Winter is coming. Food shelf recipients want people to consider the following. There are two types of recipients: 1) people with homes where they can store food, open cans, cook and store food in a refrigerator, and 2) people who live in their cars or on the street, or have no access to cooking facilities. Both groups have to have transportation to a food shelf or bank and a way to get “home.”

Food shelves are not created equal. One in the inner city with good choices for people with a home (no fresh fruits or vegetables, though) only allows once-a-month visits. Not good for a person who can choose only juice, cereal or day-old bread that lasts a few days, or vegetables in a pouch.

Consider people who for whatever reason cannot get food stamps or a place to live. Snack foods, dried fruits and vegetables, dried meats, crackers, or string cheese or fresh fruits or vegetables (lasts a few days). Look at your grocery store and shopping trips through another person’s eyes. Locate your food shelves on transportation, on the light rail and express buses.

It might be your children in the future lost on the road or streets.

D.C. Lane, Minneapolis


Class warfare — really? Tax burden needs another look

I was disappointed in the Sept. 7 Business Forum article “Class warfare killing off American dream.” As is often the case with these types of arguments, the writer starts by misstating the position of his opponents. Suggesting, as the writer does, that we want everyone to have roughly the same wealth is totally off the mark.

Let me suggest another view. What is needed is not a redistribution of wealth, but rather a redistribution of the tax burden. That is where we in the middle class feel the 1-percenters are gaining an unfair advantage. No sensible person is asking to take away the wealth someone has acquired. But when a middle-class family has a higher overall percentage taken away in taxes than the very wealthy do, it is unfair. The writer uses percentage examples that mean absolutely nothing when viewed in comparison to a typical middle-class family.

Yes, I am glad we have some 1-percenters out there, but don’t forget how the tax codes lean in their favor.

Dean Severson, Clearwater, Minn.



Writer was disingenuous in commentary on butterflies

Three things strike me as disingenuous, misleading and downright offensive about Robert T. Fraley’s commentary about monarch butterflies (“Things to think about as the monarchs migrate,” Sept. 8).

First, he says “when you look out your window, there is a good chance you will see monarch butterflies fluttering …”

Actually, it’s getting downright difficult to see a handful of monarchs during a single summer, and it’s due to the farming practices that Fraley’s employer, Monsanto, actively promotes.

Then, he says, “ … we need to restore milkweed populations. Not in farmers’ fields, where they would interfere with the goal of feeding humanity, but in many other places.”

This is the largest myth companies like Monsanto would have us believe, and they trumpet it at every turn: That their brand of agriculture is all that can feed the world. However, these vast fields of corn and soybeans are often used for ethanol, nonfood products and animal feed. Plus, the foods these crops are actually used in do not make us healthy; rather, they contribute to our country’s obesity epidemic.

In short, there is little about our corn-and-soybean system that contributes to “feeding the world,” at least healthfully; however, sustainable farmers all across America are proving that we can certainly produce enough food sustainably — and profitably — to feed the world and save monarchs, bees, soil and watersheds to boot.

Finally, Fraley writes, “we’ll also need technical innovations, such as large-scale milkweed seed production.” At least he’s honest: Seeing profit at every turn, Monsanto is going to start genetically modifying milkweed and selling it, so monarchs can feast on Roundup Ready milkweed.

I encourage Fraley and his ilk to reach out to organizations like mine, the Sustainable Farming Association. We are happy to set him straight on the facts of sustainability and show him ways sustainable farming can be profitable, prolific and environmentally restorative.

Because ask any sustainable farmer, and I am willing to bet they’ve seen a lot more monarchs this year in one day than most conventional farmers have all summer.

Jason Walker, Minneapolis

The writer is communications coordinator for the Sustainable Farming Association.

• • •

I grew up on a southern Minnesota farm and still farm that same land. I know it is fashionable to blame agriculture for all things wrong with the environment. Monarch butterflies in particular have been in the news and print very often lately. The use of herbicides and GMO crops is always mentioned as being a potential cause in the reduction of their numbers, primarily due to the loss of milkweed ­— the butterfly’s only food source. I would like to express an opinion concerning that.

I grew up before the use of herbicides and GMO crops, and the butterflies were plentiful. There never was a substantial amount of milkweed in cropland. It was either cultivated out in the row crops, or cut when mowing hay or harvesting small grains. Where the milkweed was plentiful was in fence rows, permanent pastures and road ditches. More intense row-crop agriculture had reduced the acres in fence rows and permanent pastures. However, the acres in road ditches remains constant.

What has changed on these acres is the counties’ and the state’s practice of mowing the entire road right of way. Also to be included in this is the farmer thinking he needs to groom the entire right of way past his farm to look like a fairway. These mowing practices destroy the milkweed in this huge area that could be a vast rearing area for these insects.

Bruce Granger, West Concord, Minn.



Despite concern, Tomassoni gets $6 million for favorite groups

I learned from your Labor Day article (“Tax plan may help mining firms”) that two northern Minnesota legislative leaders, led by Chisholm DFLer David Tomassoni, inserted last-minute language to funnel $6 million to the unregulated, unaudited, unaccountable Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) without any legislative debate.

What I didn’t learn from the article and probably should have is that the IRRRB works closely with and funds another Iron Range group, the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS).

I also should have learned that Tomassoni is the same state senator who earlier this year had trouble understanding why he couldn’t run a partner of the IRRRB and be a Minnesota state senator. That partner was RAMS.

I think we see that despite being forced to resign his RAMS position in February, Tomassoni still doesn’t understand the delineation of duties between senator and lobbyist.

As a lifelong Democrat, I’m embarrassed.

Nick Dolphin, Minneapolis



Foot squarely in mouth

Ah — “cherish,” “protect,” “take care of” — what lovely sentiments from Donald Trump regarding his perception of what women need (“Trump tested by wave of criticism over remarks about Fiorina,” Sept. 11). One generally sees these terms used, of course, in reference to children and pets. As a former English teacher, I’d like to direct Mr. Trump to another word as yet unknown to him — “respect.” (Synonyms: esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, honor …)”

Dorothy Scholtz, Minneapolis