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Sustianable Tourism, Buy Local, Rural-Urban Connections

Archive for the ‘Buy-local’ Category

Local Flavor Travel

Posted by deborahmclaren on November 1, 2010

Please join me on my new Facebook page which celebrates LOCAL food, art, culture, heritage and travel. Please feel free to post about locally-owned businesses, organizations and events! See you THERE!

Buying local is the best investment in our economy!

Posted in art, Buy-local, ecotour, entreprenuers, Fair Trade, family travel, food and wine, green music, Indigenous tourism, microenterprise, Minnesota, Saint Paul, sustainable tourism, sustainable travel, theater, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Facebook page for Local Flavor Travel

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 8, 2010

Please join my local flavor travel page and help direct travelers to locally-owned businesses, organizations and events!
Face Book: Local Flavor Travel

Posted in Buy-local, entreprenuers, Fair Trade, green travel, microenterprise, Minnesota, Slow Foods, sustainable tourism, sustainable travel, travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canning Tomatoes

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 7, 2010

We’re getting a California-summer-type fall here in Minnesota right now. The days are 70 degrees, the skies are creamy blue, the sun is low and warm, the trees are glorious golds, oranges and reds. Charles Schultz grew up here in my neighborhood, Merriam Park, in Saint Paul. A lot of the Peanuts cartoons are based in this neighborhood and the characters on his actual boyhood friends. Charles Schultz – this is the perfect day for Charlie Brown to kick a football… or not! It is the perfect day for canning tomatoes however.

Last weekend I visited the St. Paul Farmers Market and picked up a couple of big bags of tomatoes. Unfortunately they weren’t all that ripe. I’ve been ripening them in brown paper bags with a banana in each bag. A ripening banana produces ethylene, which helps in the ripening process.

Between bouts in the kitchen I’m starting My Empire of Dirt by Manny Howard who the first farm in Flatbush, Brooklyn, in generations. His goal was simple: to subsist on what he could produce on this farm, and only this farm, for at least a month.

I’ll take photos of the canning process and review Howard’s book soon.

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Fall Raspberry Picking in Minnesota

Posted by deborahmclaren on September 30, 2010

Every fall my husband Rob and I try to get out in the country for berry picking, usually near the St. Croix river just southeast of St. Paul. I love making hand-picked raspberry jam. This year I took our “friendship family” student, Ayu with us. She’s attending Univ. of St. Thomas for a year and stays in a dorm but we kind of look out for her. She’s awesome! Anil was grumpy and didn’t want to go but as soon as we picked up Ayu for the ride to the countryside he changed his attitude. She’s got that effect on everyone – cheerful and positive. It was fun driving through Minnesota prairies and by old farms. I admit my whole attitude changes too when I leave the city. There’s nothing like fresh air, being in nature, and being away from work and home obligations. Yeah!!!

Ayu ready for a hay ride

We drove to Afton Apple farm and noticed there were very few cars in the lot – normally there might be dozens. Unfortunately we learned a summer hail storm had destroyed much of their apple orchard and raspberry patch. We were determined to glean what we could from the field. We picked for over an hour and only got about a quart each – 3 quarts in all (Anil played while we picked). Most of the berries were small and not ripe yet. The patch had a few surprises though. It was full of spiders – a type I haven’t seen before. Let me know if you can identify this spider.

Raspberry loving spider

Afton Apple is really suffering this year. Some other orchards in the area have provided them with apples to sell that keeps them afloat. And they aren’t making anything on their raspberries. They still had a lot of goodies in their market – cheese curds, jams, everything needed for canning, pies and fresh cider. The animals in the petting zoo are still there. It’s always fun to see them. My favorite this year was a cute little black calf.

Playing in the hay!

The farm workers were happy to have some guests. They are always friendly there, but without the crowd this year they happily chatted away and pointed out the pumpkin field when we were on the hay ride. The pumpkins looked smaller than usually but fine. Hopefully they will have good sales. It was a lot of fun taking Ayu to the farm. She loved picking berries. She was determined!

We ended up getting raspberries from an organic market in Minneapolis and spent the rest of the weekend making jam. Yum!

Locally-owned farms are disappearing. Afton Apple tries to offer a mix of things to get people to come out. It’s a good thing this year when they have suffered because of hail. Please support small farms and get out to one near you today. This is the harvest season so no doubt there’s pumpkins, hay rides, corn maizes, and maybe some Halloween tricks or treats awaiting you! Click here to get a directory of Minnesota farms. Sunny skies are predicted for the rest of this week!

Cow Train

Posted in Buy-local, Minnesota, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Magic Bus Cafe

Posted by deborahmclaren on August 20, 2010

Mobile food is more popular this summer in the Twin Cities. The Magic Bus Cafe is awesome!

The Magic Bus Cafe bringing music and good food to St. Paul

magic chili dog wisconsin cojack cheese, bean chili, chopped onion 5.00
grateful dog psychedelic curry relish 5.00
soulshine dog sauerkraut, local bacon, brown mustard 5.00
mexicali dog spicy relish, sliced jalapeno, wisconsin cojack cheese 5.00
give beets a chance dog garlic beet sauerkraut 5.00
pig pen dog pulled bbq pork with psychedelic or spicy relish 6.00
plain hot dog choose either all beef hot dog or vegan 4.00

Magic Bus Cafe dogs


Shiny Happy People

Follow the Magic Bus on twitter!

If you look close you can spot Chris flippin some dogs in the background here on the Magic Bus – Who would have known?

Posted in Buy-local, entreprenuers, quite unusual, Saint Paul, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Minnesota Garlic Festival a zero waste event

Posted by deborahmclaren on July 29, 2010

5th Annual Minnesota Garlic Festival

Saturday, August 14, 2010
(2nd Saturday in August)
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson

Adults: $5, Kids under 12: $3, stroller/carried babies free

No Pets Please


Minnesota Garlic Festival is the premier event for lovers of garlic, great local foods and good times! Family friendly, fun filled and fragrant, this festival features fantastic foods, celebrity chefs, marvelous music, area artisans, goofy games and lots of GARLIC – all in support of a healthy environment, sustainable farms and vital rural communities in Minnesota.

Minnesota garlic growers will have the first of their fresh 2010 gourmet garlic crop at the festival, and it can keep in your kitchen for up to a year! There are over 100 varieties of the country’s finest garlic grown here, all planted in October, harvested in July, and cured to perfection just in time for the festival. Other than the great taste, it is well documented that garlic is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

The Garlic Festival offers a unique culinary experience with a cadre of renowned Minnesota chefs converging at the festival cafe, “The Great ‘Scape”, and a sumptuous selection of celebrity chefs will present cooking demonstrations on the main stage throughout the day, all under the direction of the our Maven of Mmmmm, Mary Jane Miller. Check at the web site below in the summer to get the full roster.

We’ll continue our tradition of unique entertainment, with festival favorites returning, plus some new acts. There’s plenty of activities for the kids, including the popular kite flying attraction, the Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade, and old-style country picnic games.

MN Garlic Festival is A ZERO WASTE event! We make a concerted effort to produce no trash – if you can’t take it home, it’s recycled, re-used or composted.

Come to farm country and Taste the Bounty!

Sponsored by the Crow River Chapter, Sustainable Farming Association of MN and others.

For more information, contact:
See for more information.

Posted in Buy-local, food and wine, Minnesota, Slow Foods, sustainable tourism | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Carrotmob is coming to town: St. Paul

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 19, 2010

Let’s oroganize a Carrotmob in St. Paul/Minneapolis. Keep reading the blog for more information. Also send in your ideas.


Carrotmob is a type of consumer activism in which businesses compete at how socially responsible they can be, and then a network of consumers spends money to support whichever business makes the strongest offer. We harness consumer power to make it possible for the most socially-responsible business practices to also be the most profitable choices. It’s the opposite of a boycott.

It’s easier to understand if you look at an example. In the first ever Carrotmob event, a liquor store agreed to invest in upgrades that made their store more energy-efficient. In exchange, hundreds of Carrotmobbers showed up at once to support the winning store. To the right is a video of that campaign, which explains the concept rather well. With over 50 events worldwide, this model is proven to work on a small scale. Next we are going to grow our network until we can apply the same method to large companies. Towards that end, we are currently incorporating Carrotmob into a new non-profit, building a team, and raising money to support a large expansion. Browse upcoming Carrotmob campaigns here.

Posted in Buy-local, food and wine, Minnesota, quite unusual, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Go Local: St. Paul, MN Grand Avenue

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 13, 2010

Grumpy Boy

Local travel takes you outside of the bubble that you can often find yourself in as a traveler. Instead of traveling from place to place and only really scratching the surface, local travel helps you to gain more of an understanding of a place, it’s culture, it’s environment, it’s economy and it’s people. When I travel I like seeking out locally-owned businesses – getting away from the ever-present corporate chains that you can barely avoid these days.  I’m going to start blogging more about my home town cause it rocks!

I love my town!  Saint Paul, Minneota is noted for its neighborhoods. The city has been called “seventeen small towns with one mayor, “ owing to the neighborhood-based life of much of the city. It’s fairly diverse, with lots of  Southeast Asian (Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Filippino), Indian, Somalian, Eritrean and Ethopian new immigrants – mixed in with lots of Scandinavian, German, and Mexican immigrants that have been here for a hundred years or so. And of course – this is the original homeland of the Dakota Medwaketon (Sioux/Lakota).

Grand Avenue, St. Paul

This afternoon my son, Anil and I stopped on Grand Avenue  just east of Snelling to visit Shish Meditteranean Restaurant for a treat.  He was in a very fussy, grumpy mood and needed food immediately!  It was our first time to visit Shish. We ordered a chicken gyro plate that included to-die-for-hummus (garlicky and smooth, with lots of paprika), fresh pita bread and a generous salad. Shish uses local foods whenever possible. They also make delightful treats – your basic baklava but lots of tempting chocolate desserts and M&M cookies.

Yummies at Shish

I noticed at least a dozen salads on the menu – great to know about here in the Northland where salads have tended to be very limited (except summer time) until recently where winter greenhouses and tunnel gardening are making headway). Shish was voted Best Restaurant by readers of the City Pages (the Twin Cities free weekly entertainment news).

Sam at Shish!

The staff person, Sam, tried to tempt Anil out of his mood with offers of cookies but he wouldn’t budge. He was enjoying his little gloomy spell to the fullest.  However, he finally couldn’t resist and had to try the chicken. It’s not-hot, but “grill” spicy and so tender it falls off your fork! And half the plate was piled with it.

It was an emergency stop but made us feel so much better that we decided to walk around and peek into some of the nearby stores. This part of town, near Macalester College, is full of little locally-owned stores and cafes. There’s an army surplus type shop, Cat-Man-Do restaurant, Tea Garden, the very eclectic Coffee News Cafe, Khyber Pass (my husband’s favorite), the Italian Pie Shoppe & Winery, Pad Thai Grand Cafe, Dunn Brothers Coffee, a couple of spas (I like New Beginnings), gift shops, a cooperatively owned Ace hardware store and Wet Paint – an independently owned art supply store (since the early 1970s I’ve heard). About two blocks away is Coastal Seafood, the Twin Cities best fish market.  We always enjoy popping into the hardware store to browse through the seasonal stuff.  It’s May so we scoped out the latest model bar-b-q grills, wooden Adirondack chairs, gardening supplies and seeds. Our visit reminded me to take my torn window screens in for repair before the bugs arrive in full force.

Since this area is surrounded by small colleges most of the cafes provide wifi, won’t rush you, and have excellent food and fair prices. The area is a mix of college students, local residents, and adventurous diners.

I love my town! If you’re from the surrounding area, visiting, or just driving through, Grand Avenue is not far from I-94 (south at Snelling exit) and is a nice place to visit. It’s accessible by bus routes and is easy to bike to.  It’s an excellent place to get over the grumpies.

Posted in Buy-local, food and wine, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Local Travel: Connecting Independent Travelers with People and Places

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 12, 2010

Local Travel: Connecting Independent Travelers with People and Places

8 April 2010 420 views No Comment

Within the past few weeks, over 40 (and counting) companies and organizations from around the world – representing a diverse range of industry segments and interest areas, from urban travel to wildlife safari, from international companies to community-based groups – have gathered in support of the Local Travel Movement, a new global initiative promoting the local way of travel – getting in touch with the local people and seeing a place like a local.


One look at the list of current partners, and you’ll see that this movement has not set out to create a narrowly defined category or set of terms to be analyzed; rather, the movement is about creating and promoting opportunities. Opportunities for travelers to discover new, exciting and enriching ways to experience the world. Opportunities for tourism organizations to connect with each other and share stories. Opportunities for the tourism industry to help give locals a real voice and develop a stronger ethical dialogue about tourism’s connections with local people, the local environment, local culture and the local economy.

Visiting a local farmer’s market is a great way to enjoy
conversations with the locals and get a real taste of local flavors.

Promoting these Local Travel Values, TIES joins our friends and partners in encouraging travelers around the world to think about and appreciate all the things that make your travel special and memorable – learning to use simple phrases in the local language and communicating with your local hosts with and without words; experiencing an authentic taste of local specialties; being part of grassroots activities giving back to the people and places you’re visiting.

Spending your money locally and contributing to the local economy
is one important way of promoting the local way of travel.

We believe that these values are well-aligned with the principles of ecotourism, which are about minimizing the negative footprint of your travel, and maximizing the positive impact – benefiting conservation and the well-being of local people. By choosing to “go local” whenever possible – eating local food, enjoying traveling slowly by bike or on foot, and opting for locally-owned and operated accommodation – you are making a difference for the people and places you visit.

Try renting a bike from a friend or from a local bike rental service
and take a relaxing ride around the community you’re visiting.

Learn More: Why Local Travel?

For travellers it’s a chance to get under a place’s skin (and let it under theirs), while also making the most of their travel time and saving money by spending locally. For host communities, it is vital for enforcing the beneficial qualities of tourism, maximising a general awareness of the local culture and minimising ‘leakage’ from the local economy. Read more

Local travel movement generating a buzz around the web:

Get Involved

>> Join the Local Travel Facebook page, invite your friends and share your comments
>> Join the Local Travel LinkedIn group, share the group and join the conversations

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Future of Travel and Tourism by Glen Hiemstra

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 7, 2010

Future of Travel and Tourism

by Glen Hiemstra on 01/07/09 at 1:24 pm |

Last week I spoke to the Travel and Tourism Research Association on alternative futures for travel and tourism. It was the 40th Annual Conference of the association, held in Honolulu, and my appearance was coordinated by Goldstar Speakers. The key slides from my brief program are available for download via Slideshare.

I asked where the future of travel and tourism lies, between the vision of a Virgin Galactic for space adventureVirgin-Galactic Space Port, and that of the creators of the Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland, meaning the “zero star” hotel in recognition of the current and future austerity of travel?Null-Stern Hotel

The heart of the program focused on 4 converging forces driving the future, and 4 emerging trends in travel and tourism. As a futurist speaker who tries always to see the 360-degree view of future forces, I began with a run-down on the primary forces shaping our time and which I see converging into one grand pattern – economic disparity and frugality, expensive energy, demographic destiny related to aging, young and diverse populations, and environmental imperatives with associated changes in life styles.

In the travel and tourism industry these forces are leading to 4 emerging trends:

1. Keeping it local. If trends in energy, economy, and environment continue, then traveling long distances for recreation will become more rare. In order for the resort community to maintain a market, they will need to cater more to a local clientele. This is captured in the concept of the 10-kilometer hotel, one whose prime customers come from the local area for a respite.

2. Alternative transport. Today the local paper in Seattle featured a photo of a local organic farmer delivering his wares via sailboat to the docks in Seattle. He calls it the no-oil food. In the travel and tourism industry this kind of move will be and is being mirrored as people seek out non-motorized experiences like biking through France, or taking trips by sail. Over the longer term, again depending on how energy, environment, and economic trends play out, it is likely that tourists will seek out slower, less energy intensive, even zero-fossile fuel energy experiences.

3. Destination evolution. This trend is underway, as destination resorts focus on becoming greener and more sustainable, more local in their attraction, more astute in their use of information technology for advertising and for management, and more knowledgeable of market trends via research.

4. New whys of travel. It is said that there is graffiti from ancient tourists on the monuments in Egypt. People have always and will always travel to see new places and people, even if they have to walk or ride an animal to do so. That is not going to change. But, one more time depending on how the converging trends play out, we may see a return to the why of travel being for two primary purposes – to visit family, and to seek new adventure. Business travel may decline as 3D-net technologies become robust, and distance travel may decline as economic and environmental imperatives demand. Local travel may fill the need for reconnecting with yourself and recharging the batteries. In fact making that a focus of what you offer in the travel and tourism industry may be one key to the future.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet video host and founder of To arrange for a speech contact

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