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Glaros Undertakes "Humans of Minneapolis" Project with Parks Foundation

Even if you’ve never been to the Big Apple, you’ve probably heard of Humans of New York — the wildly successful, ongoing photo essay that’s touched more than 20 countries and earned millions of social shares.
 
New York City has more than eight million inhabitants from all over the world, but it’s not the only place with a multitude of human-scale stories worth sharing. MSP has its very own analog: Humans of Minneapolis, Minneapolis-based photographer Stephanie Glaros’ often poignant look at the joys, sorrows and oddities of life in the urban North.
 
Glaros started Humans of Minneapolis as an occasional tumblr blog — a useful vehicle for her ample interactive talents. She’s since added a Facebook page and Instagram feed to bring her subjects to a wider audience. Last month, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation announced that Glaros would conduct a “summer-long portrait series profiling visitors to Minneapolis neighborhood parks,” showcased in Humans of Minneapolis’ digital ecosystem and the Park Foundation’s own social properties.
 
According to the Parks Foundation, Glaros will profile 15 park visitors in all. The portrait series aims to draw attention to Minneapolis’ 160-plus parks, which (per the Parks Foundation) attracted more than six million visitors last year. Shortly after the portrait series’ announcement, the Trust for Public Land announced that Minneapolis had once again earned the top spot in its closely watched urban U.S. park system rankings, continuing a dominant run that dates back to the early 2010s.
 
“Stephanie’s series will help us begin to tell the stories of the people who use our parks every day and show the multitude of ways people use and love our Minneapolis parks,” the Parks Foundation said in a release.
 
Some of the stories Glaros captures on the Humans of Minneapolis blog are challenging, to put it mildly. Interviews conducted immediately following Prince’s death were heartbreaking. More recently, she spoke with a young man whose ex-girlfriend’s brother had died violently the previous week; in the interview, he talked openly about his own mortality and agonized about carrying a firearm for protection.
 
It’s not yet clear whether Glaros’ park stories will hew toward the weighty, or whether they’ll focus on the lighter side of summer in MSP. No matter what the next few months bring, Glaros is excited to explore her beloved, snow-less home city and forge new connections with her fellow Minneapolitans.
 
“People are reserved here and they don’t want attention, so it can be a bit of a challenge to draw people out,” she told the Star Tribune in April. “I look at that as a challenge to get real and get outside of our shells and make a connection…[t]here’s something magical about connecting with a complete stranger.”
 
 

Prohibition Kombucha: Hippie elixir to haute mixer

The latest craft brew to come out of Minneapolis-St. Paul isn’t made from barley and hops. It’s Prohibition Kombucha, a fermented beverage made from high-quality teas and fruit or floral flavorings.

The tasty product of a partnership between former Herkimer brewer Nathan Uri and Verdant Tea founder David Duckler, Prohibition is the region’s first homegrown kombucha. The company’s three kombucha flavors are available at about a dozen co-ops, coffee shops and farmers markets around the Twin Cities, including Mill City Farmers’ Market, Seward Co-op, Spyhouse and Kopplin’s Coffee.

Uri has bigger aspirations, though: He’s teaming up with Minneapolis-based Tree Fort Soda to build a larger kombucha brewery at a to-be-determined location in the Twin Cities.  Eventually, Uri envisions a product line available at cafes, restaurants and grocery stores throughout the country, plus satellite breweries on the East and West Coasts to supply customers in other regions.

Prohibition Kombucha’s creations are healthy -- really healthy. “Depending on the quality of tea and type of yeasts and bacteria used, there can be varying levels of amino acids like L-theanine, healthy sour acids like malic and acetic acid, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients,” says Uri. “Our kombucha is also low in sugar and calories, slowing the glycemic load of a meal when consumed with food.”

According to Uri, all Prohibition Kombucha varieties have less than one gram of sugar per ounce and no more than 56 calories per pint.

Popular with the counterculture movement in the Southwest and West Coast, kombucha is novel concept in the Twin Cities. “Currently, the main reason people drink Kombucha is for the probiotic content,” explains Uri, “which can be as simple as one bacteria or as many as 20 beneficial yeasts and bacteria.”

The microbes ferment a mixture of tea, sugar and other natural ingredients, producing carbonation, crisp flavors and a trace, non-intoxicating amount of alcohol. A multi-organism fermenting base is called a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts, or SCOBY.

Kombucha doesn’t always taste great, though. Without naming names, Uri fingers “some other brands” that have a funky, sour, “sharkbite” flavor that’s too tangy to be pleasant. Prohibition uses high-quality black and oolong teas, plus carefully selected secondary ingredients, to achieve a “crisp, cider-like acid-sugar balance,” Uri says.

The fermenting process does produce trace amounts of alcohol -- less than 0.5% by volume. Though 0.5% isn’t intoxicating, Uri and Duckler are sensitive to sober customers’ concerns.

“We completely and unequivocally respect and support” those who avoid kombucha for any reason, says Uri. “That said, others in recovery enjoy our Kombucha without issue. It's a very personal choice and we want everyone to lead healthy and happy lives, so we label our product accordingly.”

In fact, Prohibition Kombucha probably wouldn’t exist if not for Uri’s temporary decision to quit drinking. In 2012, while living in Portland, he hankered for the sensory and aesthetic experience of a fine wine, great beer or perfect cocktail.” He tried his first “small batch craft” kombucha, loved it, and began brewing kombucha at home.

Soon realizing the importance of quality tea to quality kombucha -- many other kombucha producers use low-quality teas or “the bare minimum” of a higher-grade variety, he says -- Uri moved back to the Twin Cities and contacted Duckler, an old friend. Now, Uri exclusively uses Verdant Tea’s black and oolong teas in his kombuchas.

“Since [Duckler] sources the finest, freshest and highest quality Chinese teas available in the US, it’s a natural partnership,” he says. One that could soon bring a fermented, cocktail-quality and (almost) totally non-alcoholic beverage to your local coffee shop or grocery store shelf.

 

Rail~volution showcases MSP's transit-oriented development

Next week, September 21-24, the Twin Cities will host Rail~volution 2014, one of the country’s most visible transit and development conferences.
 
Founded in 1989 in Portland, Oregon, as a local advocacy organization, Rail~volution expanded in 1995 into an annual conference that brings the country’s top transit and design thinkers together each year. According to the Rail~Volution website, the "conference is for passionate practitioners — people from all perspectives who believe strongly in the role of land use and transit as equal partners in the quest for greater livability and greater communities."
 
Rail~volution 2014 will showcase the vibrancy of the Twin Cities, thanks to two dozen “mobile workshops” spread across four days. The a la carte events include “Grow, Sell and Eat Local,” which will take attendees to Frogtown Farm, Urban Organics and the St. Paul Farmers Market. “BOD: Bike-Oriented Development + The Midtown Greenway” shows off “the nation’s best urban bike trail” on a 12-mile bike tour.
 
Other noteworthy events include a “cultural journey” centered on the Franklin Street LRT station, a tour through the Warehouse District/North Loop, and a “history and vision” workshop about the Northstar commuter rail line. Other workshops and lectures will take place at the Hyatt Regency near the Minneapolis Convention Center.
 
Another highlight of Rail~volution 2014 is a trade show that features more than a dozen rail-related exhibitors, from multinational rolling stock manufacturers like Siemens to smaller firms like Oregon-based United Streetcar and Northwest Signal. Local sponsors include Kimley Horn, a St. Paul-based design firm, as well as the Central Corridor Funders’ Collaborative, a consortium of organizations dedicated to fostering transit-oriented development and sustainable growth along the Green Line.
 
Local conference attendees will have plenty of opportunities to network with national players in the transit and development business. Before the conference officially kicks off, the Baseball + Hotdogs + Local Brews event combines a Twins game with a tour of the newly refurbished Ford Center, in the Warehouse District, and free-flowing Twin Cities beers. For non-baseball fans, a paddleboat cruise shows off the cities’ skylines and natural beauty from the Mississippi River. Those who want to pair art and transit can tour the Loring Greenway and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which precedes a Saturday-evening show at the Jungle Theater.
 
The location of its signature conference varies each year, but Rail~volution has plans to implement year-round programming that “fufill[s] our mission and vision that America's cities and regions be transformed into livable places—healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable,” according to its website.
 
 

Film in the City connects at-risk youth with creative potential

Earlier this summer, more than a dozen Minneapolis-St. Paul 17-21 year olds participated in the inaugural production of Film in the City, a Minnesota State Arts Board-funded initiative that connects at-risk youth with local filmmakers and front-of-the-camera talent. The original short, “A Common Manor,” was entirely written by Film in the City’s young participants, who also made up the majority of its cast. Highlights of the filming process were included in filmmaker Jeff Stonehouse’s contribution to One Day on Earth, with the edited production to be released in October.

Film in the City is the brainchild of Rich Reeder, a 30-year veteran of the film industry. He was inspired by a tragedy: While he was producing a documentary on the White Earth Reservation, a local high school student suddenly took his own life, shattering the community (and Reeder’s crew). As a filmmaking veteran, he saw the medium’s potential to boost self-esteem and commitment in at-risk youth.

Reeder and an assistant connected with six homeless youth organizations—Ain Dah Yung, Youthlink, Avenues NE, Face to Face/SafeZone, Full Cycle and Kulture Klub Collaborative—across the Twin Cities. Beginning in February of this year, 16 participants attended 12 workshops that covered everything from art and sound design to improvisation.

Filming took place over two weeks in June, at several locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul (the Midtown Farmers’ Market and private residences in St. Paul’s Summit-University and Midway neighborhoods among them). Local arts organizations including the Guthrie Theater and HDMG Studio & Production Center lent backdrops and equipment.

“A Common Manor” wrapped on June 25. There’s still plenty of editing and marketing work to be done before its release. But the project has already paid dividends: As a direct result of their work with Film in the City, says Reeder, at least eight participants have conducted internships or mentoring sessions with “professional Twin Cities’ directors, writers, cinematographers, lighting and sound specialists, makeup and wardrobe mentors.” Two have worked with Stonehouse on a commercial film shoot in Wisconsin.

Reeder also sees Film in the City, and projects like it, as critical for character-building and professional development. “These youth have made major strides in terms of self-esteem, collaboration with other youth and adults, learning the entire film[making] process and focusing…on specific aspects of the creative arts,” he says.

Reeder and crew plan to apply for the same Minnesota State Arts Board grant next year. The hope is that first-year veterans will actively mentor second-year participants, creating an artistic legacy among at-risk youth.

More ambitiously, Film in the City may soon export its concept to other cities. “Youth organization leaders in Seattle and San Francisco have already expressed interest in the concept,” says Reeder, noting that those cities’ famous writing and visual arts workshops for homeless youth haven’t yet been complemented by filmmaking initiatives.

 

One Day on Earth gathers Twin Cities stories

Got big plans for April 26? Lu Lippold, the local producer for One Day on Earth’s “One Day in the Twin Cities,” has a suggestion: Grab whatever video recording device you can—cameraphones included—and record the audio-visual pulse of your neighborhood.

On the final Saturday of April, the Twin Cities and 10 other U.S. metros will host the fourth installment of One Day on Earth’s celebration of film, culture, and all-around placemaking. Founded by Los Angeles-based film producers Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman, One Day on Earth (ODOE) has a “goal of creating a unique worldwide media event where thousands of participants would simultaneously film over a 24-hour period,” according to its website.

The first event took place on October 10, 2010 (10-10-10); 11-11-11 and 12-12-12 followed. ODOE skipped 2013, but its organizers weren’t about to wait until 2101 for their next shot. Instead, they selected a spring Saturday—both to accommodate amateur filmmakers with 9-to-5 jobs, and to give participants in the Northern Hemisphere longer daylight hours to work with—for a bigger, bolder, slightly revamped version of the event.

For the first time, participants get 10 questions to inspire their creativity and guide their storytelling, from “What is the best thing happening in your city today?” to “Who is your city not serving?” The goal is to create a multi-frame snapshot of “cities in progress,” one that doesn’t simply answer the who-what-where of the places it covers.

As One Day in the Twin Cities’ point person, Lippold supervises local filmmakers and pitched the project to dozens of partner organizations, including the Science Museum of Minnesota and Springboard for the Arts to visual media companies like Cinequipt and Vimeo. (The McKnight Foundation and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative are the largest local sponsors.)

The upside? “[The event] is a great way to shine a light on all the hard work that our nonprofit community does,” says Lippold.

Lippold also works with a handful of local ambassadors, some of whom enjoy national acclaim. These include noted cinematographer Jeff Stonehouse, veteran documentarian Matt Ehling, and community-focused filmmaker D.A. Bullock. They’ll be contributing their talents—and stature—to One Day in the Twin Cities’ promotion and execution.

One Day in the Twin Cities could be seen well beyond Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Along with their counterparts from other participating cities, local filmmakers may see their work incorporated into a condensed, three-part series that Litman and Lichtbau will market to PBS affiliates around the country. No word on whether TPT will air the special, but TPT Rewire has agreed to publicize the event in the coming weeks.

The real stars of One Day in the Twin Cities, though, are its filmmakers. Even if you’ve never filmed anything in your life, says Lippold, you can contribute meaningful work. Thanks to an interactive map feature on ODOE’s main site, the work will visible to anyone who visits.

“If I were just starting out in video, I would see this as a huge opportunity,” says Lippold. Since all contributions are credited by name and location, each participant “instantly becomes a documentary filmmaker,” she adds.

Source: Lu Lippold
Writer: Brian Martucci


Zero-waste Bread and Pickle latest of Kim Bartmann's new restaurant endeavors

"The best burger I've had in quite a long time" is usually a good recommendation, especially when it comes from a local restaurateur with several lauded restaurants and counting.

The source is Kim Bartmann, owner of Barbette, Red Stag Supper Club and Bryant Lake Bowl, and the subject is the grass-fed, "limousine beef" burger at Bread and Pickle, Bartmann's new incarnation of the concession stand near the Lake Harriet bandshell. After a soft opening last week, the reborn refectory is poised to serve the summertime crowds at the lake.

It's pretty busy down there," says Bartmann. "We are thinking of it as a [Bastille Day] block party a few times a week. We feel like we've done it before, just not in a fixed, night-after-night setting."

Bread and Pickle will sell "simple offerings," says Bartmann burgers, fries, sandwiches, pasta salads, potato salads, as well as breakfast foods like espresso, egg sandwiches, granola and yogurt from 711 a.m. And of course there is still ice cream, from local favorites Sonny's and Izzy's.

Like at her other restaurants, the fare will be "focused on as much organic, local product as possible," says Bartmann.

One thing that won't be available at Bread and Pickle: waste. "Everything that comes out is compostable," she says, in new compost stations installed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (Park Board), an effort Bartmann called a "beta-test for zero-waste in the Park Board system."

The composting was in response to the Park Board's request for proposals, which called for sustainability practices that Bartmann new would give her a leg up on the competition. "We do that at all the other restaurants, and at the [Bastille Day] block party," she says.

Even water comes in a sustainable container: stainless-steel water bottles at plastic-bottle prices. Visitors can refill them at a water-filling station, installed by the Park Board, which have counters to see how may times it gets used.

Bread and Pickle will be open until 9 p.m. in the evening, possibly later for busier concerts, says Bartmann.

The refectory is not her only recent project, however. She is planning a remodel and revamped menu at Gigi's, near 36th Street South and Bryant Avenue, which Bartmann took over last November. Prep kitchens and extra cooler space there as support the Bread and Pickle operation.

In the early summer, Bartmann expects to unveil Pat's Tap at the old Casey's location on 35th Street South and Nicollet Avenue. She described the LEED-targeted project as "a little gastro-pub with a few skee ball machines." 

Engine hopes to drive better engagement between nonprofits, young professionals

A new venture in Minneapolis is innovating ways to connect nonprofits with young professionals who want to give their time and skills.

Jim Delaney, a former director with The LEAD Project, started Engine L3C after an experience as a board member at the YMCA.

"I wanted to do more than show up once a quarter and provide my advice and raise a little bit of money in the meantime," says Delaney. "I wanted to use what I thought were my skills and capabilities a little bit more directly to solve the problems that the 'Y' was facing."

So many nonprofit volunteer opportunities consist of one-day opportunities, helping out here and there with events and fundraising, he thought. Meanwhile, he understood that most directors were too busy with day-to-day demands to tackle big-picture challenges.

Delaney's idea: put together small strike teams of young professional volunteers to tackle big-picture projects. He pitched it to the YMCA and recruited 24 volunteers to work on six projects. One team created a guide for social media use. Another created a 140-page best practices handbook after analyzing the best practices at each of the local YMCA's 14 branches and camps.

Delaney recruits and matches volunteers to the project teams that best match their skills. A typical project lasts about six months, after which the volunteers are free to move on or get involved in a different way.

The young volunteers, most of whom are between the ages of 25 and 35, get personal and professional development, as well as a more satisfying volunteer experience. Meanwhile, the nonprofits, which pay $1,000 per month per project, get professional services for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost.

After 10 projects with the YMCA, about a month ago Engine started another project with the Neighborhood Development Center. Next, Delaney hopes to get corporations involved by offering the program to their employees as a professional development tool.

Source: Jim Delaney, Engine L3C
Writer: Dan Haugen
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