Open-source seeds challenge Monsanto, support International Day of Farmers' Struggles

[Today], Thursday, April 17, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) will release over 29 seed varieties into the global commons and humanity's “moral economy.” This new initiative hopes to provide a counterweight to private patenting of seeds, which has undermined farmers’ rights around the world.

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Huge gap in pollution exposure by race surprises University of Minnesota researchers

By now you probably know that people of color nationwide have, among other things, higher rates of unemployment, poverty and educational disparity compared to white people.

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Activism, innovation and pragmatism: Andrew Johnson's first 100 (and a bit) days

Andrew Johnson is the youngest member of the Minneapolis City Council at only 29 years of age. (“Also the only single one,” he reminds me to mention.) One of seven (of 13) CMs newly elected in November 2013, he is also one of the ones most likely to succeed Gary Schiff in being the leftward pull of DFL progressivism on the Council. Johnson says it has always been his dream to be an actual politician, but not one he expected to attain, nor did he have a master plan to get there. He says circumstances just “opened a path” and he took it. Before that he had made his living as an IT systems engineer, while working tirelessly in his spare time as a neighborhood and environmental activist. His style is robust activism, with an emphasis on innovation, yet tempered with a keen pragmatism beyond what is expected with his youth and inexperience.

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Cold winter: Corcoran weatherizes

You’ve probably noticed the higher gas costs this winter. This is partly the deep cold. Most Corcoran homes are using more natural gas and high demand has sent prices soaring nationwide. Centerpoint has also raised rates to pay for repairs to an aging gas system.

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Minnesota termites - they're not unheard of!

Many states require termite inspections before real estate can change hands. None are required in Minnesota because there are no termites here. That is why I was astounded a few years ago when I sold a home that was infested with termites. The buyer had an inspection and we all saw the mud tubes, but since none of us had ever seen a termite or a mud tube it just did not register.

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Breakfasting with Alondra Cano: Lots of work ahead on racial and environmental justice in Minneapolis' 9th ward

In January, Alondra Cano officially started her new job as the council member representing the 9th Ward of Minneapolis. She said the work actually started the evening she was elected. Her phone began ringing and people began asking her to listen to them. As she started to make decisions she thought a lot about the responsibility and opportunity she had worked so hard for, and the trust so many people had put in her.

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Minnesota's continuous living groundcover

Of Minnesota’s 55.6 million acres, 27 million acres are taken up by farmland. Currently, crop production is dominated by summer annuals like corn and soybeans, which need to be replanted each year and grow only in the summer. The consequence of this type of cropping is that for most of the year, no active roots exist in the soil to filter water, reduce runoff, or prevent erosion. Covering the ground with crops for a larger portion of the year by adding winter annuals and perennials to the landscape provides multiple benefits, including diversifying agricultural operations, protecting soils and waterways, and increasing wildlife habitat.

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COMMUNITY VOICES | Cedar lake Threatened by SW LRT

It seems clear that political officials who favor a pair of "shallow tunnels" between Cedar Lake and Isles for the Southwest Light Rail Train are not educated about the threat of reduced rech

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International Year of Family Farming – What it's about, why it matters

For Minnesotans the true Rite of Spring is planting season – even if the experience is remembered or vicarious. Planting season with real farmers on real tractors with genetically un-modified seeds, rotated crops and other practices that promote sustainable agricultural systems. Happily, nostalgia is giving way to reality as urban farming, farm to home, and farmers market programs and locavore cuisine raise the profile of family farming and the role that family farmers play in growing nutritious food to feed a hungry world — while protecting the environment and preserving the land.

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