people filled the Brave New Workshop on September 18 for the first annual Zero Waste Summit sponsored by Eureka Recycling. A dozen local leaders and four national experts described how ZW efforts can bring us closer to a healthy environment, social justice, and a sustainable future.  Some of the standout speakers for me: 

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges' video remarks identified zero waste as one our biggest opportunities to limit climate change. Elected on a zero waste platform, she's at work on a ZW plan for her city, due out this fall. 

Amanda LaGrange introduced TechDump, whose focus is the millions of tons of e-waste discarded globally each year. Last year TechDump's 45 employees recycled four million pounds of it, disassembling broken equipment for salvageable components and valuable metals that would have been toxic waste in a landfill. TechDump also refurbishes PCs and laptops for sale, with drop-off locations in St. Paul and Golden Valley. 

Patsy Parker of Project Sweetie Pie takes ZW into the community by teaching kids about composting in near north Minneapolis. While we wait for municipal compost programs to get organized, Patsy envisions jump-starting local collection and composting at community gardens. Since organics and food waste comprise more than 1/3 of our trash resource and are the main source of methane gas from landfills (a big contributor to climate change), we can make a huge impact by keeping food waste out of the trash.

Nancy Ford of the Repair Lair on Lake Street specializes in consignment outdoor gear, focusing on repair, not replacement. Her goal is to "unfill the landfill," moving away from our fashion-conscious culture that promotes rapid obsolescence of cheap products made in sweatshops overseas. Repair Lair's entertaining catchphrases apply to our larger society--"All your broken bits ain't going to fix themselves"--and to ZW early adopters such as myself: "For cheap a$$ folks who want to be all green and s#!t."

Cardboard tubes are used to create
a toy dragon. (photo: YOXO website)

A statewide group based in Minneapolis, 
LEDC offers bilingual resources on its website, including info on recycling. 

YOXO toy company makes toys that let kids build anything they can imagine, using standard parts and household items like cereal boxes. The toy parts are made from recycled wood pulp in a wind-powered workshop on the U of M transitway. Jeff Freeland Nelson hopes toys like YOXO will make recycling and reuse part of the next generation's mindset. 

Andreas Salinas of Latino Economic Development Center helps Latino immigrants adjust to US business practices. He wants to make recycling part of the sustainable business community, starting with translation of ZW documents and info. Small businesses are a key point of contact in these communities, the best ally to spread the word. 

Monica Wilson of GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) battles the "dig, dump, burn economy" falsely promoted as renewable energy. Industrial-scale trash burners turn valuable resources into a small or even net-negative amount of energy. Many of those materials could become new products at 1/6 the energy cost of mainstream manufacturing. To counter air-pollution fears, the burners use "scrubbers" to clean the smoke. But actual emissions are largely self-regulated, and the more such scrubbing efforts succeed, the more toxic the ash waste that must be landfilled.  Burners also contribute to social injustice by their invariable location in communities of color. And, since they're largely automated, they offer few good jobs. Monica concludes that investment in recycling means "more jobs, less pollution."  

Ahmina Maxey of Zero Waste Detroit agreed: The country's largest incinerator is in her city, which is 80 percent black. The asthma death rate in Detroit is twice the state average. 

Susan Hubbard of Nothing Left to Waste wants to change attitudes: from accepting throwaway products and packaging to understanding that there's "no such thing as waste -- only resources."  Our affluent lifestyle is based on fossil fuels and an underclass of sweatshop and minimum-wage workers, but it doesn't have to be that way. A founder of Eureka Recycling, Susan points to Eureka as a rare but viable alternative: they are committed to finding the highest use for recyclables, to local recycling rather than shipping materials around the world, and to workers earning a living wage with benefits and fair scheduling. Saint Paul's recycling contracts end in 2017, and bidding for new contracts has begun. If we want to keep a leading organization like Eureka here, we need to tell the city that we want zero waste! 

Minnesota Rep Frank Hornstein concluded the day, saying that the power in the room would fill the void in grassroots energy for zero waste, and that the summit would go down in history as a turning point. He called for making next year's event full of victories and large enough to fill the convention center. 

For more about ZW, visit To join Transition Town ASAP's Zero Waste group, see the contact info in "Join an Action Group," below left.

Brandon Sigrist cancelled his trash service two years ago. Each week, he and his wife produce less than one cubic foot of trash, which he returns to the trashcans of the stores that sold it.

This Changes Everything: Now it's  a film, too
by Karen Lilley

The new documentary This Changes Everything is more than the movie version of Naomi Klein's bestselling book. It was shot while she researched and wrote the book, and it carries a big-screen punch as only that medium can. Narrated by Klein, it tells the stories of seven communities and the people who decided to stand up to corporate destruction of their homelands. The settings include Montana's Powder River Basin and Alberta's Tar Sands region, South India and Beijing, all shown with breathtaking videography both before and after the lands were ravaged and livelihoods destroyed-- or almost destroyed.  

In rural India, grassroots activists stopped a coal-burning plant.
Their story is told in the film, along with others closer to home.

While Klein links the stories to the unsustainable economic system that created them, she also shows how people are empowered to achieve change. We realize that climate disaster is not just another issue, it is 
the challenge we must act on, or face the destruction of humankind. Others have found the courage to confront big corporations, and we must too, because This Changes Everything.

See the trailer.  The film is available from iTunes ($10): consider a home screening with neighbors, or check local theaters for future showings. 

Karen Lilley hangs out on the fringes of Transition Town ASAP. Retired from the University of Minnesota, she's a former web manager for SAP Neighbors for Peace and now volunteers for the Blue House, an orphanage in Uganda. 

We welcome your ideas.

Submit news, story ideas, calendar items, reviews, photos, poetry, art, cartoons-- anything relating to "smaller footprint, stronger community." 

Transition Times ASAP is published six times a year: in early January, March, May, July, September, and November. Recent issues are on our website. For the January issue, submit by mid-December. The Transition Bee is our biweekly e-calendar. 

For submissions or to join our email list:
contact Mindy Keskinen , editor (

Pat Thompson designed our Transition Times ASAP logo.
Regula Russelle created the Transition "t" and the Transition Bee logo. 
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, 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.