Committee Purpose: The committee has two distinct but somewhat related areas of focus.
1. It undertakes projects that protect and enhance the natural environment in the neighborhood such as:
- Community greening
- Water quality projects
- Pollution prevention
- Energy conservation and renewables (to mitigate carbon emissions)
2.It undertakes projects to improve transportation safety for everyone, and to encourage community members to use lower-carbon transit options:
- Biking: bike racks, bike lanes, the Midtown Greenway, Safe Routes to School, Nice Ride bike rental
- Walking: pedestrian crossing improvements
- Driving: traffic calming, signage
- Bus and light rail: providing review and input on proposed projects
The committee works in partnership with community members, local groups, nonprofits and area businesses. Past partners have included:
- The Twin Cities Bicycle Coalition
- The Sierra Club
- The Minnehaha Watershed District
- The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
- Center for Energy and the Environment
- Metro Blooms
- Transition Longfellow
- Midtown Greenway Coalition
Community Greening Projects
Trees: Trees also play a critical role in heat reduction and stormwater management. Our tree canopy has suffered in recent years with Dutch Elm disease, Emerald Ash borer and the storm of 2013, which felled up to 100 trees on boulevards and in private yards.
- Recent Activity: In 2014, the committee provided low-cost replacement trees for homeowners on their property (the City of Minneapolis is responsible for replacing boulevard trees). The committee focused these efforts on individual properties identified as having low tree canopy coverage, with outreach support provided by Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. The committee helped distribute and plant almost 20 trees in September 2014. Learn more about the project and trees available to residents on the Longfellow Trees web page.
Native Plants: Native plants are often hardier and better adapted to handling difficult conditions with excessive water or periods of drought – the conditions we will face as we move further into climate change. The committee has done projects (by itself and with others) to reintroduce native plants and to remove invasive species.
- CURRENT: Rain gardens: LCC has twice worked with Metro Blooms to bring rain gardens to our community as a way to reduce stormwater runoff. Native plants are often part of rain garden vegetation. To learn more, contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Irrigation-free landscape project: Visit the property at 42nd Avenue and 28th Street to see an example of a watershed-friendly yard that minimizes runoff and uses little water for irrigation due to plant selection and planting techniques. Learn more about this project at PRAIRIEFORM. This project was underwritten by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.
Gardens: The neighborhood has a large number of Hennepin County master gardeners and several garden-related businesses and groups. It’s home to a community hops garden at 38th St & Dight and to the Dowling Community Garden (one of only 2 remaining WWII victory gardens). Although Dowling has nearly 200 garden plots, it is always fully subscribed.
CURRENT: Because the community has no space for additional community gardens, E&T has partnered with Transition Longfellow and its Chard Your Yard program to build raised bed vegetable gardens in people’s yards (homeowners and renters).
- Sign-up to receive a raised bed garden – at cost – begins April 1 and ends April 30. A volunteer ‘garden mob’ will install 25 raised beds on May 16, 2015. New gardeners can also work with an experienced garden mentor. To learn more, contact Leslie.
- While not a part of E&T, the Longfellow Garden Club offers monthly programs and a yearly garden tour
Energy Conservation and Renewables
E&T has hosted two Longfellow Energy Fairs over the years, providing residents and area businesses with access to the most up-to-date information on how they can reduce their energy costs and improve the livability of their home or business. The first energy fair was conducted with the Center for Energy and the Environment. The most recent energy fair, in 2015, was a partnership of E&T, Holy Trinity Church, Transition Longfellow, and Affordable Energy Solutions.
- CURRENT: E&T does not have a current energy program but Transition Longfellow hosts a variety of energy-related discussions and activities throughout the year.