Deborahmclaren's Weblog

Sustianable Tourism, Buy Local, Rural-Urban Connections

Posts Tagged ‘microenterprise’

The Little Farm Store in St. Paul – Egg | Plant!

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 31, 2010

I knew the little store had opened about 4 blocks from my house this spring… I even joined Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply on Face Book. Despite numerous drive-bys I had not actually stopped in until Friday. Their FB announcement that “chicks are in” was too tempting. My son, Anil, has never seen baby chicks. Weird since I lived on farms growing up and even injected dyes into eggs so that Easter chicks were born blue, pink and orange. As a child, there’s nothing more wonderful than cuddling a soft baby chick in your hands.

Keepin cozy at Egg/Plant Farm Supply

We stopped in and fell in love with the place. The chicks were toooooo cute!!!!! It felt like walking into a 1850s farm store, except they have indoor plumin.

Their focus is on edible seeds and plants (vegetables, herbs, berries, fruits) but they also carry general purpose garden tools, soils, fertilizers, and supplies, with a primarily organic focus. Although we can’t raise chickens (although lots of people in St Paul are doing it – we just have a LARGE DOG problem), we found lots of other cool things. We bought eco-mulch which is organic hardwood chips compressed together so that one bale is equal to about three times what it looks like. There were some Chef Jeff’s organic seedlings – we stocked up on hot peppers – “super chili” and “Poblano” as well as an EGGPLANT and a watermelon. I wonder how the watermelon will evolve in our square foot garden. I wanted to buy some grow rings – terra cotta pots without a bottom. They are for protecting seedlings and plants from snails and other ugly buglies. They are a little on the steep side (although made by a St. Paul potter). We’ll save up for a couple next year.

Egg|Plant stocks Seed Savers heirloom seeds.

Egg|Plant’s owners are all about organic gardening so their small shop has a bevy of organic organic potting mixes, compost and composted manure, vermiculite, peat moss, and coir, and composting supplies including the Worm Factory worm composter.

Egg/|Plant has organic and conventional chicken feeds, and other supplies for raising chicks and urban chicken-keeping. As an addition to supplies for growing your own food, they carry canning and preserving supplies as well as D.I.Y fresh cheese kits and sprouters.

They are looking for local products, recycled and sustainably produced products in all areas. If you are a crafts person or artisan with pieces that fit into their product mix, please contact Egg|Plant Farm Supply to discuss sales of your products in their store.

If you are an urban farmer, you might want to check out City Back Yard Farming. It’s an urban CSA and U-Pick farm on Victoria Street in St. Paul.

I love my town! St. Paul Rocks and Gardens!

Posted in microenterprise, Saint Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

building community

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 9, 2009

What brings my community together? We love our community councils, beautiful, historic neighborhood and unique shops. Next week we’re meeting to discuss how we can make our urban, capitol city neighborhood more sustainable. What are some things that have happened in other urban neighborhoods to bring people together around “sustainability?”

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

Regional Flavor Strategies

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 2, 2009

Working as a consultant to implement and expand the Regional Flavor Strategy at White Earth Indian Reservation and nearby area. Coordinated a meeting Sept 10th that brought together the 6 RF pilot projects with government, nonprofit, tribe and entreprenuers in West Central Minnesota. Working to build small, sustainable businesses (microenterprise) around heritage, culture, arts, foods, and tourism. Look for info at RFCircle.

Other RF participants and interested folks from W. Central Minnesota encouraged to join!

From the AEO website:

Microenterprise Development is a pathway to business ownership for underserved entrepreneurs that generates income, builds assets and supports local economies in creating employment. Most microenterprise development programs provide core services including business training and technical assistance, and access to capital. Other services may include access to markets and technology training.

Why Regional Flavor?

As many rural communities experience a ‘loss of power’ in their traditional economic engines (manufacturing, resource extraction, etc), this project offers new hope and opportunity. Utilizing collaborative efforts to implement a mix of rural economic development strategies that incorporate microenterprise development, regional tourism, cultural and historic assets, and agricultural product development, the Regional Flavor approach supports these entities and entrepreneurs in working together to rethink, redefine, and rebrand themselves and their regions.

Posted in Buy-local, entreprenuers, microenterprise, Minnesota, Native tourism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Slow Foods Dinner at White Earth Indian Reservation

Posted by deborahmclaren on September 14, 2009

Janice Chilton, chef at the Minwanijige Cafe at White Earth (Minnesota) presented a beautiful and delicious dinner for Regional Flavor participants from around the US last week. Participants traveled from America’s Grape Heritage center in NY/PA, the Arkansas Delta, south central Colorado, the Ohio Appalachia, and the “Grow Nebraska” project to learn more about our efforts here to combine economic development and support for microenterprises connected to regional foods, culture, heritage, arts, and tourism.

Janice prepared a late summer salad of veggies and greens from country gardens at White Earth. Toasted pine nuts and raspberry vinegrette provided a light, flavorful and earthy topping.

We feasted on braised pork, creamy new potatoes, wild rice and mushrooms, baked pumpkin and homemade wheat/butter bread. Janice served mini caramel and cream pies and locally harvested and hand-made maple syrup candies. Richwood Winery, the newest vintner in Minnesota, provided the wines.

Ojibwe singer Annie Humphrey played guitar as the sun set behind her over the White Earth forest. You can find out more about Annie at

Musician Annie Humphrey

Musician Annie Humphrey

Over the years her songwriting has focused on a specific theme with a message to “Be brave and have a good journey.” Her haunting song “Beautiful Son” is still in my heart and my mind.

The Minwanjige Cafe is located at 33287 County Rd. 34, Ogema, MN 56569. It is at the intersection of 34 and 143, across from Strawberry Lake Store. (218)-983-3834

Minwanjige Cafe

The Slow Foods Dinner topped off a 3-day program that included touring White Earth and West Central Minnesota, and a regional meeting held Sept 10th at MapleLag Resort that brought together enterprenuers and economic leaders in the region. The “Regional Flavor Circle” in Minnesota will continue to work to support the growth of sustainable entreprenuers in a geographic circle that includes the village of Mahnomen and Itasca State Park (headwaters of the Mississippi River) on the north and the villages of Fergus Falls and Wadena along the south. A Regional Flavor Entreprenuer office will be set up at M State in Detroit Lakes, MN. Contact Juanita Lindsay at or myself for more information – especially if you are interested in being part of the Regional Flavor Circle.

Posted in Buy-local, ecotour, entreprenuers, green travel, microenterprise, Minnesota, Native tourism, Slow Foods, sustainable tourism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The 2009 Rural Tourism Fair in Oaxaca

Posted by deborahmclaren on January 5, 2009

The 2009 Rural Tourism Fair takes place January 19-30. Organizers
promise a very big small event. The fair is hosted each year by and friends. Details

"This year's event expands on what we've accomplished the past few
years in Oaxaca, Mexico," explained founder Ron Mader, who
created the fair in 2001 as a way of conducting an inexpensive
grassroots event to bring together locals and visitors. Among the
advances -- many of the local artisans and tour providers have their
own websites and photo galleries on Flickr.


The objective of the Rural Tourism Fair is to highlight options
visitors have exploring the rural countryside in a responsible manner
while modeling what makes an authentic grassroots tourism event. The
fair features travel options around the world and encourages those
using Web 2.0 tools including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube to
document best practices. Among the highlights -- a walk with the
weavers in the town of Teotitlán del Valle, dining adventures at the
Caldo de Piedra restaurant, local food tastings, a video night and a
hand's on visit to a community garden.

The event -- now in its 9th year -- is held in late January as a way
to kick start the new year and help participants get traction for new

How to Participate
There are easy ways to participate:
1) Share photos in the Rural Tourism Photography Group --
2) If you are in Oaxaca, join us for one of the events listed in the
program. Bonus points if you can share photos in the Photography Group!
3) If you organize your own event, let us know so we can add it to the

If you can help promote the event, please add a link from your website
or forward the news to a friend. 


Posted in ecotour, green travel, microenterprise, sustainable tourism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Small-Mart Revolutionary

Posted by deborahmclaren on December 4, 2008

Michael Shuman spoke about the Small-Mart Revolution during the AEO gathering this week in Charleston.  The Small-Mart Revolution aims to improve the prosperity of every community, in the U.S. and abroad, by maximizing local self-reliance and opportunities for locally owned businesses.

by Michael Shuman

by Michael Shuman is a web resource for people interested in news, stories, people, innovations, and analysis concerning local business, social enterprise, self-reliant communities, and related policies. It grows out of the writings of Michael ShumanThe Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age (Free Press, 1998).

Posted in microenterprise, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

AEO’s Regional Flavor gathering in Charleston, SC Dec 1-5, 2008

Posted by deborahmclaren on November 30, 2008

I’m looking forward to participating in a Regional Flavor Learning Cluster this week in Charleston, SC, as  part of the Minnesota regional group lead by White Earth Land Recovery Project.  The Regional Flavors project is coordinated by  the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), a national leadership organization and the voice of microenterprise development. By providing cutting edge training, knowledge sharing, Federal and State public policy and advocacy, and communications, AEO empowers a community of nearly 500 member organizations to be uniquely effective in serving the needs of microentrepreneurs who do not have access to traditionalsources or business education or capital.  Check their website for tools, resources, webinars, and much more.

What is the Regional Flavor Learning Cluster?
Building on our prior Food Sector, Sustainable Tourism, and Artisan Learning Clusters, AEO launched the Regional Flavor Learning Cluster in March 2007. Following a competitive Request for Proposal process, six regional networks in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Ohio were selected for this four year project. Additional support for the Cluster has been secured through an USDA Rural Community Development Initiative grant awarded to AEO in April 2007.

Why Regional Flavor?
As many rural communities experience a ‘loss of power’ in their traditional economic engines (manufacturing, resource extraction, etc), this project offers new hope and opportunity. Utilizing collaborative efforts to implement a mix of rural economic development strategies that incorporate microenterprise development, regional tourism, cultural and historic assets, and agricultural product development, the Regional Flavor approach supports these entities and entrepreneurs in working together to rethink, redefine, and rebrand themselves and their regions.

Posted in microenterprise | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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