Celebrate Iftar with MNIPL and Gandhi Mahal on July 6th

moon-centeredJoin us on Monday July 6th, 2015 in sharing and celebrating Iftar, the nightly breaking of the daily fast of Ramadan. We will be co-hosting with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, an organization that works to bring spiritual congregations together in care of creation as active members of the climate movement. Gather at Gandhi Mahal at 8pm with friends of the Twin Cities interfaith community, where owner Ruhel Islam will recite the Azan, or “call for prayer,” and we will begin our meal at sunset.

What is the Meaning of Ramadan?

In the Muslim faith, Ramadan is a period of daily fasting, the name derived from the Arabic word for “scorching heat” or “dryness.” Observants are not to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, at which time the fast is broken in an act of celebration (Iftar), which is often shared by friends and family. Similar to the Christian observance of Lent, Ramadan is about much more than the outward practice of fasting. The month of its duration is considered a time of spiritual centering and recharging, and of great blessing and forgiveness.

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Meet Kate, Our Garden Coordinator!

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Kate Jacobson at the Gandhi Mahal Climate Garden site on 22nd Avenue at 32nd Street in South Minneapolis.

A long-time voice in the climate movement who has dedicated years of work to local groups like MN350, Kate Jacobson joined Gandhi Mahal this spring as our Garden Coordinator. What does this kind of work look like? What new projects are cooking this year? We met her in the garden to find out!

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Garbage In, Energy Out

Crunching on that crispy eggplant pakora from our lunch buffet, do you ever wonder what happens to all the extra oil once it leaves the fryer? For many restaurants, the question seems short on easy answers. Spent cooking oil can create a host of problems, clogging pipes, increasing the volume of trash, damaging sewers, and harming wildlife.

Fryer Oil Problems
Aside from the tasty output, a deep fryer can wreak havoc on both life and property. (Illustration by Patricia Lamas)

Part of our work here at Gandhi Mahal is turning our waste streams into energy cycles. In other words, we put that grease back in action! Walk through the service alley behind Gandhi Mahal, and you might see a collection of bright blue barrels huddled by the dumpster. These are recycling bins for used cooking oil, and are regularly serviced by Sanimax, a company that collects various industrial waste materials and converts them back into useable products. One of their largest operations is producing biodiesel from used cooking oil. By keeping our extra grease out of the landfill and instead sending it through a process of purification and chemical conversion, we are taking steps to close the loop on another waste stream and provide a new source for renewable energy.

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