+
True
Tillamook

If you ever find yourself walking through the heart of Minneapolis, keep an eye out for something unusual: a farm.

What — a working farm plot in the middle of a city? Yep.

16 different farm plots, to be exact, across Minneapolis–St. Paul.


They look like this:

A Stone's Throw lot in the Twin Cities. Image by Carina Lofgren Photography.

Since 2011, Stone's Throw Urban Farm has been busy morphing vacant lots in the Twin Cities into farms that give back to local communities.

"[Our lots] range in size from 0.11 acres to 0.5 acres," farm employee Caroline Devany explained to Upworthy. "Most ... were formerly residential spaces, but several have had less conventional past uses, such as a bowling alley parking lot and [a] funeral home."

Houses, a bowling alley, a funeral home, all converted into small fields that produce a wide variety of crops: tomatoes, squash, peppers, onions, eggplant, greens, herbs, carrots, beets ... the list goes on.

A straight-up RAINBOW of veggies. Image courtesy of Stone's Throw Urban Farm.

So, tell me again why we don't just convert all our unused urban space into farmland?

Farming in the city is a bit out of the ordinary, so it understandably comes with a unique set of challenges.

Though a bowling alley may sound like a cool place to grow onions (or kale, or oregano), the soil quality of vacant lots is another issue entirely. Many of the plots used by Stone's Throw have soil that requires careful attention and added nutrients.

Stone's Throw uses waste from local breweries to produce compost that can help bring depleted soil back to life.

But being "part of, and accountable to, multiple communities," as Caroline explains, provides the farm with many opportunities for unique solutions to match those challenges.

For example, Stone's Throw recently began using waste from local breweries to produce compost that can help bring that depleted soil back to life. Old beer to veggie compost!? Yes, please.

A farm employee sprays crops with fish emulsion, a natural fertilizer. Image by Carina Lofgren Photography.

As a visible part of so many different communities, Stone's Throw tries its best to be a good neighbor — and it has many neighbors. The farm offers a sliding scale, EBT-accessible market stand and hosts volunteer and skill share opportunities for the community.

They also partner with rural farms outside the city (who lack the urban advantage of visibility) in a cooperative called Shared Ground.

Of course, this uncommon land use doesn't come without its naysayers.

The aftermath of the 2009 foreclosure crisis allowed space for new ideas about best uses for land. Areas that had previously housed commercial businesses were suddenly available for new, creative uses. That's what allowed Stone's Throw Urban farm to get up and running — with so many vacant lots, the city was open to using some of them for farming.

But Caroline explains that "as the market recovers, people are interested in seeing built development." Stores. Offices. Housing developments. "Traditional" urban land uses.

An aerial view of one plot in St. Paul. Image via Google Maps.

As a result, sustainable land access is one of the biggest challenges faced by Stone's Throw. In fact, the farm's future may depend on their ability "to better articulate the ways that urban agriculture is a form of development with many benefits to urban residents."

But the Stone's Throw team is determined and optimistic.

And they're not about to let the challenges of urban farming get in their way.

What's more, they're noticing changes in the way the community — and policymakers — talk about issues of food and development. And that gives me hope.

It's not easy to cultivate healthy and just communities, but a little grit and diligence can go a long way. A fondness for weeding probably doesn't hurt either.

Image by Carina Lofgren Photography.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less