St. Paul: Transition All St Anthony Park
St. Anthony Park has one of the largest, most active Transition groups in the Twin Cities. Transition ASAP – “All St. Anthony Park” – grew from an existing activism group that shifted its focus to energy resilience, supported by its local District Council. As it pursued the goals of climate awareness, the limits of fossil fuels, and the need for community adaptation, the group gained wide neighborhood support, solidifying as a Transition Town in 2014.
The Community Served
Located in the northwest corner of St. Paul, the neighborhood includes a lively mix of residents. Along the Green Line live the artists and entrepreneurs of the Creative Enterprise Zone. To the north is the U of M St. Paul campus and Luther Seminary, with students and faculty from around the state, the country and the world. Both parts of the neighborhood have small but thriving business districts and growing ethnic diversity, including residents from Somalia and Southeast Asia.
Programs & Activities
Transition Town ASAP programs engage homeowners and renters, businesses and residents, students and seniors, faith groups and school groups. Eight action groups operate independently, with varying degrees of activity, depending upon the interests of members. These groups are always open to new participants.
- Transition Your Money: The Transition Your Money group (TYM) works to organize individual/family investment in the vitality, sustainability, and diversity of the community. We invest in this immediate geographic area and in a low-carbon future everywhere. We implement patient capital. We partner with compatible community institutions. We’re exploring self-directed IRAs and creating a real estate investment co-op similar to the Northeast Investment Co-op in Minneapolis. One area of interest is sustainable agriculture.
- Local Dough: Transition Your Money’s first spinoff group is an “investment club with a conscience.” Members contribute $100 monthly, meet quarterly, and invest in co-ops and other generative enterprises. The group is not seeking new members now, but it may in the future.
- Emergency Preparedness: Transition ASAP hosted a community panel on emergency preparedness in 2017, with local experts offering readiness tips and training opportunities.
- Sustainable Food and Land Use: We work to address the issue of climate change by sharing info on food preservation, gardening, gardening practices that nurture soil and pollinators, connecting people who want to can together, share tools, garden space, cooking expertise, and raising awareness of the impact of our daily choices.
- The Home energy curtailment group helps families learn how to live comfortably using less energy.
- The St. Anthony Park Community Solar action group has met regularly since 2013. We’ve talked with the city of St. Paul about community solar on city-owned buildings, with a goal that this could be replicated elsewhere, and we continue to talk with other building owners. We hope to work with an existing solar developer with expertise on regulations and finance.
- The Housing options group understands the benefits of greater housing density in terms of energy savings, housing options, affordability, transit efficiency and business viability. This group has been active in hosting community conversations about accessory dwelling units and plans were drawn up to demonstrate how ADUs might be included into typical housing stock in the community.
- The Transportation group encourages the use of transit alternatives with its Drop a Car program. However many cars your family has, let’s see if you can drop one. “Meet the Bus” and “Meet the Bike” activities help people become familiar with public transit and biking routes.
- Reflective Circles: Several times a year, the Reflective Circle welcomes people to reflect together about our global climate challenge.
- The group includes schools in their conversations and provides opportunities for students to engage beyond the classroom with the “Smaller Footprint, Stronger Community” goal. A former teacher is available to consult with teachers.
- The Zero Waste action group’s mission is to individually and collectively minimize the waste generated in the neighborhood.
In 2014, Transition Town ASAP won a grant for its work from the SAP Community Foundation. The funds are helping the group host a series of community-wide meetings, do more outreach, involve student interns, and host two Transition Festivals.
A core planning group is now working on a long-term plan to shrink the neighborhood’s carbon footprint and improve resilience, based on broad community input.