Oct 11

Upcoming Seed Exchange! Next week’s Studio Cruise!

Greetings, friends!  Here’s an update on our visit to the Wastewater Treatment Facility for those who couldn’t make it!

Earlier this week, Sustainable Tuesdays toured the Wastewater Treatment Facility.  Guided by our gracious hosts, co-superintendents Mike Forbes and Al Gorick, we soon realized that this would be not only a tour of the plant and its processes, but also an exploration into our own complicity in the consumption and pollution of one of our most valuable non-renewable resources.  Too easily we embrace an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality and lose track of the interconnectedness of our world.  Water plays an integral role in our lives, and it’s not just for drinking.  The food we eat, the products we buy, the buildings we occupy—all are dependent on water, a resource that, as Mike reminded us, is more valuable than oil.

Mike Forbes describes how the plant operates and explains the natural process that lies at the heart of wastewater treatment.

Mike and Al beautifully articulated the purpose of the facility and its role in environmental stewardship. I knew very little about the treatment process going into this tour, and was surprised to discover that the water isn’t “treated” in the way that I had imagined.  The plant operates on a natural process, utilizing the bacteria that are already in the wastewater and speeding up the treatment process that occurs in nature.

Our discussion during the tour ranged far and wide—from examining the problems that the Mississippi River faces from pesticide runoff and antibiotics in the water to ways that we can lessen the amount of water we use in our homes.  Bemidji’s importance as the first city on the Mississippi was a recurring theme, and left us with a deep appreciation for all the Wastewater Treatment Facility and its staff do to protect our environment.

The group learns about the different functions of the facility’s system.

The Wastewater Treatment Facility conducts tours for school groups and other interested parties.  If you’d like to organize a tour for your class or group, you may contact the WWTF at 218-333-1866.

Next week, Sustainable Tuesdays is hosting a seed exchange!  Join us for “The Stories in the Seeds” on Tuesday, October 16th from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Rail River Folk School (303 Railroad Ave SW).

As we confront the challenges caused by corporate agriculture—from monocrops to GMOs to pesticide usage—the role of a seed becomes increasingly important.  As small as they seem, seeds carry with them a history—they are sources of cultural heritage, biodiversity, and stories that come from generations of sustainable farming.

Establishing a seed exchange is a wonderful opportunity to protect the stories inherent in seeds, foster a sense of community, and support local agriculture.  Join us next Tuesday at 5:30pm at the Rail River Folk School to contribute to Bemidji’s first attempt at organizing a seed exchange and listen to Diana Kuklinski, who will be introducing the concept of seed saving.

Bring any seed saving tips and stories, seeds you have grown, or extras you have purchased.  Even if you don’t have any seeds to share, you are welcome to participate!

Organic Certification

Do you know any organic farmers that are looking to become certified?  Are they struggling with the cost of organic certification?  The deadline for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program—an assistance program that helps reimburse up to 75% of the certification costs—is coming up on October 31st!

Please pass this along to any uncertified organic farmers or processors you know that may be interested.  For more information, check out the application here (www.mda.state.mn.us/organic) or call 651-201-6012.

October 19-21st is Bemidji’s 5th Annual “First City of Arts Studio Cruise”!

When I moved to Bemidji, one of the first things I noticed was the importance given to art in the community. Bemidji has become a hub of visual, performance, and literary artists—many of which draw their inspiration from the natural world around us.

Next weekend, October 19-21st, the public has the opportunity to tour the studios of individual artists, speak with them about their creative process, watch them do demonstrations, and even purchase their work. This tour, which covers a 40 mile radius, is free and open to the public.

Art can be deeply connected to one’s environment, and I know that I am very excited to explore the ways that local artists are drawing inspiration from this area’s history, cultural heritage and natural landscape.

For a map of all the possible studios you can visit, please refer to http://visitbemidji.com/specialevents/studio-cruise.html.  Don’t miss this opportunity to explore studios and get to know the local artists that make Bemidji and the surrounding areas so unique!

As always, our program depends on your input and feedback, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions to broaden our community. Sustainable Tuesdays feature a variety of learning opportunities focused on sustainability that connect our beautiful, vibrant community and is a partnership program with the Indigenous Environmental Network, MN GreenCorps, Rail River Folk School and BSU’s Sustainability Office.

For more information, contact Caitlyn Schuchhardt at 755-3765 or Simone Senogles 751-4967.

With peace,