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Getting at the Root of our Nitrogen Problem

Good things go bad when out of their rightful places. Take farm fertilizer and soil, essential ingredients in the field but all wrong in the 27 percent of Minnesota lakes now too contaminated to drink. Last month’s report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) blasted corn-and-soybean agriculture as the major source of nitrogen contamination…  Read More

Nitrogen Pollution’s Farm Policy Roots

Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room. When Minnesota environmental officials announced the results of a new major nitrogen pollution study on Thursday, they were surprisingly frank about how bad the problem is, but just as surprisingly hesitant to name a major underlying cause: federal farm policy. First the problem: basically, the Minnesota Pollution…  Read More

From Empty Lot to Full Blown Garden

Gardeners at Hope Community in the Phillips Community of South Minneapolis have been working hard this week to prepare soil and create a design for the urban agriculture space that has come to be known as the “2012 Garden,” in honor of its address at 2012 Oakland Avenue. The 2012 Garden has gone through many…  Read More

Cooking Up Some Hope in the Phillips Community

On April 13, Hope Community intern Taya Shultz lead a cooking class at Hope’s community kitchen. “The topic was breakfast. We made almond milk, vegetable breakfast smoothies and buckwheat muesli pancakes,” Taya told me. Hope Community is a place-based community development organization that is entrenched in the Phillips Neighborhood, one of the most economically challenged…  Read More

Main Street Vs. Eat Street

I’m not sure I would recommend this, but I recently read two books back-to-back that represent the “how” extremes of today’s food system. I started out with The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, and, literally within minutes of finishing it, picked up Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food…  Read More

Comment Period on Winona County Frac Sand Review Extended to Feb. 6

The process of environmental review for frac sand mine proposals in Winona County has been seriously flawed from the start. But there’s still time for citizens to get involved and push for an in-depth, comprehensive review—otherwise known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)—that would show the full impacts these proposed developments would have on our…  Read More

Putting People & the Land First

Below is a picture from the close of a thought-provoking, challenging and energizing two-day meeting the Land Stewardship Project hosted this week at our Minneapolis office. Leaders and staff from state-based rural membership organizations representing 10 Midwest and Western states came together in Minnesota and shared our experiences and our analyses related to organizing for…  Read More

Nightmare Before Christmas: Winona County Gets Frac Sand Review Wrong (Again)

This fall, LSP uncovered serious errors in the process of environmental review that was being done on proposed frac sand mines in Minnesota’s Winona County. Eventually, the county acknowledged that the problems we pointed out needed to be corrected, and started the environmental review process over in November. Unfortunately, the county’s second attempt at environmental…  Read More

Pollinators in Peril

As last week’s Congressional Research Service report on bee health makes clear, the crisis plaguing pollinators is not a single, big bad bogey man. It’s likely a combination of factors such as habitat loss, pesticide poisoning, introduced diseases and the stress of making domesticated honey bees the insect equivalent of migrant workers. That’s the bad…  Read More

Spencer Award Winners: A Farm as Change Agent

On a blustery late summer day, Jan Libbey and Tim Landgraf hike through a waist-high prairie to the top of a dramatic knob on their farm in north-central Iowa. As they stand amongst big bluestem, Indian grass and switchgrass, corn and soybean fields flow in every direction, the monocultural landscape broken up only by a…  Read More