Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hot Dish Revolution Rocks Northeast Minneapolis

Residents of Northeast Minneapolis, especially the Holland Neighborhood, shared a knowing nod last week when the mainstream media heralded the fact that Representative Tim Walz (1st Congressional District) took first place honors at the Minnesota Hotdish competition.   This is the fourth annual competition initiated by Senator Al Franken “as a way to give members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation a chance to mingle without the usual political sniping.”

With all due respect to their elected representatives, Northeasters know that, while Representative Walz’ Turkey Trot Tate Tot” hotdish may go down in history, the Inside The Beltway competition pales by comparison with a time-honored Northeast tradition.  Even as the solons rest on their laurels, Northeast residents are busily testing their culinary expertise for a local tradition that long pre-dates, and definitely sets a pace,  for the Congressional chefs.

Holland Neighborhood and all of Northeast will be turning out on Sunday, April 6, for what is, in fact, the tenth annual Hotdish Revolution, sponsored by the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association.

The legendary Hotdish Revolution features actually categories – Spice, Vegetarian, Tater Tot Excellence, I Made It? (kids), Darn Good (beef, pork, other) and Fins and Feathers.   And then there’s the jello competition that defies categorization.

Hotdish-toting neighbors will gather at 4:00 on Sunday afternoon at St Maron’s Cedars Hall, 602 University Ave Northeast, prepared to face a distinguished panel of celebrity judges.

Dining for all begins at 4:30.  ($5 for entrants, $10 for others, $5 for kids 5 and under)

To complement the feast there’s beer tasting sponsored by the esteemed brewers of the Northeast Brew District.  ($10/flight)  Indeed Brewing, and Barley John’s Brew Pub will be joined by the folks from Sociable Cider Werks  and others to provide choice libations.

Music and, yes, you guessed it – Haiku!  The Friends of Northeast Library are sponsoring a hotdish/jello themed haiku competition judged by MinnPost columnist –about-town, Andy Sturdevant.

Revolution hotdish style

Jello too and beer

Haiku adds a lyric touch.

Follow the Holland Hotdish Revolution on Facebook or contact the Holland Neighborhood Association:  612 781 2299 or Holland@HNIA.org.

 

Rosemary Award – A Reminder that Constant Vigilance Matters

The wait is over – the votes are in!  And the winner of the Rosemary Award is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper,  named today as recipient of the uncoveted award for worst open government performance in 2013.   Clapper topped a high profile list of “secrecy fetishists and enablers” for his resounding “No, Sir” response to Senator Ron Wyden’s question: ”Does the NSA [National Security Agency] collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”   — a comment Clapper later referred to as the “least untruthful” answer possible to congressional questions about the secret bulk collection of Americans’ phone call data.

The Rosemary Award, conferred by the National Security Archive, (not to be confused with the National Security Agency) is named after President Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods who testified she had erased 18½ minutes of a crucial, possibly incriminating, Watergate tape by somehow manipulating an inadvertent bodily move that involved answering a phone while holding her foot on the pedal of her tape transcribing device. *

The Rosemary Award also recognizes other individuals identified by the National Security Archive as “Clapper’s fellow secrecy fetishists and enablers including General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, former FBI director Robert Mueller, the National Security Division lawyers at the Justice Department, and President Obama

Though the approach is light-hearted, the intent of the Rosemary Award is to “highlight the lowlights of government secrecy” and, by implication, to emphasize the responsibility of Americans to hold their elected and appointed government officials accountable.

For a full description of the rationale for the decision re. this year’s Rosemary Award, along with background on the National Security Archive click here. (www.narchives.org)

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  • Visual images of Rose Mary Woods’ demonstration of how she manipulated these antique instruments once common in government and corporate offices are available online at www.narchives.

 

Leadership, local economy and lunch shape Farm to School Curriculum

Poking around is a persistent addiction.  Though the geography and focus shift with time, exploring new terrain simply expands the possibilities.  Thus, in my quest to spread the share the message of open government, I have had the privilege to meet with scores of great people who are doing amazing work on issues that include sustainable agriculture, the rural economy, the environment, children’s health, food safety,  family farms, ethnic diversity —  always looking for the open government thread that runs through just about everything – once you start looking for it.

All of this poking around reinforces my quest for practical examples of creative approaches to systemic thinking about critical issues – including creative thinking  about the confluence of healthy food and sustainable agriculture.  Thus my delight at the discovery of a treasure from a somewhat unlikely source – the new Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum recently released by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).  It’s fresh, fun and online for all to adapt and apply.

Farm to School offers a promising approach to engaging 11th and 12th graders to build leadership skills by working in partnership with food service staff, farmers and local food sources to re-think their own local food system —  to possibly take a hand in forging links between local farmers and the breakfast and lunch programs that both fuel and forge healthy habits in young learners.

The curriculum offers six lessons that may be taught consecutively over a semester or as single lessons or activities to complement other classes.  In order to make its way into the classrooms, Farm to School fulfills national and state curriculum requirements.  The goals range from promoting children’s health and “food literacy” to “strengthening local economies by expanding markets for small and mid-size agricultural producers and food entrepreneurs whose products have typically been unavailable in school meal programs.”

Erin McKee Van Slooten, who worked on the curriculum design, notes that “despite the rapid growth of Farm to School programs around the country, the legwork of connecting with farmers and sourcing local foods can often be difficult for school staff on top of their day-to-day work.  Our curriculum puts that work in students’ hands, while teaching them about their local food scene.”

Labeled a “youth leadership” project, the IATP curriculum is just that.   Natasha Mortenson helped construct the curriculum.  Reflecting on her experience as an ag educator and FFA advisor at Morris Area High School Mortenson  says that her “students have taken ownership of the Farm to School program in our school, and have developed leadership and team building skills as they completed tasks in learning about our local food system and seasonal availability.”  The goal, she says, is dual:  about implementing Farm to School and about “growing young leaders that understand how to build a program from the ground up.”

The Farm to School Youth Leadership Program was funded by the Center for e Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the John P. and Eleanor R. Yackel Foundation, the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Whatever your memory of or interest in your own experience, your business or your kid’s or grandkid’s school lunch you’ll find the IATP approach a departure from past experience.  Forget what was then, take a look at the full package on the IATP website – lots of background, great graphics  and tips on promoting the Farm to School concept and curriculum.

As we haggle over nutrition and costs,  and wring our hands about how some needy families have been mistreated by the present system,  take time to step back, grab a nutritious locally grown snack, and, with the help re-think the whole approach to a tired tradition with which the folks at IATP have had the grit to grapple.

Learn more on the IATP website

http://www.iatp.org/documents/farm-to-school-youth-leadership-curriculum-all-lessons-and-worksheets