Youth Farm produces more than just food. Through summer and school-year programs available for ages 9 to 24, it cultivates young leaders: responsible, essential community members who know how to grow healthy foods and why it's important to do so. In five Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods, participants begin as Youth Farmers, 9- to 11-year-olds, who get their hands dirty in the soil and learn the basics of transforming what they grow into nutritious dishes. From there, they grow into All Stars, Project LEAD members, and finally Farm Stewards, all while building their skill set and becoming increasingly engaged in the distribution of what they grow.
That last aspect is another integral part to the Youth Farm programs. Not only do participants build a community among themselves, they also serve the community that surrounds them. During the summer program, Youth Farm families receive full grocery bags of vegetables every week of the eight-week program. And this can add up fast. In 2013 alone, Youth Farm's 800 participants distributed more than 10,000 pounds of produce and prepared more than 12,000 healthy meals.
At Claymate Creations, Anjee Mai Emerson celebrates her two passions: art and play. Inspired by her joy in creating sculptures, she uses her colorful creation haven to share that love with students aged 8 and older. She leads them in shaping polymer clay monster sculptures, motivating them to tap into their imaginations to bring one-eyed green gremlins or self-destructive socialites to life. In each three-hour playshop class or private party, up to six guests gather in this casual learning environment. Anjee encourages them to have fun playing with clay while they flex their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
She also showcases her own work throughout the studio, and sells her handmade monsters, earrings, magnets, and stationery at a handful of local boutiques.
When most people think of self-defense, they usually don’t associate it with bicycles. But spurred on by attacks on cyclists around the Twin Cities, Gail Boxrud and Dante Pastrano developed a way to fight back. At Krav Maga Minneapolis, the pair of internationally-trained experts offer unique bicycle-based seminars as part of their extensive curriculum in the self-defense arts. Instructors teach the Israeli self-defense system’s unique blend of response-based techniques, all of which can be adapted to combat a single attacker or armed assailants whether you’re walking, running, or bicycling down the street. Students can supplement their self-defense training with seminars in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as well as kettlebell workouts to build arms, legs, and cores powerful enough to fight off assailants.
With the help of a crack team of instructors?15 strong?husband-and-wife duo Eric and Martha Williams stoke the fires of flexibility in separate classes designed for parents and their kids. During 90-minute sessions held in a 105-degree studio, beads of sweat roll off students and blossom into miniature Fabios as the class cycles through 26 yoga poses, each amping up blood circulation while warming and stretching muscles. Students zero in on focused breathing as heat purges toxins from bodies.
Down the hall from the main studio lies the 2,000-square-foot Kids Space, an eco-friendly, scent-free oasis draped in 100% wool flooring where instructors blend yoga and play with the help of a sandbox, teepee, and toys. Children aged 2?12 years scramble about the imagination-firing room as they learn self-control and compassion during Made to Move sessions. The playful course, designed by a healthy-lifestyle consultant and trainer for school districts and local governments, teaches kids self-esteem in a safe, noncompetitive setting. Plunking more karma into its piggy bank of eco-friendliness, the studio rewards students that bike to the studio, which located off the greenway cycling trail, with free mat and towel rental.
Staying motivated and having fun are both crucial aspects to sticking to a workout routine. This is something the expert instructors at The Shed clearly grasp, thanks to small group classes that ensure a fun and accepting atmosphere, with plenty of opportunities for personal instruction and tips. As an added bonus, when the weather allows, classes move from the studio to a secluded rooftop deck. The studio also teams up with Wheel Fun Rentals to offer SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Yoga during the warmer seasons.
If Barre Bliss looks familiar, it?s because its unique take on barre workouts was featured on CBS Minnesota WCCO. In real life, as on television, instructors led by owner Mia Jenneman?recently featured in HERLIFE magazine? and co-owner Shad Holland introduce each student to a warm, inviting, and challenging experience in their specially formulated version of barre fitness. Drawing upon Mia's experience as a classically trained dancer and yoga practitioner and inspired by STOTT Pilates techniques, the custom workout system promotes torso control and a strong abdominal wall while imparting meditative form and position fundamentals. The result is an intense session that activates tiny muscles as well as full muscle chains, resulting in a full-body workout that both sculpts frames and sheds pounds. Designed with beginners in mind, the system also imparts knowledge of the graceful movements and fluid transitions of dances throughout the ages and caters to students of all shapes and sizes.