Soup, good behavior, and fruit picking: Three good news stories for Monday

“A  chef who once spent a year living under the Franklin Avenue bridge and a hard-charging minister” star in the Star Tribune’s good news story from Minneapolis today. They run the Soup for You Café at Bethany Lutheran Church, serving homemade soups with fresh, healthy ingredients to anyone who walks through the door. Church people volunteer. People who come for the delicious soup pay “whatever they feel is a fair price — or whatever they are able to.” Chef Judah Nataf also runs Soup For You, a subscriber-based soup operation that’s similar to a CSA. Check out the café at Bethany Lutheran, 2511 E. Franklin in Minneapolis, from 11-1, Monday-Friday.

Americans are better behaved than ever. In this blog post, Noah Smith thoroughly demolishes David Brooks’ whine about Americans losing their morality. Basically, Brooks said Americans are behaving worse and worse and have replaced moral responsibility with “relativism.” Not so fast, says Smith, pointing out the continuing decline in crime, teen drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and child molestation. In short, says Smith:

“So David Brooks is cooking up off-the-cuff sociological theories to explain SOMETHING THAT ISN’T EVEN HAPPENING. And then he is recommending big changes in American culture and society, based on his off-the-cuff sociological explanation for SOMETHING THAT ISN’T EVEN HAPPENING.”

Immigrants in Tucson harvest unwanted fruit from backyard trees — and make friends, build community and help each other. Al Jazeera reports:

“The Tucson-based Iskashitaa Refugee Network links displaced people from at least 30 countries with local volunteers to harvest 80 kinds of backyard fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, including citrus, dates, pomegranates, apples and squash. …

“‘Food is the one great universal, and it brings everyone together,’ said Melissa McCormick, the program and development director at the nonprofit, which harvests year round. ‘People can share food. Even if they don’t share a language, people can share food. Even if they don’t share a religion, people can share food.'”

The program’s founder wants to see it expand across the country. Here in Minnesota, we don’t have backyard grapefruit and lemon trees, but that’s no problem, according to founder Barbara Eiswerth:

“I suggest starting with pumpkins. There’s a connection for many of the African and Bhutanese refugees to pumpkins, and that is they eat the leaves, the flowers, the seeds and the fruits,” she said. “That’s the seed you start with, because everybody [in America] has Halloween and there’s a pumpkin patch and food waste across the country.”

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