Green digest // Share your thoughts on agriculture plan

Share your thoughts on city agriculture plan

A 45-day public comment period on the city’s proposed new Urban Agriculture Policy Plan opened Dec. 9.

The plan is intended to guide city land use and zoning regulations in support of community gardens and urban agriculture projects. It’s just the latest initiative to emerge from Homegrown Minneapolis, an ongoing project to increase access to healthy, locally grown and processed foods in the city begun in 2008.

The draft plan developed by city staff was to be shared on the Homegrown Minneapolis website, ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/urban_ag_plan.asp, where some background documents already were available in November. (The plan was scheduled to be released at a community meeting held just after this issue of the Southwest Journal went to press, as well.)

Previous Homegrown Minneapolis initiatives already have led to changes in city ordinance. Examples include changes to allow indoor farmers’ markets and beekeeping within city limits.

A public hearing on the Urban Agriculture Policy Plan was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 22 Planning Commission meeting at City Hall. If approved by the Planning Commission, the plan would go to the City Council, who could then choose to adopt the plan and include it in the city’s comprehensive plan.

Comments on the draft plan should be submitted in writing on or before Jan. 31 to: Amanda Arnold, Principal Planner, Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, Planning Division, 250 S. 4th St., Room 110, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

Comments also may be submitted by e-mail to [email protected]

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Stay bright on your bike

It’s that time of year again when the sun has set before many people have left the office for the day. If you’re still bicycle commuting, we have two things to say: one, brrr; and, two, check your lights.

That second message actually comes from Bike Walk Twin Cities, which reminded cyclists a few weeks before the winter solstice that it was a good time to check or replace old bicycle lights. Lights make bicyclists more visible to motorists after dark, and a front headlamp, at least, is required for nighttime riding under state law.

Data collected by Bike Walk Twin Cities indicates about 36 percent of cyclists continue to ride “on a nice winter day,” the organization reported, although the definition of a nice winter day is surely debatable.

Bike Walk Twin Cities is a program of Transit for Livable Communities, a nonprofit advocating for “a balanced transportation system.”

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Park Board seeking bike committee members

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is now accepting applications for three positions on the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee.

The committee offers advice to the mayor and city council and serves as a go-between for businesses, commuters and other agencies. Last year, the committee was restructured to give Minneapolis residents a greater voice regarding bicycling in the city. The committee advocates safe commuter and recreation cycling as well as infrastructure improvements. It was first formed in 1990.

The initial service term will run from January 1st, 2011 to May 31st, 2012. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. December 22nd. Those selected will be notified before the first committee meeting, which takes place on January 5th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Anyone interested in applying for the committee can call 230-6400 or fill out an application online at minneapolisparks.org.

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Dutch elm treatments offered in Linden Hills

Linden Hills residents are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on treatments for Dutch elm disease. The neighborhood group’s environmental committee arranged the discount with Rainbow Tree Care. To be eligible, treated Elm trees need to be in the Linden Hills area and in good health. Individuals or groups seeking the treatment will be required to provide $100 per tree treated. If treatment fails, any refund from the company will be split proportionally between those contributing to the cost.

More information can be found at the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council’s website, lindenhills.org. To arrange treatment, contact Rainbow Tree Care at 952-922-3810 and mention you are a resident of Linden Hills.

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Bandshell pavers, bench engravings still available

Nonprofit parks advocacy group People for Parks is still offering personalized bench and paver engravings to be used in the Lake Harriet Bandshell audience area. Pavers come in two sizes, 5 inches by 5 inches and 5 inches by 11 inches. The smaller pavers can feature logos or up to three 12-character lines for $75. The larger pavers can feature a logo or four 24-character lines for $125. Engraved benches can be purchased for $1,250 and feature a 37-character inscription. Non-engraved benches can also be adopted for $1,000. For more information, contact People for Parks at peopleforparks.net or call 767-6892.