Skip to main content

Newsroom

If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place.

Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

Continuing our collaboration with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, LEC is working with residents of Solace Apartments in St. Peter to revamp their community growing space.

Participating Residents will meet once a week with LEC Garden Manager Mal Murphy to convert the space into a food garden. Participants will each have their own plot, as well as a community plot with produce available for all residents.

We are honored and excited to go on this growing journey with the residents of Solace. Stay tuned for updates throughout the growing season!

Things have been hopping out at the BEC Community Farm this spring! Cold weather tolerant plants are in the ground and compost is being added to all the beds. None of this would be possible without the help of our community of volunteers!

Whether long-time or first-time volunteers, everyone who volunteers makes an impact. Our goal this year is to donate over 3,000 lbs of produce to community partners such as ECHO Food Shelf and Feeding Our Community Partners' Summer Food Program. It is the dedication of both our Farm Manager and our volunteers that will make this happen!

Last weekend was the first (and probably only) Mankato Community KALE-age.

What is a KALE-age you may ask?

It's the brainchild of our Digital Media Content Manager Jacob, who says, "The KALE-age is cute, fun, and unlike anything ever attempted in the past in any way!" This vegetable-themed homage to a rather well known Mankato community photo project took place during the Compassionate Living Festival which was held May 4th and 5th at Curiosi-Tea House in Upper North Mankato.

Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th century Abbess, was blessed with an astonishing array of talents. She was, among other things, a mystic, naturalist, visionary, and composer. She believed "foods of joy" revitalized us and helped preserve good health in every sphere - physical, spiritual, and psychological.

In the cookbook, From Saint Hildegard's Kitchen, chef Jany Fournier-Rosset has brought 175 of her recipes into the modern era. I have a deep love for Saint Hildegard and when I got this book a few years ago the first thing I had to make was from the "Saint Hildegard's Own Special Recipes" section - "Cookies that Bring Joy." They're similar to a spice cookie, not too sweet, the perfect companion with afternoon tea.

Plus, it is pretty darned cool to be baking cookies that were baked in the 12th century!

Last month LEC Staff met with students from Jefferson Elementary and Dakota Meadows Middle School to start tomato and pepper seeds. As part of our new Youth Gardening Initiative program called "Seed to Sauce," the students will follow the seeds from planting to harvesting, learning hands on about the importance of healthy food choices.

The seeds that the students planted have begun to sprout under the watchful eye of LEC staff and some well-placed grow lights. In May the students will plant the seedlings at the Community Farm...

Living Earth Center is honored and grateful for Consolidated Communications Community Foundation's support of our Community Food Connection Program.

Their $2,500 grant will support LEC's  Community Food Connection Program (CFC). Through the CFC LEC directly connects people to the land and to healthy, organic produce.  We are able to confront the issues of food insecurity and sovereignty in our community collaboratively through a multi-faceted approach. 

Living Earth Center has published its Annual Report for the 2023 - 2024 fiscal year.

Look out your window.  How does your yard fit into the natural world?  Margaret Renkl’s yard in Tennessee seems to fit well, and in her book, The Comfort of Crows, she expresses her joy in nurturing and experiencing it.

In Crows, Renkl, who is a weekly opinion columnist for the New York Times, chronicles a year, week by week, of observing and reflecting on the natural world, mostly in regard to her yard.  As in her NYT columns, Renkl writes about flora, fauna, politics, and culture. However, Crows is more personal...

We are excited to introduce our new Community Farm Manager, SkyAnne Walker!  SkyAnne brings a wealth of growing knowledge and we are looking forward to working with her.  Please find a short bio below, and if you see her out at the Farm be sure to stop and say hello!

SkyAnne Walker comes to Living Earth Center with a background in Microbiology. She is currently a Clinical Lab Technologist in the Microbiology Department of the Laboratory at Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) in Mankato...

Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden is part memoir, part nature essay, part history lesson... cultivated all together in the home garden of author Camille Dungy's Colorado yard. When Dungy set out to change her homogeneous suburban yard into a garden she envisioned a bio-diverse landscape, "A garden that seemed to have nothing to offer humans but beauty."

According to Dungy, this beauty is of utmost importance in our modern lives. She writes, "Every person who finds herself constantly navigating political spaces - by which I mean every person who regularly finds herself demoralized and exhausted by the everyday patterns of life in America - should have access to such a garden...

A few weeks ago Laura brought some leftover soup that her neighbor had made into the office to share with us for lunch. We all couldn't stop raving about how good it was and asked Laura to get us the recipe.

She did, and we are excited to share it with you here as well. It's the perfect fall comfort soup and makes your kitchen smell fantastic while you are cooking!

Our Digital Content Manager, Jacob Bases, has been hard at work putting together LEC's new podcast and the first episode is now available for your listening pleasure!

The episodes aim to tell stories that inspire and inform you to help get some dirt under your nails! The first episode features Jacob and Menari Body Works holistic aesthetician and herbalist Allegra Kay. She talks about her journey into working with natural beauty products and shares her thoughts as well as insights into some of her practices and plants from the area she uses in them...

We are both excited and honored to announce our 2023 Earth Conference Keynote Speaker: Carolina Ortiz.

Carolina has been with Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina (COPAL) since it’s founding in 2018. She led the Communications Team for two years and is now Associate Executive Director.

Carolina was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and is currently studying communications and women’s studies in Minnesota. A DREAMer herself, her passion for social justice stems from her own experiences...

If you're like us here at Living Earth Center, when the temperatures start to dip and the leaves begin to change we start to think about making soup, about warm hearty crock pot meals, and about enjoying a warm loaf of homemade bread. There is just something comforting about snuggling up with a cup of tea and a cookbook, planning your next culinary adventure warm and snuggled in your favorite chair while the leaves and temperatures are falling outside.

We are excited to announce that we have hired Jacob Bases as our new Digital Content Manager. We sat down with Jacob to learn a little more about him and what exciting plans he has for LEC!

LEC: Tell us a bit about yourself - who you are, how long you've been in the Mankato area, what else you're involved in work-wise and hobbies.

JB: My name is Jacob Bases, and I have been living in Mankato for ten years after returning home to be closer to my family. I've always had a passion for the outdoors, participating in hobbies such as mountain biking, hiking, birding, and photography. Additionally, I enjoy creating various types of music from programming synthesizers to playing Bass Guitar and Baritone Ukulele...

Our 2023 Give to Grow Mankato Campaign finished strong with a total of $27,139 raised to support our Community Food Connection Program!

A huge thank you to our generous Living Earth Center community. As a small nonprofit, every donation makes a difference and we could not operate without the support from each and every one of you.

Our Digital Content Manager, Jacob, recently got some fresh okra from the Community Farm and tried out this recipe for Roasted Okra.

Last month family and friends of longtime LEC volunteers and supporters, Dee and Dave Czech, gathered in the Community Garden to dedicate a memorial bench in honor of Dee’s parents, George and Agnes Schlichting.  “We were honored when Dee and Dave approached us about having a memorial bench placed in the Garden,” said LEC Executive Director Laura Marsala Peterson.  “Dee has been an integral part of LEC over the years. We feel privileged to help memorialize her parents in this way.”

Czech’s parents owned a 280-acre farm just west of Rice, MN.  She said that their consciousness of and dedication to connection with the land shaped how she grew up and how she views the world today.  “They did diversified farming, raising crops, chickens, pigs, and cattle,” she said.  “They were sensitive to their relationship to the land. According to what they grew and gleaned from the land, they would in turn, rotate crops to replenish what had been taken from the soil.”

She said their dedication to right relations with the land was in alignment with LEC’s mission and made the Community Garden the perfect place to memorialize them...

Last month our Executive Director, Laura Marsala Peterson, sat down with the team at Triple Falls to discuss all things Living Earth Center. They talk about LEC's mission, the importance of community connection, and upcoming events.

We are excited to announce our line up of topics for our 2023 Creating Common Ground Series, and to announce the events' new location!

Creating Common Ground is a series of fun and educational conversations where we take two seemingly unrelated topics, learn about them from local community experts, and then work together to find the common ground that connects them. It is an attempt to not only highlight the cultural richness that exists within the Greater Mankato Area but also delve into the interconnection between seemingly different unrelated circles and communities.

New for 2023 - LEC is partnering with LocAle Brewing Company to host these conversations at the brewery!

Living Earth Center's Poet Laureate, Esther Marcella Hoffmann, writes a poem for each Solstice Celebration. Here is her poem for Summer Solstice 2023, which she performed at our Summer Solstice Celebration in the Community Garden June 21, 2023...

LEC is excited to announce that the Homestead Apartments Community Garden is up and running! This project was created in partnership with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership and the residents of Homestead, and provides space for residents to grow food for their families.

"When we first began envisioning the garden with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, we would have been delighted if 2 or 3 families wanted to participate in the first year," said LEC Executive Director Laura Marsala Peterson. "We are beyond thrilled to have 13 families gardening!" The garden consists of a fenced in area with 13 plots for families and a children's garden...

Now that we are settled into our new office, our library is ready for business! We have hundreds of books available for checkout, everything from cookbooks ("Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day") to poetry books ("New and Selected Poems" by Mary Oliver). The library has an extensive collection of nonfiction on topics such as climate change ("The Post Carbon Reader"), organic living ("The Transition Handbook"), and gardening how-to ("The Heirloom Life Gardener"). We also have a collection of nature-themed children's books, so bring the kiddos when you come check us out!

Then library is located in our new office at 1603 N Riverfront Dr in Mankato and is open during office hours. If you would like to visit at a different time, contact us at info@livingearthcentermn.org to schedule a time.

You may be asking, what's the big deal about the worms?

Well, when we took over management of the Blue Earth County Community Farm in 2021 the ground was all hard packed clay soil. Not a single worm to be found. Worms are an indicator of healthy soil that is good for growing, and after 2 years of working to build up the soil, we are just beyond thrilled that we have worms out at the farm!

Earthworms perform several important functions in soil. They improve soil structure, water movement, nutrient cycling and plant growth...

This month we are spotlighting Phil Radel and his business Radel Tree!

Phil donated all the wood chips for pathways at the Community Garden and Farm this year. We are grateful for this support, we use a LOT of wood chips and Phil's donation makes a huge difference for us as a small nonprofit.

He has over 10 years experience in both tree trimming and removal and specializes in climbing trees that are not accessible to a bucket truck. If you need tree services we encourage you to check out this Mankato-based small business that gives back to local area nonprofits!

Earlier this month, LEC moved into their new office space at 1603 N Riverfront Drive.

It was an emotional move, both exciting to be taking this step towards our new future, and also a sadness to be leaving Good Counsel Hill, our home for many years. As we are getting settled in the new space it is feeling more and more like home.

Once we are all set up we will be hosting an open house to welcome everyone to come and see the new space - so keep your eyes open for upcoming details about that fun day!

Living Earth Center is honored and grateful for Consolidated Communications Community Foundation's support of our Children's Gardening Initiative.

Their $1500 grant will support LEC's programming initiative which gets children outside and exposed to the wonders and benefits of gardening. LECs Youth Gardening Initiative works with Community Partners (MY Place, Head Start, and the YMCA) to provide gardening education and encounters to local youth at no cost to these community partners...

If you are asking yourself, “what *exactly* is Intersectional Environmentalism?” You are not alone. Author and educator, Leah Thomas, who coined the phrase “Intersectional Environmentalism” (IE) has your back in this thoughtful and eye-opening book.

Straight from the back cover: “The Intersectional Environmentalist is an introduction to the intersection of environmentalism, racism, and privilege, and an acknowledgement of the fundamental truth that we cannot save the planet without uplifting the voices of its people.”

When many of us think of traditional environmentalism, we think of saving the planet – nature and endangered animals. We don’t often include humans in the definition...

Living Earth Center is looking for new board members!

We are in the midst of big and exciting transitions at LEC and we are looking for Board Members who are dedicated to our mission and want to work together as we navigate these changes and opportunities. This is your chance to shape the long term vision for LEC's growth well into the future.

We are seeking individuals with board experience who have a passion for food justice, community building, land access, and/or gardening...

We are pleased to announce that we have two new staff members joining the LEC team! We would like to introduce Cora Uyigue our new Program Manager and Noah Bjork who will be coordinating Marketing and Outreach. We are excited to be bringing them on board and look forward to working with both of them as LEC continues to grow...

With snow on the ground, we are excited for greener times ahead.

Registration for the 2023 gardening season is currently underway. Please click here to register for a garden plot. Return gardeners have until March 15th to register for their plots (or request new or additional plots). If we do not receive a registration by this date, your plot will be forfeited and given to someone else. We anticipate a large waiting list this year.

I am aware that it is the middle of February and Minnesota is in the firm grip of ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures, but I'm making popsicles anyway!

A week or so ago my seven year-old and I were at Ikea and she spotted some popsicle molds. My brain was immediately flooded with childhood memories: it's 1983 and I'm making popsicles with my mom, sitting on the front steps enjoying their frozen sugary goodness. I didn't even question it, I told her to put them in the cart.

It was only when we got home and she started asking to make popsicles that the whole "it's the middle of winter" thing clicked in my brain...

As 2023 begins we are excited to announce our Farm and Garden Managers for this coming growing season.

This recipe makes a delicious and easy focaccia bread, it is perfect to enjoy with soup, as a sandwich, or as a side dish to your favorite meals. It's a recipe that I found online a few years ago and have tweaked over the years to the recipe shared below. The "herbs of choice" is a chance for you to give the bread your own personal spin. This time I topped mine with garlic, basil, parsley, and oregano.

It is an annual tradition to have a poetry reading at our Winter Solstice Celebration. We are grateful to have our Poet Laureate Ester Marcella Hoffmann creating such beauty with words for us again this year. Here is her Poem for Winter Solstice 2022.

A BIG Thank You to Scheels for making us one of the recipients of their Holiday Giving Campaign!! We appreciate your dedication to supporting local nonprofits!

And a special Thank You to all of you who took the time to nominate us!! We really appreciate YOU!!!

As the year comes to a close and the Garden and Farm are quietly sleeping until spring we invite you to take a look at some stats from the 2022 growing season with us.

Community Garden

•110+ Community Gardeners tended plots, growing food for themselves and their families in our 2 acre garden.

• From June - October, a total of over 70 youth from MY Place (formerly Boys and Girls Club), ages preK to teens attended weekly gardening classes....

As our busy season winds to a close we are taking some time to reflect on our schedule of Events and Classes and would appreciate hearing from YOU!

We recently sat down with Alex Ek, co-owner, with his brother Justin Ek, of the new gift shop 108 Alchemy. 108 Alchemy features works by local makers and artists, highlighting the diversity of talent that can be found in the Greater Mankato Area.

LEC: Can you tell us where the name 108 Alchemy came from?

AE: We occupy the address 108/110 East Washington and the number 108 spoke to us more. The alchemy part represents the making, mixing, experimenting, and alchemizing raw materials into “gold.” It represents the long processes our artists and makers go through to create the products sold in our store

A grant of $20,000 has been awarded by the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) Foundation to the Living Earth Center (LEC) for general operations towards their mission to grow resilient communities by cultivating healthy food and fostering relationships.

Living Earth Center is pleased to announce that long-time volunteer, Melissa Martensen has joined our staff as the Finance and Communications Manager. Martensen has been involved with LEC for over 10 years in various volunteer capacities, and has just finished a term as Board Treasurer.

Living Earth Center held its first in person Open Mic Night since the beginning of the pandemic in the Community Garden on Sunday, June 26th. Eleven performers shared music, dance, poetry, and other writings with a crowd of more than 30 people.

LEC is pleased to announce that we have filled two new seasonal staff positions. The first is Sabrina Mercedes, our new Volunteer and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator. Sabrina will work closely with Farm Manager Abbey Dickhudt to organize volunteer opportunities (both individual and group) at the Community Farm.

The second is Madison Vandersee, our new Program Coordinator. Madison will work closely with Program Manager Amy Hunt to organize LEC's myriad summer programs. We are excited for the new energy and insight they will bring to Living Earth Center and are looking forward to working with them both.

LEC's Poet Laureate Esther Marcella Hoffmann has composed a poem for spring entitled "Is It Really Us, Spring?"

Click on title above to read the full poem.

Living Earth Center is excited to announce we have filled our two seasonal manager positions for the 2022 growing season. Mallory Murphy has been hired as our Community Garden Manager and Abbey Dickhudt has been hired as our Community Farm Manager. We are looking forward to working with both of them this garden season.

I hope this message finds you well. Last year, it was announced that the School Sisters of Notre Dame would be divesting their property at Our Lady of Good Counsel. Recently, the announcement came that a potential buyer of the property has been identified and the sisters would be relocating to Shakopee, MN. SSND founded the Good Counsel campus in 1912 and have deep roots within the Minnesota River Valley. While the news was anticipated, it isn't easier to think of the incredible loss this community will feel with their departure.

Many have asked what this means for the Living Earth Center and its Community Garden. Since our humble beginnings, we have known

Living Earth Center has published its Annual Report for the 2020 2021 fiscal year.

As we begin 2022, we at Living Earth Center continue to adapt to an ever changing landscape with different challenges and growth opportunities. The past two years have not been easy, but LEC is committed to facing the future with hope and resiliency, bolstered in no small part by the support of the community around us...

In big red letters across the back of the book it says, "Featuring more than 90 recipes reflecting Minnesota's revered farm-to-table values," and the inside of the book lives up to the claim. Over 250 pages of recipes and beautiful photographs (of food, the farms it was grown upon, and the people who grew it) make The Farmer and the Chef a treat to look through even before attempting to make any of the recipes...

When the high winds and cold temps forced us to make the last minute decision to move our Winter Solstice Celebration from the Hill to online we were so glad that our Poet Laureate, Esther Marcella Hoffmann, was still able to join us virtually to share the new poem she wrote in honor of Winter Solstice.

The poem, entitled "Bless This Night With Breath," can be read below...

Living Earth Center is thrilled to announce our first ever Winter Reading Series! January - March we will meet online to discuss each month's chosen book. You can join for as many or as few discussions as you would like.

We are excited to announce the reading lineup...

On November 6th over 80 people gathered virtually for Living Earth Center's 16th Annual Earth Conference, The New Normal: Intentionally Designing Your Future. They explored what, amidst all we have lost for the past year and a half, have we gained, and how can we use that hard-earned knowledge to move forward in an intentional way.

The three conference speakers examined this question through three different lenses - our relationship with Earth, with Each Other, and with Ourselves.

"I do believe that healing is in the environment," said opening speaker Robert Blake.

Motivated by the belief that the needle is not just an artistic medium but a tool for advocacy as well, Bring Up Banner Project leads conversations and art making inspired by our current world. Creating and making banners is a way for community members to resist what is happening in the United States and in the world, cultivating silent protesting in a safe and positive way.

Many have come forward to ask questions regarding the future of the Living Earth Community Garden located on the School Sisters of Notre Dame Good Counsel Campus. We would like to thank all who have supported Living Earth Center and previously Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry throughout the years for their continued concern. We are working with SSND to do everything we can to keep the Community Garden at its current location while also reviewing options of moving the Garden to a different space.

While no decisions have been made, we can say with certainty that Living Earth Center was founded as a non-profit with a long term vision in mind.

This October, Mankato Fair Trade is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Mankato being a Fair Trade Town!

Mankato Fair Trade has planned a month-long celebration! There will be a fair trade Facebook contest with prizes, a series of bazaars at four different churches, a movie night and a talk at MNSU.

I have a bumper crop of butternut squash this year and so have been on the lookout for new recipes to give a try. I wasn't sure if butternut squash pie was an actual thing (I was prepared to just sub it for pumpkin if necessary) but it turns out it totally *is* a thing! And there's a reason for that - it is quite tasty!

We are still needing some help to get the Farm ready for Winter!

Join us this weekend out at the Community Farm to help with final harvesting, fall clean up, and planting garlic and spring bulbs!!

A Sustainability Fair will take place at First Congregational UCC Church, 150 Stadium Court, Mankato (outdoors) Saturday, September 25 from 1:00 to 3:00. Come and learn about Beekeeping, backyard composting, organics recycling, organic gardening and farming, butterfly gardens, sustainable hygiene products, water quality, renewable energy and more.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated to our 2021 Give to Grow Mankato Campaign!

We are blessed to be a part of such a generous and supportive community, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Early Thursday morning fresh, organic produce, grown at the Living Earth Center Community Farm and Gardens, was delivered to FOCP for distribution in their monthly Summer Pack Food Program boxes. A mixture of tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cabbage, eggplant, and other veggies were packed into produce bags to be added to the shelf stable food FOCP already provides.

“We are in the business of growing food,” said Living Earth Center Executive Director Laura Peterson. “And FOCP is in the business of distributing food. It is a mutually beneficial partnership

As we are nearing the Aug. 22 end date for our 2021 Give to Grow Mankato Campaign, we are again reaching out to your our supporters to ask, if you have not already, to please make a donation today to support LEC's work in our community.

We are working on the ground, and sometimes *in* the ground, in the Mankato area to provide fresh, organic produce for our community partners, ECHO Food Shelf, FOCP Backpack Food Program, and Partners for Affordable Housing.

Thanks to CESRM co-founder Sister Mary Tacheny, LEC was given access to early issues of Earth Almanac (from our founding in 1996 through 2003) and even a look at the work that went into forming CESRM with 9 issues of The Rural Project Review from 1995.

All archived issues can be found in the Earth Almanac Archives section of our website (click here). We encourage you to browse through them, they showcase how deep LEC's roots are. Spelled out on the pages is the SSND commitment to sustainable living and Right Relations with Earth.

We will highlight just a few issues here...

Saturday, November 6th - save the date for the 16th Annual Earth Conference, The New Normal: Intentionally Designing Our Future.

Join us in a thoughtful conversation where we ask ourselves: amidst all we lost during the pandemic, what did we gain? How can we take what we learned over the past 18 months and use it to intentionally shape our future?

Taken from the "high-summer herbs" section of the cookbook In Season by Sarah Raven, this recipe is a great way to use up a bumper crop of basil. On those hot July evenings what could be better than some cool and refreshing basil ice cream?!?

Read on for the recipe....

A generous donor has offered a matching gift challenge, up to $1,000 for the month of July!

Your donation today will DOUBLE in value!!

Saturday, August 21st from 5-7pm.

Mark your calendars!!

Our Annual Community Picnic is morphing into a Community Concert!

Every non-rainy Friday at 9am Mankato-area veterans come to the Community Gardens for coffee and gardening.

The program is in partnership with Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) and Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence. And is open to any veterans in the area.

MACV Case Manager Mark Bullen said the program has two intended outcomes, "First, we wanted to introduce veterans on a very basic level, the opportunity to learn about planting and the agricultural process. We want to allow veterans the opportunity to see what a different career path might look like...

A dementia-friendly garden was a long-time dream of the Mankato and North Mankato ACT on Alzheimer’s action team (the ACT Team). In 2019, with the partnership of Sandi Lubrant, chairperson for the ACT Team, Laura Peterson, Director for the Living Earth Center, and two faculty from Minnesota State University Mankato, the Garden EngAGEment program, a dementia-friendly garden became a reality. Faculty members Drs. Kristen Abbott-Anderson (School of Nursing), Sheen Chiou (Communication Sciences and Disorders), along with Laura Peterson used guidelines developed by dementia-friendly gardens in the United Kingdom to carefully design the garden layout...

We are a little over a quarter of the way through our 2021 Give to Grow Mankato Campaign!

Living Earth Center has been busier than ever this past month - the Gardens are operating at full capacity, small groups (like the MACV Veterans Garden Group which meets up at the Gardens every Friday at 9am for coffee and gardening) and small classes (5 children attended our Magic of Seeds class last week, up on the Hill, and got to plant seeds in the Kids' Garden) have started meeting in person again!

LEC, our Community Garden and the Community Farm were featured in a MPR news story that aired Friday, May 21st

To celebrate both Earth Day and the start of their second annual Give to Grow Mankato Campaign, LEC hosted a virtual Open Mic Night Thursday, April 22. Local performers submitted videos of a wide variety of performances: music, poetry, and bellydance...

My youngest daughter received If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall as a Christmas gift and it has been on heavy rotation in our reading list since. The book has both a beautiful message and beautiful illustrations. It is written as a letter from a young child to any visitors from outer space who may be considering giving Earth a visit...

Because of Covid we were unable to hold our traditional Volunteers in the Garden day to prep the Community Garden for the coming growing season. Traditionally the event was held on a Saturday and everyone would come and work and we would celebrate with a potluck luncheon. This year the potluck had to be cancelled but work still needed to get done, so volunteers signed up for time slots and came to work in small groups to get the tasks completed...

I was out walking in the woods a couple of weeks ago and came into my house only to see my shoelaces full of cockleburs. My initial reaction was frustration since they take so much time and patience to pick out of the tangled laces. As I began to dislodge each seed pod, I began to smile- what a resilient and clever way to spread your gift into the world.  While we are not as creative (and hopefully not as annoying) as the cocklebur, Living Earth Center is finding new and interesting ways to spread its roots out and share its gifts.

Living Earth Center is excited to announce we have filled our two seasonal manager positions. Jonathan Bystrowski has been hired as our Community Garden Manager and Carol Harder has been hired as our Community Farm Manager. We are looking forward to working with both of them this garden season.

Continue on to the full article to "meet" Jonathan and Carol...

From February 1 to April 6 a small group of LEC members met to discuss the book All We Can Save that was edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. The book consists of eight sections with 60 poems and stories and is a very beautiful attempt to compile and to consolidate the voices of concern among us of people confronting the environmental changes we face now.

03.31.21 Update: Application process is closed.

Living Earth Center is hiring for two summer positions - if you're looking to spend the summer outside, gardening for the greater good this is your opportunity!

We are looking to hire both a Community Garden Manager and a Community Farm Manager (two separate positions) for this growing season.

We are both excited and honored to announce that we will be partnering with Blue Earth County to take over the management of the Blue Earth County Community Farm, effective this year!

I have found that making Masala Chai in the afternoon is the perfect antidote for that sleepy post lunch crash I usually find myself fighting. And the drink itself is warming and comforting while the ritual of making it affords me the opportunity to slow down for a few minutes in a hectic day.

We are excited to announce that the Facebook Page for our Living Earth Word Share, with local poet/writer Ester Marcella Hoffmann is up and running!

Over the next 9 weeks Esther will be posting different writing prompts around nature/gardening/Earth and curating a welcoming space for anyone to share and workshop their poetry and writings. It is a virtual space to express your unique voice by creating writing with the intent to deepen your connection with the gardening community and the planet.

Are you interested in sharing common ground with us?
We are excited to announce that registration is now opened for the 2021 Garden Season!

Writing poetry, and eating foods that are close to the earth, keep me grounded on this beautiful planet. This winter, while we wait to get back to the gardens, I’d like to offer a space for a Living Earth Center writing community by creating The Living Earth Word Share Facebook page starting this February and leading up to April which is National Poetry Month.

What is better on a cold dark January night than a warm bowl of soup at dinnertime? Combining potatoes and Great Northern beans, this soup makes a hearty, "comfort food" meal.

In an effort to save paper and clutter, Living Earth Center will be transitioning to sending out only one year end tax letter beginning in 2021. The letter will include all donations made during the calendar year.

While we were saddened that the ongoing global pandemic kept us from hosting our traditional Winter Solstice Celebration in person, we were delighted by the turnout and reception of our virtual version.

As we at Living Earth Center look back at this challenging year we want to focus on the positives...
We are so grateful for our LEC Community - our gardeners, volunteers, donors, and participants.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and look forward to creating common ground and growing together in 2021 and beyond.

Living Earth Center is excited to announce starting in February we will be hosting a 10-week Book Circle to explore the book All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis.

We thank all of our supporters and welcome you to take a look at our progress as an organization over this last year.

We are more than “just” a Community Garden. LEC continues to serve as a Community Growing Space in both the physical, virtual, and metaphorical sense as a safe space for anyone from anywhere to come and grow and connect
to the natural rhythms of nature, life, and most importantly, love and hope.

This month seemed like a good time to focus on sharing holiday traditions. I reached out to former Board Member and Community Gardener Jolly Corley to share her family’s recipe for gingerbread.

This is a PBS documentary about the 1970 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Norman Borlaug. It shares his life as the son of Norwegian immigrants who settled in NE Iowa on a 100-acre farm in 1914. His early days were occupied working long hours on the farm. Norman gained some freedom from farm work with Ford’s building of a small tractor which his family acquired in the early 1920’s.

On Saturday, November 7th over 60 people (30+ individuals plus 30 SSND Sisters, socially distanced over 3 rooms in the Mother House in Mankato) joined together via zoom for LEC’s 15th Annual Earth Conference.

Give to the Max Day is a statewide fundraiser organized by GiveMN (www.givemn.org) raising thousands of dollars for nonprofits and schools across Minnesota. This year it is scheduled for November 19th, but early giving is already underway!

A delicious and easy recipe that highlights any variety of winter squash.

With the way things in 2020 have been going it can be hard to keep a positive outlook, so when this new documentary I was watching opened with narrator Woody Harrelson saying, “There’s so much bad news about our planet, it’s so overwhelming, the fear that we are headed for a cliff puts most of us into a state of paralysis. The truth is, I’ve given up, and odds are, so have you… but what if there was another path?” I found myself nodding in agreement, “Yes, Woody Harrelson, I am overwhelmed and sometimes feel like there’s nothing I can do that makes a difference. Please tell me of this ‘other path’ of which you speak…”

On Wednesday, October 21st over 30 people gathered online (mostly from Minnesota and Wisconsin, but some from as far as Pennsylvania and Toronto, Canada) to join Land Stewardship Project's Emily Minge, Clara Sanders Marcus, and Amy Bacigalupo in an LEC-hosted event, "Doing our Work: Racial and Environmental Justice."

This adapted recipe is a fall family favorite and has the approval of all members- even the pickiest of eaters!

One of the Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry (now Living Earth Center)’s founders, Sr Mary Tacheny, celebrated her 75 year Jubilee this year! We take a moment to celebrate her dedication to issues surrounding rural Minnesotans, sustainability, and Earth justice.

Mankato-based poet Esther Marcella Hoffman has composed an original poem for Living Earth Center. To read it, please follow the link above.

I recently made this simple recipe for a small outdoor gathering and multiple people asked how to make it. I was almost embarrassed to tell them because it was so easy didn't want to blow my gourmet chef cover!  Nonetheless, if you have tomatoes, this easy summer recipe is definitely one you want in your wheelhouse! 

After attending the webinar, “Eyewitness: Intersection of Racial Injustice and Climate Change,” hosted by Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy in early August, I ordered two copies of their new book Eyewitness: Minnesota Voices on Climate Change, one for myself and one for the LEC library.