Promoting ‘green living’ in Coon Rapids

The city of Coon Rapids will host its fourth annual Green Expo Saturday, April 6 at the Coon Rapids Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The expo, which is free and open to the public, is designed for those with an interest in the environment and “green living,” according to Colleen Sinclair, Coon Rapids recycling coordinator and Green Expo organizer.

“It’s a chance for people in the community to be introduced to a different way of living that is easier than they think by taking small steps,” Sinclair said.

It will be an eye-opener and an opportunity for residents to see that there are many resources in the community, she said.

“Come and learn how living a sustainable lifestyle can be easy and affordable,” Sinclair said.

The first three expos have attracted some 800 people to each, she said. “My goal is to top 1,000,” Sinclair said.

Close to 60 vendors will have exhibits with a great deal of variety featuring a wide range of local businesses and public agencies, according to Sinclair.

There will also be six presentations at workshops during the expo and five of them will be speakers new to the event, Sinclair said.

“We have some really good special topics that affect every single person,” she said.

The expo will provide information to families in making sustainable choices when it comes to food, products and services, she said.

Exhibits will include areas such as solar and geothermal; waste reduction and recycling; parks, trails and transportation; backyard gardening; water and energy conservation; landscaping and rain gardens; make and take art; craft booths; composting and rain barrels; green remodeling and building materials; healthy living and safety; and pets and children’s products.

According to Sinclair, some of the featured vendors and activities are:

• Lifestyle Creations, specializing in rainwater run-off collection systems.

• Raju’s Art, featuring art work made from recycled newsprint and materials from nature.

• The Grass Roots Co-op, an Anoka business specializing in organic foods and products.

• Earth Wizards, a business specializing in “earth friendly” landscaping and design.

• Kids gardening project presented by Home Depot.

In addition, five workshops have been scheduled in the city council chambers during the expo.

• 9:45 to 10:15 a.m.: Smart Choices, creating non-toxic environments at home through the use of household cleansers, paint and personal care products without harmful chemicals. The presenter is Julie Earl, executive director of Preventing Harm Minnesota, a children’s environmental health organization.

• 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.: Gardener Marcia Baudino, a Coon Rapids resident, will speak about how to grow food at home and access more local food. Baudino was among the presenters at last year’s expo and is “back by popular demand,” Sinclair said.

• 11:30 to noon: Paul Gardner, executive director of Recycling Reinvented, will talk about the big picture outlook for recycling and recycled products.

• 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.: Ryan Parsons, founder of Project Plenty, will speak about common sense solutions to ending world hunger.

• 1 to 1:30 p..m., Dawn Doering, Coon Creek Watershed District, will make a presentation about being “water smart.”

There will be a door prize drawing at 2 p.m. for a rain barrel, compost bin and other prizes.

The exhibitors at the Green Expo are as follows:

Arts and culture

Peggy Jean Designs – one-of-a-kind, up-cycled, statement jewelry.

Raju’s Arts – artwork made from recycled newsprint and materials from nature.

Children/family

Coon Rapids Police Department – car seats/family safety.

Home Depot – kids gardening project.

Do Good Diapers – cloth diapers.

Construction/remodeling

Metal Roofing & Siding of Minnesota – durable products for the home made in the U.S. from recycled steel.

Renewal by Andersen – custom, energy efficient replacement windows and doors.

Insulation Plus – sprayed foam insulation.

Carpet One – healthier living flooring installation system.

Home Depot – eco-friendly household products.

Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing – energy efficient roofing.

Energy

Air Mechanical – residential heating, cooling and plumbing.

Powerfully Green – solar energy systems.

Centerpoint Energy – save energy, save money and reduce the impact on the environment.

Food, farming, agriculture

Eddington’s – food vendor with many healthy choices.

Farm of Plenty – a Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) farm.

Project Plenty – common sense approach to ending hunger.

Harvest House, LLC – organic vegetable gardening, food prep and preservation.

Cub Foods – building a “green” culture in their stores and offices.

Grass Roots Co-op – natural foods store.

Government

City of Coon Rapids – Representatives from various city departments.

Coon Rapids Sustainability Commission – promoting sustainable city practices.

Health and fitness

Fitness 19 – promoting healthy lifestyles.

Aquarius Water Conditioning – eco-friendly water treatment systems.

Household products

Frogbox – hundred percent recycled plastic boxes.

Tupperware – smart storage solutions.

Moss Envy – household eco-friendly products.

Norwex – environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Thirty-one Gifts – fabric totes and bags.

Fuhrman Marketing – natural organic vitamins and supplements.

Investments

Coon Rapids Mortgage Assistance Foundation – home improvement and down payment assistance loans.

Financial One Credit Union – lending for green products such as solar panels.

Lifestyle and recreation

Beyond Horizons – focusing on helping those in need through re-use and a food shelf.

Coon Rapids Parks Department – providing parks, trails and green space for recreation.

Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles – collects used bicycles, fixes them and gives them away.

Bunker Hills Golf Club – golf year-round.

Nature and conservation

Coon Creek Watershed District – ways to conserve water and taking care of creeks.

Coon Rapids Forestry Department – promoting the importance of trees in the urban environment.

Coon Rapids Water Department – understanding the city water system.

Coon Rapids Middle School Eco-Teens Club – educating others about the world water crisis.

Pets/animals

Petco Animal Supplies – environmentally safe foods and litters.

Transportation

Anoka County Commute Solutions – promoting the Commuter Challenge.

Metro Transit – regional transportation provider.

Waste management

LePage & Sons – residential and demolition recycling.

Walters’ Recycling & Refuse – compost and single-sort recycling.

Ace Solid Waste – curbside recycling.

Coon Rapids Recycling Center – all about recycling.

Anoka County Integrated Waste Management – county recycling, yard programs and hazardous waste.

Yard and garden

University of Minnesota – ask a master gardener.

Lifestyle Creations – reducing rainwater runoff.

Earth Wizards, Inc. – minimal impact driveway designs and ecological landscapes.

Best Irrigation – saving water usage by using the smart controllers.

Canned and boxed food will be collected at the main entrance of the city center to benefit the food shelf of Beyond Horizons, an organization that helps people in Anoka County with food, clothing and other resources.

The Green Expo began in 2010 as a partnership between the city and the Coon Rapids Sustainability Commission, which comprises Coon Rapids residents who have an interest in the environment and sustainable living practices for the future.

For more information call 763-767-6485 or go online to www.coonrapidsmn.gov/recycling.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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