Building a new economy

Last week was New Economy Week, according to these folks. As someone who lives outside the echo chamber, mostly focusing on my family, my own work, and my immediate community, I sometimes miss things. Visiting the site, I learned about a group called Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity, which does a lot of what we do here in Minnesota, but with a lot more money. Nevertheless, I will probably start contributing to their site — the world is all about crowdsourcing these days, and we’re supposed to give our intellectual property freely for the common good, right? It’s certainly worked well for The Huffington Post.

Instead of sending things around the internets last week, I was writing caring for my son, writing grant applications, and going to meetings. Ah, meetings. Also, some exciting things are in the works regarding Minnesota’s energy future — watch this space for details.

I had one terrific meeting last week with my friends at Curious North, a start-up featuring podcasts and articles on all things Minnesotan. They have sharp instincts for what makes life here interesting and, ultimately, quite liveable despite the sometimes challenging climate (though it’s getting warmer all the time). They are truly builders of the new economy, telling stories about new and established businesses, organizations, people, and places that are worth your time and money — quality over quantity is an unspoken mantra.

I got to be the wise old woman at the table, telling stories about people who made Minnesota hip before there was social media to tell everyone how hip they were, and to create an instant historical archive (speaking of historical archives, check out the Hennepin County Library’s Index of Minnesota magazines from 1991 to 2005). Our friend Lynn Gordon at French Meadow is one such person, an icon of an earlier golden era for Minnesota progressives.

French Meadow has a long-time commitment to organics (the oldest, continually operating organic bakery in the country) and has been a preeminent leader in the organic movement at the local, state and national levels. In addition, they have played a positive role in the community and have provided more than 25 years of generous support to the Alliance for Sustainability and its programs.

If you haven’t been to French Meadow recently, you are overdue. They have added Blue Stem, possibly the most beautiful dining space in the state. The food is as fulfilling and affordable as ever (DO NOT MISS the kale salad), and now you can choose between counter service in the old cafe or table service in the fancy new restaurant and bar. Lynn is a remarkably effective businesswoman, and so she has acquired all the parking spaces around the building that used to belong to the CC Club. It was easy; she simply bought the CC Club (but she assures everyone she won’t change a thing about this icon of the Twin Cities music scene).

The coup de grace is Nord Tasting Room, available for your private dining pleasure. If this isn’t booked solid for the next two years, for groom’s dinners, business meetings, and family reunions, it will be soon, so call now.

So while I may have missed out on New Economy Week, I am, as ever, pleased and proud to be surrounded by people doing the hard work of building the new economy, right here in flyover land.