Hello Sustainable Bemidji Friends,
You are in the right place!
We are proud to announce the release of our new website design. We have fresh new look for a brand new year. We attribute our hiatus to conversations regarding the future of our web presence. Needless to say, changes are coming. For now, we will keep Green Living as our hub for sustainability updates in our community.
What’s been going on:
On Dec 10th Sarah Verke discussed her experiences as a parent who has worked over the last 4 years to become better informed about our exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment, food, products, furniture, toys, water, air – almost every aspect of our lives. Her message was that as parents, we have to make choices, and we aren’t getting the information we need to adequately protect our children from exposure to these chemicals. But, once we learn to identify, and ask questions, we can change our behavior and work to minimize our exposure. Sarah shared useful resources with us as well as focused on some high exposure chemicals that we can identify and avoid. Sarah ran a few products through the EWG Skindeep database which is a useful tool to identify exactly what the ingredients are that are on the labels of our products. You can find a link to the website she introduced to us here:
EWG Skin Deep Database
On Dec. 17th We focused on Yuletide Cooking and the Mead Hall. Bemidji State University’s Medieval Club teamed up with local chef and BSU student, Trevor Plendl to share their insight and expertise in the history and exposition of popular holiday foods from England circa 16th century. We learned how to spice up our holiday meals with this history and cooking class held at Harmony Foods Co-op!
On Jan. 14th We kicked off the new year with a continuation of our Permaculture Series, Planning Spaces with Jerry Stensing and Diana Kuklinski. At this event, Jerry Stensing, founder of Trees Minnesota coached us in selecting trees and shrubs that do well in our area. He helped us understand how to best plan and set goals for our spaces, taught us about some of the things we should consider regarding specific site condistion and climate change as we kept last month’s discussion, ideas, and goals for the Rail River Folk school in mind.
On Jan. 21st We had an Idea, Solution, and Stuff Swap. In the spirit of the new year we decided to take the opportunity to think about what we’d like to change within our lives and the environments of which we are a part. At the swap we looked at ways to better manage the things we keep around us by using thrifty and clever ways to keep our spaces sanctuaries. Folks that came to the swap were encouraged to bring things to share/trade/get rid of. Left over items were distributed into the community.
On Feb. 4th Diana Kulklinski continued our Permaculture Series as we focused on Harnessing the Energy of the Sun. In observance of the old Celtic festival of “Imbolc” (The Gathering of Light), we frosted-seed a native grass/flower bed at RRFS. We discussed permaculture principles for harvesting and cycling energy, focusing on Zone 0, our homes and buildings. By using the energy triangle and case studies of solar site assessments at RRFS, Harmony Food Coop, and a private home, we discussed the elements of siting, orientation, and systems we can use to capture and cycle energy. Most of the energy we use is fossil fuels coming from out of state, leaving us incredibly vulnerable. This evening we had a frank discussion about our energy situation and discussed low cost strategies anybody can use to capture the energy of the sun.
On February 11th Our focuses turned to Light and Energy as we heard reflections from a Family Physician on Health and the Environment. This evening we had Dr. Diane Pittman, Family Physician and expert on Integrative Medicine, who discussed some of the latest science on health and the environment and reflect on what it means to be a human organism in the world’s energy economy. How do our bodies generate energy from our food? What goes wrong when we consume food that we have not evolved to handle? How is our health and well being influenced by the natural environment and the challenges modern life? How does light affect our moods and sleep patterns? This wide ranging discussion pulled in 21 folks from our community together to discuss our as we explored together the relationship of light, energy, and human health.
Dec. 16th Sustainability Committee Updates City Council on GreenStep Cities progress. Requested at City Council in a Quarterly Capacity.
Jan. 8th Sustainability Committee meeting at 6:30-8 at City Hall
Jan. 9th Bemidji State University Sustainability Office Free Store teams up with Goodwill and Community Food Shelf to get excess goods that would otherwise end up in the waste stream to the community. Free Store space now extended at Food Shelf.
Jan. 15th Chat About with Kelly Stone aired regarding GreenStep Cities Celebration and Sustainability in our community
Jan. 18th First-Ever GreenStep Cities Celebration at Brigids Pub with Presentation by Mayor Albrecht and local community members. Event broadcasted via Upstream T.V.
Feb. 1st BacktoBasics Workshop in Pine River. Present “Bleeding Green in Bemidji” by Erika Bailey-Johnson, Sara Dennison, and Alex Miller
Feb. 6th MN GreenCorps member, Sara Dennison presents “Don’t Feed the Grease Monster” at the Bemidji Middle School Science Fair to educate community about the effects of grease waste on waste water treatment. Sustainability Office’s Trevor Plendl and Jordan Morgan present variety of projects happening on the BSU campus.
We’ll have more updates for you soon!