Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

How Green Was My Garden: Gardening, Social Media & Bacon go to the Fair

Social Media Breakfast MSP 26 is being hosted at the Minnesota State Fair Progress Building on Friday May 21st from 8am to 10am discussing Urban/Organic/ Gardening & Farming.  Your venerable  blogger (yes me) will be trying not to embarass herself as the moderator of a very good panel of guests assembled to discuss how they use social media to promote their businesses, sell their products and connect with their communities.

Panelists include:

* Susan Berkson, Minneapolis Farmers Market (MPLS Farmers Market on Facebook)
* Debbie Morrison, Sapsucker Farms www.sapsuckerfarms.com
* Barbara Hegman, PlantJotter www.plantjotter.com
* Lee Zukor, Simple Good & Tasty www.simplegoodandtasty.com
* Kirsten Saylor, Gardening Matters www.gardeningmatters.org

Generous sponsors include Organic Valley and Mother Earth Gardens. At the event will be a mini-market with several vendors and organizations displaying their messages and wares. Please stop by for some bacon and lively discussion of how farmers, growers, advocates, markets and more are using social media in the vibrant world of sustainable growing.

What will you show online?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Facebook and it’s privacy settings (or lack of) and there’s been even more talk about people quitting the site en masse. Personally, I’m suprised whenever someone puts something online and expects it to remain private.

It seems that every year since the Internet has reached the masses people have dropped some inhibitions while others pick up some new ones. There was a time when you’d be called crazy for putting your picture online, or using an online dating service, or doing your banking online and yet all of these things have become the norm. What privacy barries are left to tear down?

How about the delicate topic of money? Would you put your finances online for the world to see? That’s exactly what Edina resident Stephanie Grant did and she’s not alone.

According to the NyTimes

Initially the idea of laying herself bare on a blog and on NetworthIQ caused a lot of anxiety. “You’re saying I have a secret and here it is for everyone to see,” she says. “But once it’s out there, and especially now that it’s not just a flat line saying ‘negative $23,000,’ and it is moving up a little bit, there’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that goes along with that. I know people are visiting, and it makes me want to pay something else off so I can post another entry that’s something good.” She’s currently putting a third of her monthly take-home pay from her job as a benefits analyst toward debt payments.

All of this has led to some odd reversals in her life. She looks forward to getting her bills in the mail, for instance, because it means it’s time to update her total debt. “Which might be a little bit sick,” she said. “But I know it’s lower than the last month. I know it for a fact.”

Grant often wonders about the people who are far ahead of her in the NetworthIQ standings. Did they get lucky? Are they lottery winners? Or did they get smart about money before she did? She tries not to beat herself up over it. “For people with the same income as me but higher net worth, it tells me that I can get there, too. It just takes discipline,” she says. “I know it has only been a couple of months now, but I kind of feel like I’ve made a life change.”

What do you think, Are you ready to put it all out there with networthiq?

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How Green Was My Garden: The Big Cover-Up

Last year the biggest trend in gardening & garden supplies was container gardening, specifically in specialty bags (see HGWMG post “Its In the Bag”) for everything from lettuce to potatoes. This year it is crop protection tools, everything involving row covers.  From pop-up insect screens to season extending hoop houses & cold frames, it seems the crop cover business is exploding.

Crop protection tools are exploding because they help gardeners achieve many goals. One of the most important in Minnesota is season-extension.  By using a cover to insulate your plants you can help to warm the soil & keep the plant protected from chillier temperatures, thereby allowing gardeners to plant earlier & get plants to their full potential without as much concern for the weather.

  

Too much sun & heat can also be an issue, causing delicate plants to wilt or bolt too early so a shade cover can be used to shield those plants from the elements.  For organic gardeners who would like to prevent insects (like the dreaded squash vine borer or cucumber beetle) from attacking plants, covers can be used to help prevent them from landing on your crop, but remember, the covers also prevent beneficial insects from landing, especially bees, so this tactic must be used judiciously.

In some areas birds are the biggest pest, in others rabbits or squirrels, with a crop protecting barrier these pests cannot penetrate to your plants, allowing them to thrive.

Some of the easiest row covers to install are floating row covers, basically specially made fabric you can lay over yourcrops to prevent insect damage or insulate the plants to protect them from extreme temperatures (hot or cold).

There are a few methods for using row covers, you can just float on top of plants & tack into the soil with landscape pins or you can build a structure to lay the fabric upon.  Hoops are the most common support structure, which can be made from several materials, everything from half hula-hoops to more sturdy conduit.  I purchased a hoop bender from Johnny’s Seeds to make tunnel hoops. Garden’s Alive sells different types of protective fabric that can be draped over the hoops from lightweight insect covers to frost protecting fabric.

Also available are numerous ready-made products like pop-up covers & tents that can work like greenhouses or can be kept up all season to prevent damage from insects or animals.  The pop ups work especially well on raised beds, especially smaller ones which can be very convenient for short season extension and seasonal insect prevention and allows for easy storage of the tents when not in use. These also come in different fabrics, the polyeurethane plastic for greenhouse effect and then the mesh fabrics for either insect or bird protection.

If you are really ambitious and have a large garden space you can construct a hoop house, which is basically a permanent structure like a greenhouse, but is made of polyethylene instead of glass. Crops like tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, which generally need hotter, extended growing seasons are grown in hoop houses or high tunnels

Commercial growers have been using the season extending row covers for years and now they have found their way to the home gardener.  With so many options for so many purposes you should be able to find one that suits your needs from container gardening to larger production gardens, so get out in your garden & Hoop it up!

 

How Green Was My Garden: Ring the Bell for Sustainability

The Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota is hosting a great panel discussion with Local Growers about sustainability & why it is important.  Here is the release:

Sustainable Foods and Farming Local Growers Panel
Tuesday, March 23, 7-9 pm at the Bell Museum Auditorium, East Bank, U. of Minnesota

Why is sustainability important for land and for people?

What is being done in Minnesota to help reduce environmental degradation? Why should we care? Four local growers will share their stories of gardening and farming using organic and sustainable practices, native plants and alternative market structures.

Speakers: Jim Riddle, organic farmer, sustainable agriculture educator Tony Thompson, grower of corn, soybeans and native plants Courtney Tchida, with the U of M’s Student Organic Farm Norm Erickson, a grower of hazelnuts for food and fuel

Tour the Bell Museum’s Hungry Planet Exhibit before the panel starts! Following the panel, audience members will be able to ask questions and share information about opportunities to get involved in the local foods movement in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Sustainability Studies Minor, http://sustainabilitystudies.umn.edu

Franken vs. Comcast

Interesting article by entrepreneur and Maverick owner, Mark Cuban, writing about our senator:

Senator Al Franken is Requesting User Caps on Internet Bandwidth ?

Thoughts?

“Drive to White Bear Lake and also go f*ck yourself”

“Drive to White Bear Lake and also go fuck yourself” those were the alleged words of Steven J. Payne – Vice President of Evergreen Entertainment when a customer wrote to complain about her movie experience.

Now there’s a Facebook group BOYCOTT St. Croix Falls Cinema 8 (Evergreen Entertainment LLC) with a couple thousand fans and growing and a bunch of pissed of people.

Name:BOYCOTT St. Croix Falls Cinema 8 (Evergreen Entertainment LLC)Category:Entertainment & Arts – MoviesDescription:Check out the response (under this group’s discussion tab) that a customer got from the V.P. of the entertainment business that operates St. Croix Falls Cinema 8. Mr. Payne makes it very clear that customers are no more than an inconvenience in his job. E-mail Mr. Payne to let him know that his customers are watching and aren’t patronizing his establishment anymore!!

Evergreen Entertainment LLC is the company that operates St. Croix Falls Cinema 8. Mr. Payne is the Vice President of Evergreen Entertainment, which operates all of the following movie theaters also.

Read the letter.

I still have not gotten a response to an email I sent to Mr.Payne asking if he’d like to comment, perhaps I live a little too close to White Bear Lake for his comfort.

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Nobody Walks, the unintentionally hilarious double entendre

After repeated warnings from the court Judge Robert Kressel lays down the full extent of the law on Denny Hecker.

And a picture says a thousand words.

The PioneerPress reports

Denny Hecker is on the hook for $83 million of his debt to Chrysler Financial because he lied to the court and intentionally failed to comply with requests for documents, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling — the harshest sanction Judge Robert Kressel could impose for violating court rules — ended the lawsuit between the former auto mogul and his largest creditor before it could be tried.

The Michigan-based lender asked for the judgment because of what it described as Hecker’s “willful, egregious and continuing failure to comply with his discovery obligations” since the inception of the lawsuit in July.

Kressel said he had given Hecker “the benefit of the doubt” when Hecker’s lawyer repeatedly said they could not produce the requested documents because federal investigators had seized everything, including computers. But the judge said events in the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s court hearing proved Hecker has always had access to his business computers containing millions of e-mails and electronic documents.

“(Hecker) lied to Chrysler Financial; he lied to me,” Kressel said. “It seems the severe sanction for a severe violation of the rules is the only way I can go.”

Just over a year ago there was local outrage about a Denny Hecker ad campaign that was running on public transportation that had the caption “Nobody Walks”

It looks like Denny may have been right in some unintended ways.

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The magic of snowglobes for a snowy day

Sure it snowed a good three inches over night and the morning commute dripped slower than Molasses, but we only 46 more days until spring. So we have that going for us, which is good.

Check out this video that MPR made of a snowglobe repairman.

Northfield, Minnesota’s Dick Heibel has been fixing snow globes for decades, and says the thanks he gets from his customers is the reason he keeps doing it.

charges
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-uQKQCeUHU[/youtube]

(H/t In The Loop)

Take your meme and shove it

I am so tired of the “10 things you need to stop tweeting about” meme, but you know what?, keep tweeting it.
Here’s the most recent itteration to fill my tweet stream, I think it’s supposed to be cute.

Hail it’s obvious virtues and revel in it’s moronic simplicity oh mighty decider of tweets. You’re probably the type that can get away with that type of thing, purely perfect you.

Not I, I am flawed. So I miss the brilliance of most of your tweets which I often consider mundane and unoriginal, but hey that’s just unperfect me talking. Best I can tell many of the people I follow break one or more of the 10 twitter rules you espouse on a regular basis. Yet I follow. Matter of fact I suspect that if I only allowed myself to follow those that tweet the profound or exactly what I am interested in at any given moment, then I wouldn’t be following anyone. I mean why bother?

Once again, that’s just little ol’ flawed me. I don’t have your perfect sense of judgement or your ability to pick the people to follow that will amuse and delight with each profound set of 140 characters or less. Heck, sometimes I even tweet about my kids. Sometimes it’s even a twitpic of one or both being cute. Quick get a time machine, take me back to Salem, and burn me as a witch!

Though, that does make me wonder why you follow me.

Most recently I’ve been seeing this big 10 no-no’s list retweeted by people that use Twitter to make money (presumably) either through a business or their social media expertise. Though, I can’t recall the last time I approached a bricks and mortar business and saw a sign that said “Don’t talk about these things in my store”, I’d probably walk away.

I guess that’s why I’ll probably never give you my money and believe it or not I actually spend money at the local businesses I follow.

Anyway, the next time you think someone shouldn’t be tweeting something there’s an easy solution just unfollow them. Problem solved. If you’re going to be a TweetNazi you’re way better off showing some spine than taking the passive aggressive who-can-do-what meme route.

Now before you jizz yourself with the potential irony of this post, yes I get it. Reread my first sentence I didn’t tell you to actually stop tweeting anything. I’m simply pointing out the glass house you live in and offering a little helpful advice, don’t tell me what to do. Remember, Twitter is social media which means it about life. A nice little 140 character zeitgeist delivery vehicle. I am of the opinion that it doesn’t matter how many followers you have, it’s about who you follow. Just like life, it’s not who you are it’s who you know.

Take my flawed post for what it is, just some words of advice. Hey have I told you I’m having a PB&J for lunch? Check my twitter stream I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

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Keep your hands off my weiner.

The Strib reports on the food choices for the new Target Field and they are sounding delicious.

We’re talking pork chops on a stick, walleye on a stick and cheese curds a la State Fair. But we’re also talking wild rice soup, Juicy Lucy burgers and a Murray’s steak sandwich that marries ballpark grub with Minneapolis steakhouse fare.

Yum!

Though there’s one point of contention that is getting fans all worked up.

Still undecided, however, is whether Minnesotan’s darling — the Dome Dog — will make a comeback at the new park. “It’s the Number One question that I get asked,” Spike said.

Ruh-oh.

Dare the new food services mess with the the quarter pound beef hotdog known as the Dome Dog?

Should Hormel lose the battle for top dog I’ve heard some other brands tossed out there, Schweigert: Old Fashioned Coarse Ground W/Natural Casing Wieners would be delicious, but can they top the beloved Dome Dog?

What do you think?

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