September  2015       Smaller footprint. Stronger community.      District 12, St. Paul, Minnesota
In this issue:
Many hands make light work-- and light hearts. 
Join our next "ten-burner stove dance,"
the community canning session set for Saturday, September 12.

Knight grant finalist:
A pop-up market for the Creative Enterprise Zone... we hope
Imagine a weekly market for farmers, artists, and other vendors in the Raymond-University area:  a place to meet, shop, eat, and mingle year-round. That proposal is a finalist for a Knight Green Line Challenge grant. With impetus from forward thinkers in the CEZ, Transition Town ASAP, an others in the community, it's among the 27 proposals shortlisted from a field of 358.  Also a finalist: the SAP Community Council's greenway-linking proposal. 

Keep your eye on our website  for news.

Transition Tap
Wednesday, September 2,  7-9 pm
Urban Growler brewery, 2325 Endicott
(northeast of Hampden Park Co-op)

At this monthly pub get-together, kindred spirits float their sustainability ideas over a craft brew. Try the Blueberry Wheat or a Big Boot Rye IPA. Bring friends! Look for Allie, Kevin, and the "Transition T" sign (like the one in our title above). Check the patio first.

Transportation Action Group meeting
Wednesday, September 9, 7-8:30 pm
All are welcome. For location, email
We'll discuss strategies for better bike and pedestrian infrastructure on Raymond (between Como and Energy Park especially), future Meet the Bus or Meet the Bike events, and other transit-related topics.
Opening Reception & Tiny Book Project
Saturday, September 12, 10 am-1 pm
Workhorse Coffee, 2399 University Ave. 
Celebrate the opening of the "Cabinet of Wonder" at St. Paul's smallest museum, housed in the Workhorse Coffee Bar, and try your hand at making a tiny 8-page book. 

Community Canning
Saturday, September 12, 10 am-2 pm  
See "Can do!" above. 

Twin Cities Zero Waste Summit
Friday, September 18, 12:30-6:30 pm
Brave New Workshop, 824 Hennepin, Mpls
Eureka Recycling hosts this conference of local and national zero-waste activists. Tickets $20 (students $10). Details on the website .

St. Anthony Park Garage Sale
Saturday, September 19, 9 am-5 pm
Throughout the neighborhood
Speaking of Zero Waste, this annual "re-use" sale is a great way to meet neighbors, too.

Reflective Circle
Saturday, September 26, 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. Details on the web page.


Compost happens!
"Make sure you aerate your compost pile," said agronomist Lois Braun at her composting workshop in June. How? Turn it often, add "brown stuff" such as dry leaves, and toss in some short, stiff stalks, too-- they'll create air spaces. With their hands, Lois and Kit illustrated that idea to the crowd gathered in the garden at Alden Square. Lois and others in her apartment building maintain a shared compost pile together, and reap the ample rewards.

Download Lois's composting tip sheet from the Sustainable Food and Land web page

While you're there, see Margot Monson's gorgeous pollinator slide show. It's not too late to plant native perennials friendly to pollinators! Download Margot's recommended sources before you shop. 


Envision 2040: Help us say it right
Let's look ahead 25 years: how could our neighborhood be responding and adapting to climate change? After gathering ideas from hundreds of neighbors for the past year, we've distilled them into 18 brief statements that capture some common ideas.  On our website's 2040 Plan page, you'll see drafts of 5 general visions.  You'll also see specific vision statements on these topics:
  • energy conservation and production
  • resilience
  • transportation
  • housing
  • business, organizations, and industry
  • food
  • greenspace
  • water
  • community
  • healthcare
  • education
  • waste
  • broader action and advocacy

Take a look at these drafts. What do you think? What did we miss? Email feedback to


Community Solar in SAP:
What's the latest?
Solar power is for everyone! The Community Solar action group has worked for two years, meeting twice a month. There's been a lot to learn, from the intricacies of utility charges for electricity to legal ramifications of organizational structure. The main goal of this Transition Town group is to make locally produced, renewable energy more available to those who live and work here. 

With the community-owned approach, citizens choose to buy shares in a larger solar array that feeds the power grid with clean, locally produced energy. These member-investors are paid back over time for their share of the electricity produced. For its first project, the action group created SAP Solar 1, LLC, using a for-profit model for a member-owned array. They are now finalizing an agreement to install a 40kW photovoltaic array on a local building. To learn more, contact Tim Wulling


"If we take the focus off security
and strive instead to tend to
each other's deep well-being,
we will  find a kind of thriving
never  attainable when
mere security  is the goal."

-- Rev. Kristin Stoneking 

Join a Transition Town action group
Visit the "Action Groups" area of 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:

Home energy curtailment: 

Housing options: 

Reflective Circle:

School liaison: 

Sustainable food and land use:


Zero waste:

Can do! Community workshop September 12
by Kit Canright

It's the harvest season and time for the third annual St. Anthony Park community canning session! If you've wanted to learn how to can, need a refresher, or just enjoy canning with others, come join us! We'll be using the water-bath method to can tomatoes and applesauce, sending you home with several jars of produce ("summer in a jar," as Greg Brown says). Experienced canners and total newbies are welcome: limit  15 people, registration on a first come/first served basis. Sign up now! Who wouldn't want to "taste a little of the summer" during a Minnesota winter?! 

When: Saturday, September 12, 10 am-2 pm
Where: SAP United Church of Christ, 2129 Commonwealth Ave, basement kitchen
Cost:  $15 per person (covers produce and jars)
To register: e-mail Janet Dieterich ( and mention your level of canning experience, if any. 

Kit Canright is a leader in Sustainable Food and Land action group for Transition Town ASAP. She grows vegetables at the St. Anthony Park Community Garden and tutors math at the Minnesota Waldorf School. Try her soup recipe, below.  
Fresh-from-the-garden recipes
Try these seasonal dishes from St. Anthony Park neighbors and friends.

Kit Canright
at a canning workshop
Zucchini-Garlic Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 white onion, sliced
8-9 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
4 medium zucchini, about 1-1/2 pounds, sliced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a heavy pot. Add garlic and onions and cook on medium-low heat 10 minutes, until onion is soft. (Avoid browning garlic; let the ingredients "sweat.") Add zucchini and cook until soft. Add broth and simmer on low heat 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then blend until creamy, using an immersion blender or a standing blender (fill half full and hold lid down tight with a towel). Add salt, pepper, and ginger to taste. Like most soups, this one is better the next day.   Notes: Leaving peel on the zucchini gives a stronger, slightly bitter flavor. If zucchini is large, better peel it first... I often freeze this soup before adding the broth. It saves freezer space and gives an intensely flavored base that can be added to other soups or thinned with broth later.

  Nasra Omer
Sheteney: Tangy, Spicy Dipping Sauce

8 to 10 jalapeno peppers, chopped. Use all the seeds for a spicy sheteney. If you like it milder, remove some seeds.
1 head of garlic, each clove peeled
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
Fresh ginger to taste (peeled and chopped)
Salt to taste 

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. The mixture will be bright green, fresh, and spicy. Sheteney is delicious with rice, with spaghetti, and even on chicken wings. Try it with njeera or samosas, too.

 Len Jennings
Garden Omelet

A standard omelet pan makes two omelets. A large non-stick pan will make four. Timing is of the essence--eggs are not started until everything else is ready, including the people.

Summer ingredients will be whatever's fresh and in season: experiment with combinations of vegetables and herbs. Sautee them in advance. If including kale, a big mortar and pestle can be used to bruise the leaves before sauteeing, shortening the cooking time. If using cheese, grate and set aside.

  1. Have all the mix ingredients prepared and cooked before starting the eggs.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and mix well, using a fork, not a blender, incorporating lots of air.
  3. Bring pan to high heat, so that a spot of butter will sizzle when dropped onto the hot surface.  (Gas flame needed for best results.)
  4. Add butter to pan and as it melts reaerate the eggs with a fast-moving fork.
  5. Pour egg mixture into pan while continuing to spin the fork, adding more air.
  6. As eggs jellify, stir them as with a scramble, until semisolid.
  7. Add all other ingredients to one half of the egg mixture.
  8. As eggs set up flip the clean half of the egg on top of the loaded side.
  9. Turn off flame and allow the mixture to set up (20-30 seconds) 
  10. Flip contents of pan (brown side up), divide and serve on pre-warmed plates.
  11. Eat immediately --enjoy! 

  Regula Russelle
with backyard peaches

Hot Pasta with Cold Tomato Sauce

5 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1/2 cup olive or salad oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon. salt
1 lbs cooked and drained pasta

Mix all but pasta in a large bowl. Let sit for at least two hours. Serve the tomato basil sauce with freshly boiled pasta, grated parmesan cheese, and ground pepper.

To share your favorite seasonal recipe for fall, email newsletter editor Mindy Keskinen.

North Dakota's oil fields: A dose of reality
by Mimi Jennings

Dry conditions throughout the West accompany Len and me home from our nephew's early August wedding in Seattle--smoky from the Olympic Rain Forest fire--across Idaho, Montana, into western North Dakota. Family fun; two-lane roads; no billboards; overnights with friends; genealogy research; the Milk, Missouri Rivers our companions; no historic plaque unread; no timetable.

Once we get as far east as Malta, Montana, on US Highway 2, aka the "Northeastern Plains Montana Birding Trail," tanker trucks start appearing. Roadside plaques detail the encroachment on Indian land of an alien culture; we enter Fort Peck Indian Reservation; train and truck traffic intensify. 

A derailed train (top) waits for cleanup.

This aspect of the trip was intentional. We've seen National Grasslands, Missouri Breaks, Devil's Tower, the Black Hills. Even on vacation, this time we need to get a dose of reality. We're driving, after all--burning gas in our rental--facing ever-more-challenging landscape. At the Culbertson oil-train derailment site (July 2015), we pull off, take pictures of "Derailment Services" equipment. 

The highway enters North Dakota near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers; between Williston and Minot it was baptized the "Wonderland Trail." Now, engine roar and dry-wind-borne yellow dust require rolled-up windows. 

Barracks-style rentals for oil workers.

Highway 2 is being widened so rapidly that signage doesn't keep up. We turn onto a new roadbed going nowhere that our map can explain. We backtrack; as Len drives I photograph pre-fab towns, trailer parks, and oil production. We find Tioga, where we're booked into a chain, crawl among road graders, stop under the water tower and call. "Just a second, I'll go outside. See if I can see a water tower," replies Tobias, "I'm a stranger here--from Atlanta--the motel is six stories tall--you'll see it." Len sees it: parking lot unfinished, car with Georgia plates out front. Tobias says his whole family came up without so much as an interview. They're all working. We're the first guests; everything smells of fabric finish; water's undrinkable (employees say they buy); dinner is what we've brought (restaurants don't exist); we see flares from our window. 

Next day we chance more dusty road construction and escape heat advisories into the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum. Thriving for 500 years, these three peoples-- Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara-- united after smallpox decimated their individual nations (decimated in reverse: one in ten remained). Outside, we stop at the only food vendor around--the service station--buy hummus, machine-tumbled carrots. A forlorn-looking man asks directions to Bismarck. I show him on a map as he tells of getting a ride up with friends who left him, asleep, two days ago. He figures out where to stand to hitch. 

What are "flares"? When fracking forces crude oil to the surface, natural gas often comes with it. Drillers commonly burn the gas off, rather than capturing it for use.  

North Dakota has the lowest US unemployment, and ample rain. "From high points along this route," says the state's website, "view graceful landscape in all directions." What we view are rigs, undulating green, pumps, stream beds, dust from new road construction, grazing cattle--and flares, flares, flares (these are seen from space). The further we go east and south homeward the more spread out these become, until we stop for ice cream and notice they've disappeared.         Photos by Mimi Jennings

Mimi Jennings is an activist, poet, and polyglot (former French teacher at Central High) who serves as Schools Liaison for Transition Town ASAP. In that role, she  stays in touch with the five schools in District 12: SAP Elementary, Murray, Como High, Avalon, and Jennings Learning Center. To help support our schools' sustainability projects, email Mimi.

Found something eye-opening? Share it!

Seize the moment!
The climate crisis offers
humanity unprecedented
opportunities for change,
says author Klein.
Have you discovered a book, article, or film that's deepened your awareness of climate, community, sustainability? Let me know, and we'll feature a mini-review of it here.

This summer I tackled Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate (find it at  Micawber's and the St. Paul Public Library).  It's big book, but it rewards "spot-reading," too. Even if you start with the intro and skip straight to the conclusion, you'll gain real insight: not only on the scope of the climate challenge, but on the priceless opportunity it gives us to start correcting global economic injustices.

For an even quicker overview, read Klein's press statement at the Vatican this fall.  

         -- Mindy Keskinen, editor

We welcome your input.

At the Raymond Green Line stop:
Beauty for train riders to ponder 
Submit brief news items, story ideas, calendar listings, book and movie reviews, photos, poetry, art, cartoons-- all relating to "smaller footprint, stronger community." 

This e-newsletter, Transition Times ASAP, is published six times a year: in early January, March, May, July, September, and November. Read recent issues on our website.  For the November issue, submit ideas by mid-October. 

We also welcome submissions for our biweekly calendar, The Transition Bee. When a newsletter appears, the Bee is housed within it, as in this issue.   

Contact for submissions, and to join our  email list:
Mindy Keskinen, editor  (

Pat Thompson designed our  Transition Times ASAP  logo. 
Regula Russelle created the Transition "t" and the Transition Bee logo.
Most photos by Mindy Keskinen, unless otherwise noted.
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.