Green Digest: Organics recycling may be coming to Tangletown

Plus: Winter Bike Expo, Rock for Raingardens and Southwest's winners at the Minneapolis Garden Awards

TANGLETOWN — A drop-off organic waste recycling program is in the works for Tangletown and may be open to neighborhood residents as soon as next spring.

The city has been testing curbside pickup of organic waste in Linden Hills since 2008. It’s not certain yet when, or even if, pickup will expand citywide, so the Tangletown Neighborhood Association and Hale-Page-Diamond Lake [HPDL] Community Association began working earlier this year to launch a program of their own.

The neighborhoods are hosting a joint meeting on the project 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Fuller Recreation Center, 4800 Grand Ave. S.

Sarah Sillers, an HPDL board member, said both organizations were working with the city to build interest and identify drop-off sites in the neighborhoods.

“As it stands now, the city is currently looking into using a park parking lot as a drop site,” Sillers said.

Fuller Park is the obvious choice in Tangletown, and parks in the other participating neighborhoods could get their own drop-off sites. The neighborhood organizations may chip-in to pay for collection bins and enclosures at the drop-off sites, Sillers said.

Ward 11 Council Member John Quincy, who has been working with both neighborhoods on the project, said the city may identify a third drop-off site in a Northeast neighborhood. Quincy noted the city has five years’ worth of data on its curbside composting pilot program, and the results of the drop-off program could help set the course for expanding some type of organics recycling program citywide.

After launching in Linden Hills, the curbside composting pilot program expanded in its second year, 2009, to East Calhoun and parts of six South Minneapolis neighborhoods. It’s currently available to about 5,370 dwelling units, or just about five percent of the city, according to an October report on the program.

About 272 tons of organic waste were collected curbside in 2009. By 2012, that total grew to 479 tons, estimated to be less than half of one percent of all residential waste collected in the city.

Freewheel hosts Winter Bike Expo

Now in its third year, the annual Winter Bike Expo returns to the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center Dec. 7–8.

For those who ride through the cold and snow — and anyone thinking of joining them — the weekend-long expo offers an opportunity to test ride fat tire bikes from a variety of manufacturers. The wide-wheeled, off-road-ready bicycles are the winter vehicles of choice for many year-round cyclists. This year, all of the bikes available for test rides will be outfitted with studded tires designed to grip on icy roads and trails.

The expo also hosts the Superfat Crit, a Saturday night race for fat tire riders over an icy obstacle course set up in the Midtown Greenway.

A series of seminars runs all weekend, with talks scheduled on winter bicycle commuting, winterizing bicycles, the art and science of wheel making, adventure cycling and more.

The expo closes with a 6 p.m. Sunday screening of “A Winter of Cyclists,” a documentary about a dozen Colorado bicyclists who took the inaugural Icy Bike Winter Commuting Challenge. The screening is hosted by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.

Doors open at 8 a.m. and the expo starts at 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center, 2834 10th Ave. S. The entrance is on the Midtown Greenway bike and pedestrian trail between 10th and 11th avenues.

Go to winterbikeexpo.com for more information.

Rocking for Metro Blooms

Metro Blooms hosts its third-annual Rock for Raingardens benefit concert Dec. 13 at the West Bank’s Acadia Café.

Several local bands scheduled to perform at the benefit, which raises funds for the Minneapolis-based gardening nonprofit. Metro Blooms promotes environmentally sound gardening and landscaping practices, including the use of rain gardens to help protect urban watersheds.

The concert lineup includes Hypoxic Punks, Simon Calder and Band, the Paper Days and Tim Gustafson. Doors open at 9 p.m. at the Acadia, 329 Cedar Ave.

Admission is free to the all ages event, and donations to Metro Blooms will be collected during the concert. For more information, go to acadiacafe.com.

Southwest’s green thumbs glow in awards

Southwest Minneapolis gardeners had another strong showing at the annual Minneapolis Garden Awards held in November.

The awards, sponsored by Metro Blooms, recognize the previous season’s best gardens. The winning gardens are selected from among all nominees by trained garden evaluators.

Winners this year included Wyn Huynh and Bob Zehrer of East Isles for “Best Residential Garden”; Mary Nolte of Fulton for “Best Residential Raingarden”; Sheryl and Rick Erickson of Kenny for “Best Hillside Garden”; Cathy and Bob Broady of East Harriet for “Best Shade Garden”; and Mary Knoblauch and Marty Carlson of Kenwood for “Best Alley Garden.”

Other Southwest honorees were the Lyndale Neighborhood Association in the “Best Business Garden” category and Mount Olivet Church for “Best Congregation Garden.”

The full list of 2013 award winners is posted online at metroblooms.org.