For more information contact Carrie Sandgren at

Click HERE for the Earth Day Statement from ELCA presiding Bishop


Electronics Recycling:

Tech Dump, located in Golden Valley and St. Paul will recycle your electronics quickly, securely and most items are recycled for free.  Their security technic for swiping information from hard drives meets the department of defense standards.  

Golden Valley                                       St. Paul
825 Boone Avenue North                     698 Prior Avenue North
Learn more at or call 612-424-8860


Organics Facility Tour

Because Mount Olivet now separates our waste into three categories (organics, recyclables, and trash), we wanted to know what happens to the organic waste when it leaves our site, so a group from Mount Olivet toured the Empire Compost Facility (known as “The Mulch Store”) in Rosemount. Organic waste now accounts for over 1/3 of Mount Olivet’s waste saving the church hundreds of dollars a year.  While a backyard compost pile is limited to what organic waste can be decomposed, a commercial compost facility can process all types of organic waste (including meat, bones, and fats).  At the mulch store the compost becomes so hot that snow melts on the piles, even in the middle of winter!  We watched as a large “mixer” was filled with the perfect ratios of brown and green organic waste and then mixed together.  The mix generated heat so fast that we saw steam rising from the mixture within just a few minutes.  The mix is put into long rows where it starts to decompose.  The rows have pipes underneath them to allow air to circulate in the rows and they are watered as needed.  When ready, the mixture is screened of debris and at the end of the process, we saw “black gold”.   This rich compost is so potent and nutritious that it needs to be mixed with soil or it would kill the plants that try to grow in it.  What a wonderful, natural fertilizer ready for our gardens.  The Mulch Store sells mulch in bags or in bulk.

 Minneapolis Campus Parking Lot Remodeled

When Mount Olivet decided to add an elevator to our existing building the city of Minneapolis required a complete renovation of our parking lot.  The project included a complete overhaul of our storm water run-off system.  The original blacktop was ground up and reused as part of the fill for the lot.  Beneath our new parking lot are storm water retention pipes that are 5’ in diameter and permeated with thousands of holes.   Deep trenches were dug throughout the lot and these large pipes were laid on a foundation of rock, linked together with large brackets, wrapped in a black mesh fabric, and then more stone was filled in around each pipe.  These pipes serve as a holding tank and with heavy rains or other run-off, the water sits or holds in these large pipes and eventually is filtered into the ground water instead of running into the main sewer system and ultimately into the creeks, rivers and lakes. 

The Minneapolis Best Practices (MBP) also required a 7’ green band around the lot.  In addition to helping with water run-off, the green border provides space for specific plantings and shrubs which also provide a more attractive parking lot.  The city also requires a tree within 50’ of any parking spot in the lot.  The trees in the lot are surrounded by permeable pavement allowing water to seep through those areas around each tree. 

The MBP also required the south end of the lot to be permeable pavement.  During rain or snow melt the design of this portion of the lot allows the water to seep through the much rougher courser looking pavement.  Although very ecological it is challenging to maintain.  Mount Olivet is not allowed to use salt or sand on this area of the lot as it clogs the porous openings and defeats the draining of the lot.

Between the regular pavement and the pervious pavement there is an “infiltration basin”.  The purpose of this space is again to allow water/snow to collect in this area and the various plantings and grasses filter the water as it seeps into the ground.  

Attached to our Minneapolis water bill is a significant monthly storm water run-off fee.  We are currently in the process of working with our engineer of the project and the City of Minneapolis to apply for a storm water credit of up to 50% of our annual bill due to the many upgrades that have transpired in the church parking lot above ground with our green spaces and permeable pavement and underground with the enhanced drainage system. This could save the church close to $9,000 annually on our water bill.     

We love the fact that our new parking lot is beautiful and better for the environment. 

New Plantings around the parking lot at the Minneapolis campus

Once the new parking lot curbing had been poured, the perimeter was ready for planting.  Our gardener, Laura Morrill, specifically requested plants that contain no pesticides, herbicides or neonicotinoids as this is very harmful for the bee population and other wildlife.  This means more work for Laura’s team to try to keep the area weed-free.  Laura and her volunteers transform the gardens and green spaces at Mount Olivet every year and mindfully care for God’s outdoor creation at Mount Olivet.   For more information on safe plants can be found at

Mount Olivet Receives Award for "Best Congregational Rain Garden"

Posted by Carolyn Sandgren on OP2er @ 2:02 PM

Metro Blooms, a non-profit organization who works with cities and watersheds to manage water run-off, honored Mount Olivet and our rain gardens at the Minneapolis Garden Awards.  Metro Blooms visits over 1000 gardens and selected Mount Olivet as the "Best Congregational Rain Garden" for 2013.  Our landscape architect, gardener, and Mount Olivet member, Laura Morrill accepted this award on behalf of our church.  

With over 20 years experience, Laura maintains all the gardens around our Minneapolis campus, 1700 Chapel and counseling buildings.  Her efforts not only beautify the landscape but help care for God's creation by minimizing the direct water run-off into the sewers and the Minnehaha Creek through her rain garden maintenance.

Minimizing Salt Use on Sidewalks in the Winter

Posted by Carolyn Sandgren on OP1er @ 1:30 PM

The snow and ice season is here and at Mount Olivet our custodians work diligently to keep the sidewalks and parking lot clear using salt to help melt the snow and offer traction.  However, as part of our creation care the custodians are very intentional about the use of salt.  It only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute 5 gallons of water.  Melting snow carries salt into storm sewers, creeks, lakes and groundwater. 

 Here are some tips our custodians follow:

 •Shovel. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it can be.  You may even decide that salt isn't needed.

 •15°F is too cold for salt. Most salts stop working at this temperature. 

 •Be patient. Just because you don't see salt on the sidewalk/road doesn't mean it hasn't been applied. These products take time to work.

•More salt does not mean more melting. Use less than 1 pound of salt per 250 square feet (an average parking space is about 150 square feet). Consider purchasing a hand-held spreader to help you apply a consistent amount.

•If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away. Sweep up the extra and reuse the salt.

Rain Gardens at the Minneapolis Campus

Posted by Carolyn Sandgren on OP1er @ 1:25 PM

Rain gardens are concave gardens designed to collect rainwater runoff.  Most rain gardens are filled with native plants with deep roots, which capture and filter runoff and reduce the amount of pollutants that enter storm sewers and, eventually, lakes and streams. 

In the summer of 2012, the driveway on the James Ave side of the Minneapolis needed to be reconstructed.  Instead of grading the slope to have rainwater runoff go into the street, we graded it so the runoff drains into the lawn on the south side of the driveway and Mount Olivet volunteers planted a raingarden.  Native plants and a few River Birch trees (which soak up lots of water) were planted.  If you visit the garden after a heavy rain, you will see the garden in action!

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