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October 2023 Monthly Meeting Recap

Our guest speakers share updates to the Ramsey County Food Scraps Program and details about the county-wide recycling efforts


The October monthly meeting was held both online via Zoom and in-person at the Roseville Oval from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m on Tuesday, October 17. Watching the recording of this meeting can be counted as 2 hours of Continuing Education. (Find the recording in the Archives of the Monthly Meeting page.)


Many thanks to the RCMG volunteers involved with the October Meeting:

  • Education Committee: Jane Carlstrom & Simba Blood

  • Project Leaders: Tina Hammer, Liz O'Toole

  • Journalist: Mindy Johnson

  • Room-Set: Sara Quinn & Julie Bechtold

  • Greeter: Katie Robinson

  • Zoom Aide: Brianna Gohde

  • Room Clean-up: Beth Peck

Board News (6:30-6:45)

2023 Bylaws Revision Overview (Sandy McDonald, 2023 Board Chair)

Sandy discussed several board business items during this month’s meeting. She thanked everyone who asked questions and submitted comments about the bylaws after last month’s meeting. The board made minor tweaks in the bylaws to clarify wording as needed. There is a new revision of the proposed bylaws available for viewing. Sandy also noted that as a 501(c)3 non-profit, RCMG is in control of its own funds.

She went over the Corporation Process for Voting on Proposals. All eligible RCMG members will receive a virtual ballot to vote via email. She then went over the Corporate Process for Board Elections. She stated that if a board member drops out of the board mid-term, the board would be able to appoint someone for the remainder of the term.

RCMG members will receive an email tomorrow regarding Bylaw Adjustment Based on Feedback. Please check your junk mail if it doesn’t appear in your inbox. Participation is really needed as far as voting for the approval of bylaws. Voting is done 10/18. The voting results will be announced on 11/21.

2024 Board Member Nominations (Julie Bechtold, 2023 Vice Chair)

Julie announced and introduced the 2024 Board nominees:

  • 2024 Vice Chair Nominee: Kay Wimer

  • 2024 Education Committee Nominee Co-Chair: Gene Ranieri

  • 2024 New Member Committee Co-Chair: Tiffa Foster

  • 2024 Mar/Com Committee Co-Chair: Stacy Sola

Julie then asked if there were any other nominations for the 2024 board. There were no further nominees, so the ballot will not change.

Please review candidates. Vote online 10/18-10/31 via email link. 11/21 the results will be announced.

Project Updates (7:00-7:05 pm)

Garden Journalists (Tina Hammer, project co-chair)

Tina and co-chair Maddy Kaudy are looking for writers and editors for the Garden Blog on the RCMG website. Writing experience in general is preferred. Writers often write about current RCMG projects in addition to research-based gardening-related topics. Tina and Maddy recruit by asking potential writers to submit a sample article about managing Japanese beetles in the garden. Articles should reflect the writer but also resource reliable information sources.

If you are interested in becoming a writer or editor, email Maddy Kaudy

Darren Lochner's Coordinator Updates (7:05pm-7:15pm)

Gentle reminder to enter your volunteer and educational hours.

State Program News

Take time to read the monthly newsletter by Tim Kenny, State Master Gardener Program Director, sent the first week of the month via email. Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Apple House. Be sure to enter your Volunteer and Continuing Educational hours.

If you need additional Continuing Education hours, you can find options on the RCMG Continuing Education page and on the State's Continuing Education page.


  • Read the RCMG newsletter sent via email.

  • Reminder for Project Leader and RCMG projects to send in any photos, success stories, and return all RCMG supplies and materials used during project shifts to the Diagnostic Clinic at the Barn.

  • Darren noted there are 70 RCMG applicants for 2024.Volunteers are still needed to interview applicants. Mentors are also needed for 2024. Join the Sign Up Genius SUG For Interviews.

  • Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with projects resulting in produce donations to the White Bear Lake Food Shelf, the Gardens for Good, and the MG Demonstration Gardens at the Barn

Guest Lecture (7:15-8pm)

Ramsey County Yard Waste and Food Scrap Collections Program (John Springman)

John briefly went over his background with the program as a manager and what his management team covers.

He discussed the Yard Waste and Food Scraps milestones from the 1980’s - present day and expectations by 2026. The Ramsey-Washington County partnership for the curbside program for food scraps collection began this year in Maplewood, North St. Paul, Newport and Cottage Grove. It should be in all households in both counties by 2026.

John also went over what the Ramsey County Yard Waste and Food Scraps Collection sites do and do not accept. He then talked about which locations were the busiest according to data. He mentioned what happens to the yard waste after it is collected. He showed slides of the 2022 Food Scraps Waste Sort, which explained the sorting process and what items sorted through were contaminants and not recyclables.

He answered the question of what happens to your organic waste? He briefly mentions what’s next for the Food Scrap Pickup Program as this topic is a whole other presentation in itself.

Ramsey County Recycling (Mariah Quick)

She discusses recycling rules depending on where you are located, rules varies even within a city. Recycled items are turned into new products. She answers the questions ‘what is a MRF (Material Recovery Facility)’ and ‘why are there different haulers in each city’? She discusses “greenwashing,” products that are labeled as recyclable but they actually are not.

She goes through how to recycle metal cans with and without labels as well as other metals including foil trays. The Repowered program accepts recycled electronics. She then goes over recycling paper cartons, glass, and what cartons are not recyclable such as styrofoam and egg cartons.

Check with your hauler about recycling plastics. Black plastic is not recyclable. She answers why black blastic is still out there regardless of the fact is can’t be recycled (ie. it’s cheaper, aesthetic reasons). She then mentions buckets, storage containers, that can’t be recycled. She mentions recycling plastic bags, and which are and are not recyclable. She ends by discussing recycling paper and what can and cannot be recycled. Mariah then answered questions.

Questions from the audience

  • Please confirm that the food scrap program waste will go in the recycling, not the trash?

  • Can I put food scraps in paper (grocery) bags and put that in the dumpster?

  • What should people do with black plant trays/pots or seed starting trays that can’t be recycled?

  • What do people look for to make sure the “green” products are BPI-certified and not just “Greenwashed”?

  • Where do we take scrap metal?

  • What can and cannot go in the food scrap area?

  • What can we do with any sugar or flour bags?

  • Are there any additional ways the RCMG can help your program?

  • What steps are used to prevent jumping worms? Is compost from your sites safe for our gardens?

Recap provided by Mindy Johnson


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