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kristin.pierskalla@hennepin.us

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DIY for the environment

What are you going to do in 2019? Why not learn a new skill that’s fun for you and good for the environment? Here are some ideas to help get you going.

Get crafty

Woodworking can be an absorbing meditation and a low-waste hobby, too. You can get reclaimed wood from urban trees—either scraps or full pieces of lumber—from Wood From the Hood. Much of their wood is sourced from ash trees removed due to the emerald ash borer hazard.

Then take a class, like at the Minnesota Tool Library. For a small membership fee, you can borrow tools, use workshop space and take classes. The Women’s Woodshop in Minneapolis also provides workshop space and classes where you can learn at your own pace with supportive women, girls, and non-binary craftspeople.

Turning waste into art is a fun way to upcycle. For instance, broken pieces of pottery can be made into mosaic tables. Mercury Mosaics in Minneapolis offers beginner classes in making mosaic tables.

Quilting is a classic way to make use of old cloth scraps and turn them into something useful and beautiful. Learn the basics of cutting, assembly and design with classes at places throughout the county, including Knit & Bolt, Glad Creations, Digs and the Linden Tree.

Start fixing

The disposable economy says, “When something’s broken, throw it in the trash and buy a new one.” What a waste! How about learning to fix your stuff instead?

Start by checking out the repair classes offered through your community education programs. Minneapolis Community Education classes are open to residents and non-residents. They offer classes on everything from woodworking to sewing, electrical circuitry to upholstery. They have even offered a class called Zero Waste Lifestyle.

Every month, Hennepin County hosts a Fix-It Clinic where you can bring your broken stuff and learn how to repair it. Feel free to bring most portable household items; top items fixed include lamps, vacuum cleaners and clothing. For those who need a little more encouragement, Fix-It Clinic Coordinator Nancy Lo says, “It’s already broken, so what do you have to lose?”

Get cooking

Cooking from scratch is always a great way to save money and reduce waste (think of all the packaging and processing that goes into pre-made meals). Once you get a few tricks up your sleeve, it can be simpler to add cooking to your weekly routine.

Community education is a fine place to learn new cooking skills: Minneapolis Community Education offers classes from Cooking 101 and Beginning Bread to Chinese Dumplings.

Co-op grocery stores frequently offer cooking classes as well. Seward Coop in Minneapolis offers Nourish 101 classes. In January, they’re hosting a Nourish 101 class on Beef Stroganoff.

Kudos to you for thinking about learning something new this year. Now go out there and do it. Cheers!

Photo courtesy Women's Woodshop