Minneapolis: Transition Longfellow

Transition Longfellow is one of the more than 130 official Transition Town initiatives in the US. As the most active Transition group in its area, Transition Longfellow activities attract visitors from other neighborhoods in South Minneapolis and beyond. Every year the group conducts activities to help people overcome barriers to making the lasting changes they want to make in order to:

  • Reduce their dependence on fossil fuels (the biggest driver of climate change) with energy efficiency, transit options and renewable energy
  • Support local businesses so jobs and dollars stay in our local economy
  • Build (and support) a more resilient and healthy local food supply
  • Build a more connected, cohesive community

The Community Served

solar cooker
Building a solar cooker

Transition Longfellow operates primarily in the Greater Longfellow community, which includes the neighborhoods of Cooper, Howe, Hiawatha and Longfellow. Greater Longfellow is bordered by the Mississippi River to the east, Minnehaha Falls to the south, the Midtown Greenway to the north, and the green line of the light rail to the west.

The neighborhood has a few unique characteristics that add flavor to this group’s transition efforts.

  • It is highly committed to the environment with a garden club, two gardening businesses, a large number of resident master gardeners, volunteers who maintain native areas alongthe river gorge, and community activities like tree planting and rain garden installation.
  • The neighborhood is one of the largest
    Canning Skillshare

    users of Car2go car sharing (with many single-car families). Biking features prominently as a transit method, with The Hub bike shop on Minnehaha and Spokes bike repair and riding instruction located in nearby Seward.

Other significant businesses in the community include a solar installer (MN Community Solar), Natural Built Homes (low-impact home remodeling), Gandhi Mahal restaurant (local food growing, beekeepers, with a tilapia farm in its basement). It also boasts a large number of vintage, second-hand, and repair shops, like Junket and Repair Lair, and Free Geek (computer reuse/recycling).

Programs & Activities

Building a little free library
Building a little free library

Transition Longfellow is an association of neighbors who create shared opportunities for people to learn and take action. Activities are organized by a steering committee and conducted by volunteers. Programs and activities include:

  • Fun and informative movie nights on the 3rd Friday of every month (except December), preceded by a potluck dinner and often followed by a speaker or discussion,
  • Practical skill share activities, like building little free libraries or solar cookers, gardening skills like tomato pruning or hooking up a multiple rain barrel system, or food-related skills like canning and jam-making,
  • Book groups and discussion groups on topics ranging from going zero waste to living more frugally, consciously and sustainably,
CYY Wilie's Team
Chard Your Yard volunteer install team building a double high raised bed for a neighbor with a disability
  • Healthy social activities like yoga, game nights and field trips, and
  • Community visioning dinners

One of the most visible programs of Transition Longfellow is called Chard Your Yard. A "garden mob" of volunteers installs raised bed gardens, at cost, for area residents. Typically cost is $60 to $65, but with underwiting from the Longfellow Community Council, the group can provide a bed for low income, seniors and persons with disabilities for half the cost.

Contact Transition Longfellow

The group hosts several activities every month (see website for listing). One of the best ways to visit for the first time is to attend a 3rd Friday movie night and potluck to get to meet neighbors. For more information, contact Leslie.

“At Transition Longfellow, we believe that our community CAN make the transition to a more sustainable future. We invite you to join us on the journey. Meet your neighbors. Make new friends. Eat good food. Learn a new skill. Contribute what you know. Have fun!”

Transition Longfellow Calendar

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“Community Rights: We the People Are More Powerful Than We Believe”
DAYLONG INTENSIVE WORKSHOP, Thurs. July 27, with Paul Cienfuegos

Across the nation, local communities are struggling to protect themselves from harms created by industry, agribusiness, forestry and retail corporations. Two anti-democratic barriers stifling the ability of communities to act on their own behalf are:

Pre-emption laws that have made it illegal for local communities to protect water and air quality, create publicly-owned internet utilities, expand tenant protections, raise wages, prevent unsafe pesticide use, prevent unsustainable infrastructure, and more.

The Constitutional “rights” of corporations to trump the rights of the people, such as the private Canadian pipeline company granted use of private lands via “eminent domain.”

The Community Rights movement helps people and communities reclaim their Constitutional right of self governance. It has helped more than 200 communities in eight states to pass legally binding and locally enforceable ordinances (laws) that…
• Banned fracking and polluting factory farms
• Prevented local water withdrawal for bottling and resale elsewhere,
• Prevented the dumping of toxic sludge on farmland
• Prevented the building of unsustainable energy projects, and more.

95% of those communities have never had their laws challenged in court. Every one of these laws is written in the form of a Community Bill of Rights, and is based on the unique protections that that community chooses for itself.

This one-day workshop will provide a solid introduction to:
• The history of the Community Rights movement,
• The barriers that communities face in their attempts to protect themselves and to define their own futures,
• How your community can use this culture-shifting and legal strategy to reclaim real decision-making authority for the people who live there.

The workshop is designed for community organizers, environment and climate activists, and community members concerned about health, safety, pollution and the political process.

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(edited) Sunscreen Make-and-Take! Wednesday June 28 at 6:30 pm. Please RSVP (stron006@umn.edu) for address. Please bring a container to hold your sunscreen. Suggested donation $2-$3/ounce to cover materials costs. ...

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"Community Resilience IS Emergency Preparedness" with Lesley Moore and Nils Palsson
Using a permaculture lens, learn how to create emergency preparedness activities from personal and family, to neighbors, blocks, business community and government. This workshop provides inclusive planning approaches for all community members' strengths and needs, including specific examples.

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