Tag Archives: Jay Walljasper

Northfield’s longtime Utne Reader connection alive and well

Soren Walljasper, Tessa, Harriet Barlow, David Morris, David Morris, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, stopped by the GBM on Friday morn. He and his wife, Harriet Barlow, were accompanying their granddaughter, Tessa, and her friend, Soren Walljasper, on a visit to Carleton College (left photo).

I got to know David in the 90s while working at Utne Reader, as he was a frequent contributor to the magazine and a regular at our staff salons. Soren’s dad, Jay Walljasper, was the magazine’s editor during that time. Jay has been frequent presenter here in Northfield (see these Locally Grown blog posts tagged with his name).

Griff Wigley, Jay Walljasper, Curt Johnson, I’m now collaborating with Jay and longtime client Curtis Johnson, Citistates Group, on a project (right photo). While I was at Utne, Curt was executive director of the Citizens League and was instrumental in finessing funding for the Neighborhood Salon project.  It was a 1991 salon here in Northfield that was instrumental in the birth of Northfield.org.

all-that-we-shareJay has a new book out titled All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons ("How to Save the Economy, the Environment, the Internet, Democracy, Our Communities and Everything Else that Belongs to All of Us").

One of the organizations profiled in his book is Northfield’s Rural Enterprise Center (REC). Another former Utne staffer, Jon Spayde, recently interviewed Jay about his book for The Line which included this blurb about Northfielder Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin (Regi!), and his work with the REC:

Reginaldo Haslett-MarroquinAnother of the stories in the book is about a guy named Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, who lives down in Northfield. He’s an entrepreneur, one of the founders of Peace Coffee, and a Guatemalan immigrant. He wondered what he could create to boost the prospects of immigrants in Northfield, and also show other people that immigrants aren’t taking something away from the community, they’re contributing something. What he came up with was a chicken co-op.

Everybody understands that local food is healthier for people and for the economy, but local food is also really expensive. Yet here are all these immigrants who were farmers back home, working in jobs that don’t use those skills. So he created this co-op where they are raising chickens that are less expensive than the local, organically raised chickens you find in the grocery store. The community benefits and the immigrants benefit. And it’s a cooperative, so there’s not a single owner; but it’s part of the market economy and it’s not getting government funds.

See Jay’s article in the December issue of Yes! magazine which includes this great PDF poster titled 51 ways to spark a commons revolution:

51 ways to spark a commons revolution

Photo album: NDDC annual meeting

NDDC partners 2008The NDDC held its annual meeting at the Grand Event Center last night.

Featured speaker: Jay Walljasper, Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces (PPS).

Anastasia Belfany The photo on the right: a list of NDDC’s ‘partners’ for 2008. Click to enlarge.

And a personal tip-of-the-blogger hat to NDDC board member Anastasia Belfany for featuring some of my downtown-related photos at the event.

See the album of 19 photos or this slideshow:

What Builds Great Neighborhoods?

The-Great-Neighborhood-Book.jpgAs some of you may have heard, the NDDC is throwing a party this Thursday (October 23rd), 6 to 9 p.m. at the historic Grand Event Center in downtown Northfield. The event is free and open to the public.

Our special guest speaker is Jay Walljasper, author of The Great Neighborhood Book. The book is a Do-It-Yourself guide to strengthening your community.

Several people have asked me to start, restart, or refresh (depending on their perspective) a discussion on Locally Grown. In his introduction, Jay suggests that “People who live in a particular locale are the experts on that place”. So let’s hear from the experts.

Walljasper’s chapters are:

1. Foster a sense of community

2. Create great places to hang out

3. Tame traffic and improve transportation

4. Assure safety and promote justice

5. Boost local economic vitality

6. Keep things clean and green

7. Nurture pleasure and pizzazz

8. Make your dreams a reality

Personally, I’m a big fan of prioritization and implementation. Which of these ideas do you think are the most important and how might we achieve these goals? Is there anything important that you think is missing? Finally, are some of these ideas particular opportunities or challenges for Northfield?

Thanks for sharing your expertise and See You Downtown (at the Grand, Thursday evening). See the poster (PDF) for more.

Whither Northfield’s neighborhoods?

Jay Walljasper

Jay Walljasper spoke at the Northfield United Methodist Church last Sunday, invited by Northern Letter blogger Bill Ostrem for their Sunday Morning Adult Forum.

Great Neighborhood book coverJay’s a Senior Fellow at the Project for Public Spaces, the same organization that just named Division Street in downtown Northfield as one of the Five of the best neighborhoods in North America.

He talked about the importance of neighborhoods, as he’s got a new book out titled, The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking.

Click play to listen. 40 minutes. (Not available via podcast but you can download the MP3.)

Wigley halloween entrywayI’ve been thinking about neighborhoods lately since we just moved to a townhouse in the Hidden Valley/Heritage Park area of Northfield. Is it a neighborhood? I’m not sure.

But since tonight is Halloween, I suggested to Robbie that we use it as an excuse to meet as many of our neighbors as possible. She dressed up our entryway and I’ll be there, hamming it up with the kids and handing out candy bars.

How many neighborhoods does Northfield have? What are they called? What’s to like about yours? What are people and local organizations doing to strengthen them?