Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Transition Longfellow receives national recognition

Posted on 18 November 2018 by calvin

On Oct. 27, Transition Longfellow received national attention as a runner-up for the Community Impact Award given by Transition U.S. to groups that have made a difference in their local community. The grassroots, neighbor-led group provides education and social activities for people in South Minneapolis and beyond who are concerned about sustainability, food resilience, clean energy, climate change, and emergency preparedness.

Transition Longfellow cofounder and organizer, Leslie MacKenzie, received the Grassroots Leadership Award.

That wasn’t the only recognition the group received this year. In the spring, Transition Longfellow was nominated for a health department award for its work on climate preparedness in 2017.

With a budget of about $1,000 a year, the group delivers 4-6 activities a month, most of them at little or no cost. Over the years, the group has:
• Installed 183 raised bed vegetable gardens in the homes of neighbors and provided food-growing and food storage education and resources
• Hosted 77 movies and potluck meals, providing neighbors with a chance to learn together and get to know one another
• Organized field trips, game nights, knitting and mending circles, and book groups
• Brought energy, climate and health speakers to the community
• Produced a weekly emergency preparedness email series in 2018
• Worked with the neighborhood association to host a Low Energy Fair in 2016
• Built Little Free Libraries, rocket stoves, and solar cookers
• Made insulated curtains, sunscreen, candles, kombucha
• And more

Visioning its future—engagingnew volunteer leaders
“National recognition is nice, since we’ve been doing so much for so many years, but our focus is really on helping our local community to be more resilient. That’s what’s most important to us,” said Leslie MacKenzie.

She said the group is taking time this fall and winter to engage community members in visioning what Transition Longfellow could be moving forward. “We have people come to our activities from all over the Twin Cities, from the suburbs, from Duluth … we had a group come to visit us from Washington, D.C.! Should we change our name to reflect our broader reach?

“We have recently focused on three areas: food resilience, community building, and climate preparedness. Should we expand or become even more laser focused?

How can we partner with others in the community to increase our impact?

“And most importantly, we’ve developed a wonderful volunteer base over the years and our Facebook page is a phenomenal resource, but we need to expand our organizing and communications team so we can continue to deliver interesting programs and prevent burn-out of our long-term volunteers. A couple of hours of volunteer help every month—or with a specific project—goes an incredibly long way with a group like ours.”

If you would like to be part of the visioning conversation, visit the group’s website ( to sign up for one of the listening sessions. If you would like to learn more about volunteering, contact Leslie through the website.

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