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Buying Fresh Produce is a SNAP at Riverwalk Market Fair


For the second summer in a row, the Riverwalk Market Fair is providing easily-accessible fresh produce to low-income families and individuals in the Northfield area .

In the summer of 2010, Growing Up Healthy, a coalition of about a dozen organizations and agencies that share an overarching goal of improving community connectedness for marginalized families in Rice county, secured a grant from Rice county public health’s State Health Improvement Program (SHIP) to purchase two EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card reader machines—one for Northfield, and one for Faribault.

Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) swipe a card at the machine, located in the central tent, to get tokens that they can exchange for produce at participating farm stands in the market. The machine also functions conveniently as an ATM. Non-SNAP participants can use debit cards to get different-colored tokens for a small fee. Farmers and food vendors trade the tokens back for reimbursement from the Riverwalk Market Fair.

According to Growing Up Healthy, the program was born from the specific knowledge that the farmer’s market offers fantastic produce, but that few low-income people take advantage of it. In Rice County alone, there are now 3,717 people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—1,986 adults and 1,731 children—with numbers growing steadily. A similar long-running project nearby in Iowa has reduced the stigma associated with using paper coupons (formerly known as "food stamps") and dramatically increased sales each year for farmers.

Northfield Notebook: Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pizza on the grill

One of Northfield's worst-kept secrets is Pizza Night at Red Barn Farm. The Winter Family farm on the south edge of Northfield is an idyllic place, made even more special with the addition of a wood-fired pizza oven. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons in the summer months, Tammy and Patrick Winter and their two children fire up the oven and set about the herculean task of making pizzas for the crowds of people picnicking on the lawn. Depending on when you arrive and order your pizza, it can take a while: we waited almost two hours for our pizza the first time we visited. But the relaxed and convivial atmosphere make it a pleasant wait. Adults sit on blankets sipping glasses of wine (bring your own), children run around happily, and often a band plays up beyond the bonfire of used pizza boxes. It feels like a weekly Fourth of July celebration or a family reunion. And the pizza, when it finally comes, is amazing. After Griff Wigley went for the first time on Wednesday, June 8, he reported on LocallyGrown that 130 pizzas were made. His post includes a good set of photos from that evening.

For our family, Friday is the traditional pizza night. I make my own pizza dough, and usually cook the pizza in the oven on a special pizza stone. Last night, since the weather finally cooperated, I decided to fire up the Weber grill and try making my own backyard wood-fired pizza.

Northfield Notebook: Friday, June 24, 2011

Sawtooth Sunflower

One of the things I like about living in a town bookended by wind turbines is that it gives me a clearer sense of the direction of the wind. For most of the past week, the turbines have been facing into a resolute east wind, bringer of unsettled weather, clouds, and rain. But yesterday afternoon, as I walked through the Cowling Arboretum, I saw that the Carleton turbine had turned to face a north wind, and I was reassured that the forecast would deliver on its promise of clearing skies.

The wind turbines are one index of changes in the weather from day to day. The restored tallgrass prairie in the Arboretum, on the other hand, is an index of the steady progression of the seasons from spring to fall. Right now, one of the highlights of the prairie is the white wild indigo, spiking up above the prairie grasses. The characteristic yellow and orange flowers of the midsummer prairie—rudbeckia (black-eyed susan), compass plant, and various sunflowers (like the sawtooth sunflower pictured here)—have just started to bloom. Click here for a small photoset of some of the flowers blooming in the Arboretum right now.

Photos: Midsommar in Way Park

Midsommar 2011The sixth annual Midsommar in Way Park was another smashing success! The Friends of Way Park would like to extend our thanks to the Sons of Norway, the Northfield Swedish Club, and all the volunteers who made it happen, to the young fiddlers and dancers from the Evergreen School of Performing Arts and the young-at-heart local musicians who made this year's event so special, and to the photographers for sharing their photos from the celebration.

Photo Galleries:

Fifth Season of Northfield Noontime Organ Recitals Begins July 6


Northfield Noontime Organ Recitals enter their fifth season this summer beginning July 6 and concluding on August 10.  All six recitals will be on Wednesday noon hour from 12:15 to 12:45 p. m. Here is the schedule of performers and places:

  • Wed. July 6 -Tom Ferry, First Congregational UCC Church, 300 Union St.
  • Wed. July 13- Wyatt Smith, Skinner Chapel, Carleton College, 405 1st St. E.
  • Wed. July 20 - Richard Collman and David Miller, Bethel Lutheran Church, 1321 North Ave.
  • Wed. July 27 -Mike Powell, Boe Memorial Chapel, St. Olaf College
  • Wed. Aug. 3- Bob Henstein, United Methodist Church, 1401 S. Maple St.
  • Wed. Aug. 10 - Lawrence Archbold, Carleton College Music & Drama Center, 110 Winona St. N.

Six Months Until Give to the Max Day 2011


November 16, 2011 will be the next Give to the Max Day on GiveMN.org.  That's six months away.  But the need for  donations to local non-profit organizations continues year round.  Click here for a complete list of Northfield non-profit organizations represented on GiveMN.org, and consider making a donation online. 

Go! Northfield-Dundas: a new virtual “kiosk” for local and regional transit information


Northfield.org is pleased to announce the launch of Northfield’s newest web resource – called Go! Northfield-Dundas! and found online at go.northfield.org.  You can also reach the website by clicking the "Go! Northfield-Dundas" tab in the navigation bar at the top of the Northfield.org home page.

Go!Northfield-Dundas provides, in one handy, easy-to-use location, information on all local bus, taxi and shuttle services within Northfield and Dundas, as well as transit options from and to our community from the Twin Cities and region. To facilitate non-motorized transportation, the site also hosts a handy “Bike Routes” tab where one can find information and maps relating to in-town bike routes as well as favorite recreational rides in our area. An innovative RideShare feature can be used to find and offer rideshares as well as to organize group ride-sharing and commuter carpools.

Calling All Cooks

Adam Osterkamp

The Measuring Cup, the new kitchen store opening at 320 Division St. S. (across from Goodbye Bue Monday) on April 16, promises to be a cook’s paradise. The store, owned and run by Jan and Steve Osterkamp and siblings Gina Lovestrand and Adam Osterkamp, will offer a variety of gadgets chosen for utility and design to cooks of all ambition-levels.

“We want feedback; we will talk to people to find out what they want us to carry. The Measuring Cup is for Northfield,” says Adam Osterkamp.

The store’s website, http://www.measuringcupofnorthfield.com/ will feature a blog where employees—who, Osterkamp says, “love to cook, and already have a lot of the stuff we carry”—will post recipes and other informational tidbits.

A Flood of Spring Activities: Northfield.org Spring Preview 2011


As temperatures rise slowly but surely and the last snow melts, Northfield prepares itself for Spring. Here is a preview of community events in the coming months.

April and May will be busy months for the arts. On April 8th Northfield Arts Guild opens “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs,” a moving drama by William Inge set in Oklahoma during the Great Depression. Applications are now available for the 50th anniversary annual Arts Guild Riverfront Festival (September 10-11) and will be accepted beginning May 9th. The Northfield Sidewalk Public Poetry Competition accepts submissions through April 11. The winning poems will be announced in April and stamped into Northfield sidewalk pavement to mark national poetry month.

Northfield's Official Citizen Flood HQ


Click here to visit the Flood Volunteer HQ for Northfield Citizens


Northfield's Official Flood/Disaster Volunteer Headquarters is live and waiting for your help!  Your city needs you this spring! 

Make Your Mark! - 2011 Northfield Sidewalk Public Poetry Contest

Make Your Mark

The Arts and Culture Commission of Northfield, in partnership with the Friends of the Northfield Public Library and the Northfield Public Library, has announced a Sidewalk Public Poetry competition to mark National Poetry Month in April.

All residents of Northfield and students in Northfield Schools - young & old, professional writers & amateurs - are eligible and encouraged to submit short poems (10 lines, 240 characters maximum) that are appropriate for the public sphere.

Up to 10 winning poems will be stamped into Northfield sidewalk pavements and will be considered for other public purposes including publication and readings.

The contest is open from March 14 to April 11, 2011.

League of Women Voters presents: This Week In Local Government

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This month at the Hospital Board:

  • Northfield Hospital ahead of many small hospitals in implementation of Electronic Medical Records
  • Strategic planning to include more community and employee stakeholders, but does the group reflect the full diversity of the community?
  • Safety Committee dissolved; reporting structure to administration and board to become more direct

This week at the City Council:

  • 17 Safety Center sites visited and evaluated; Central Valley Coop and Cowles Property get the most points
  • Laurel Court Transit Hub planning moves ahead, with Northfield Depot discussed as a future alternative
  • Council discusses goals (and methods of establishing goals) for 2011-12 term
  • Local legislators to meet with Council on Tuesday

Visitors Tour New Key


Update - Photo Gallery posted!

Last Saturday morning, leaders at the Key invited a group of retired Northfield women to tour their new building and learn more about Key programs and needs. Two members of the Adult board, Zach Pruitt and Missy Donkers, and Dan Dobrow, Youth Board President, greeted visitors.  For most of the guests, this was their first chance to see the transformation of the building, which had been in commercial use for decades, into a welcoming, bright, comfortable space.  It was hard to believe the new owners, the Union of Youth, had only been in the building since September!

Established in 1993 by a small group of area youth, the Union of Youth raised funds to purchase a building on Water Street, which, along with space owned by the city, became The Key, a center for gathering and activities for the next 15 years.  When it was obvious the space no longer was adequate to the evolving programs and growing participation, in spring 2010, NUY purchased the present 6th Street location.  The new building has more than twice the space, and a floor plan uniquely accommodating to meetings, movies, concerts, and just sitting around.  Key members’ artistic talents are in evidence everywhere, as murals and paintings lend color and energy to the rooms, which had once been offices and places of commerce. 

Nominate a local individual or group for HCI's "Making a Difference Award"

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Do you know an individual or group who is working to make Northfield a better place for youth?

If so, take 3 minutes and nominate them for HCI's "Making a Difference Award."

You can find the application HERE -- it's designed to be really easy to complete!

A new winner is selected each month.   Recipients are recognized in the Northfield News and receive a framed certificate.

Click HERE to read descriptions of the fantastic recent recipients.

Another Busy Year at Northfield.org.


Gathered at the Contented Cow on Wednesday, members of Northfield Citizens Online elected Kathy Ness and Amy Acheson to the board, discussed the year’s activities and brainstormed new ideas for 2011.

NCO Board Chair Nate White said ”During the flood we demonstrated our ability to quickly utilize technology for community good and showed why Northfield.org is a valuable community asset.” White reported to the membership at the 2011 Annual Meeting that traffic to Northfield.org peaked in 2010 during the Cannon River flood when the site provided up to the minutes news, photos and video to the community during the flood.

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