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February 7th is approaching fast. Here's all the info you need to know about the 9th Annual Back to Basics.
Workshops - There are over 30 breakout sessions that range from hands-on workshops to panels featuring Minnesota's leaders in resiliency.
Keynote Speaker - We're proud to have Tom Hanson, owner of renowned restaurant, Duluth Grill, as this year's feature speaker. You can learn more about the neat stuff Tom's doing at his restaurant in this short video.
Vendor Area - We have over 30 vendors already lined up for our free vendor area. Browse, discover, and shop at our popular FREE vendor area.

Register Online - We're excited to offer online registration this year. This will make reserving your spot in popular workshops that much easier.

If you're a vendor, organization, or club that is interested in being part of the largest sustainability event in central MN, all you need to do is read more about the event and then fill out a vendor/exhibitor registration brochure. Spaces are filling up, though. So, hurry to get your spot.

New and Returning Presenters for
Back to Basics

Oh boy, are you are in for a treat! This year's breakout sessions are stronger than ever. With local favorites returning such as Jim Fruth's "No-Weed Garden", Abbie Schramm's "Soapmaking 101", and Jason Eden's "Solar 101" you're covered. Yet, we're excited to have new speakers and panelists from around the state coming to Pine River.
Executive Director of Sustainable Farming Association, John Mesko will be participating in two panels focusing on the Pine River watershed and creating lasting food systems.
We had the chance to dialogue with Cathy Jordan of University of Minnesota Extension. Her workshop on re-connecting children with nature promises to be thought-provoking.
Director of the Up North Farm Bus project out of Duluth, Charlie Danielson, will be presenting on his efforts to transform a bus into a "mobile sustainable education center". Read about his efforts in our blog.
For a complete list of workshops and schedule, you can download the registration brochure or go to our workshop page.

Our Favorite Tea Recipes

Tea is perfect for cold winters like we have in Minnesota. Plus it can be prepared thousands of different ways. But, why are we talking about it this month? You'll have to come to Back to Basics to find out. In the meantime, here are some of the favorite ways the staff at HDT love to drink their tea.

One of the most popular ways to drink tea around here is tried and true; taking a simple black or green tea with honey and lemon. There's nothing much about it, but boy is it good. Lots of our staff commented that they prefer their tea this way. But, some have more unique preparation methods.

Communications Direct, Joe Hunt has been drinking his tea English style every morning for over ten years. He'll have his ritual of black tea, double bagged (one with caffeine, the other without), add milk, and a very small spoon of sugar. "I think I started doing it this way to kick coffee," he recalled.
Bookkeeper, Shirlee Anderson has a special memory of childhood associated with tea. "I grew up on Red Rose Tea brand that my grandmother in Canada had all the time. I cherish her favorite regularly used teapot to this day."
Food and Water Security Coordinator, Jim Chamberlin's favorite way to drink his tea is best served in the summer. He takes a brewed black tea and sets it out in the sun for several hours. He likes to throw random herbs (echinacea, hyssop, or mullein) and drink it with a teaspoon of maple syrup. Apparently, leaving the tea out in the sun will help mellow out the leaves and help dissipate any bitterness.
Janis Redfield, Sr. HR, commented that she loves a variety that has "rooibos, chicory root, rosehip, cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint, chamomile, ginger root, anise seed, orange oil and orange peel." She prefers it hot but if in a warmer climate, she isn't above drinking it cold, over ice.
Hannah Klemm, Project Support Assistant, takes a more unique approach. Here's her favorite recipe:

Nourishing Infusion with Nettle Tea
  • Put a fistful of stinging nettle into a half gallon canning jar.
  • Pour boiling water over leaves
  • Let sit for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Strain and refrigerate.
  • Drink up to a quart a day.
There are thousands of ways to drink your tea. HDT Founder, Paul Hunt, says there's no favorite way to drink it simply because of the variety. He is eager to try any and all.
So, what's your favorite flavor? Do you subscribe to the simple or do you venture to the unique? Let us know.

See you at Back to Basics!


Upcoming Events

Tiny Turtles

Pre-K Activities
2nd Monday of Every Month
February 9, March 9
Free but RSVP Requested
Contact Michelle Hoefs at for information.

Clean Energy Resource Teams

2015 Conference
March 10-11, St. Cloud, MN

Northland Arboretum

Intro to Beekeeping
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Northland Arboretum in Baxter, MN
Presented by North Central Beekeepers
$10 Donation for Arb Members
$15 Donation for Non-Members
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