Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Windy and potentially rainy

This weekend, you'll learn about a new community effort to bring accessible groceries to neighborhoods in need. You'll also meet Leo, the police department's first-ever therapy dog and find an update on a growing composting effort.


How a grocery store on wheels will serve Sioux Falls food deserts

Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls is poised to award a $250,000 Eat Well Sioux Falls grant to Sioux Falls Thrive to create a mobile food market to make groceries more accessible in food deserts around town.

Why it matters

  • It's been a year since the city first announced plans to spend up to $400,000 in one-time funding for this Eat Well Sioux Falls grant, and after Wednesday's announcement of the mobile market, Public Health Director Charles Chima said they will no longer be taking applications for these funds.
  • The mobile market will be a vehicle – likely a decommissioned bus – that's stocked with healthy food and driven to an area of town that's not being served by a neighborhood grocery store.
  • The idea of the program is to create a dignified way for people to have access to purchasing groceries, said Michelle Erpenbach, president of Sioux Falls Thrive.
"This is not a hand out," Erpenbach said. "This isn't a freebie, and it really is a place that we all feel like customers."

Tell me more

What is the need for this? And how will the mobile market work?


How this nonprofit is keeping food waste out of the landfill

Our Earth Month sustainability series is made possible by the support of Friends of the Big Sioux River. They're celebrating Earth Day with a new release of Big Sioux Brew and river clean-up events throughout the watershed. Learn more about their mission here.

Simplified: SoDak Compost started as a six-month pilot program funded by a city sustainability grant. Nearly a year later, the nonprofit has kept 13,000 pounds of food waste out of the landfill, and a new partnership will help them double their capacity.

Why it matters

  • Composting food scraps creates a closed loop system in the environment. Food grows in the ground, gets eaten, and the scraps are composted back into materials that help fertilize the soil for future growth.
  • By contrast, in landfills, food scraps tend to become "mummified" and don't break down into compost, said Deirdre Appel, founder of SoDak Compost.
  • SoDak Compost will expand to a second location in town in the coming months, doubling its capacity. And long-term plans include making compost available at all community gardens as well as a larger-scale compost option for local businesses to use.
"The vision is that this expansion can show that there’s a lot of other locations that could have (food scrap) drop-off sites,"Appel said. "We kind of have the system down, now. We know how it works ... we're really just looking for more locations."

Tell me more

How can I start composting?


Super Simplified Stories

  • T. Denny Sanford affidavits unsealed. Five search warrants related to a child pornography investigation into billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford were released on Thursday. Sanford was never charged, but the affidavits show that in 2019, the state received a tip that led to search warrants that ultimately found 36 image files depicting "child pornography and child erotica." Learn more from Dakota Scout and the Argus Leader.


Meet Leo, the Sioux Falls Police Department's first therapy dog

Simplified: The Sioux Falls Police Department has a new member: a 14-week-old Golden Retriever named Leo. He's the department's first-ever therapy dog.

Why it matters

  • Law enforcement agencies across the country have used therapy dogs both as a way to boost morale and well-being among officers and as a way to help people feel more at ease when interacting with officers.
  • Leo's main job will be to support police officers, but he'll also get to take part in community activities like block parties, school events and more.
  • Leo's training has already begun, but he won't fully join the department until early 2024, according to a news release from the department.
β€œLaw enforcement can be a demanding profession, and we are always looking for new ways to provide support and promote the emotional wellness of officers," Police Chief Jon Thum said.

Tell me more about Leo

Details here.


Stuff to do: April 28-May 4

  • Find new films. Watch a Dakota State University student film showcase at the Last Stop CD shop. Coffee and conversation starts Friday around 5:30 p.m., and films start showing at 6:30 p.m. Details here.
  • Swap some plants. Buy and swap plants at McCrossan Boy's Ranch on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food trucks will also be available, and donations to the ranch are appreciated. Details here.
  • A final egg hunt. Miss out on egg hunts? You can still search for goodie-filled eggs at the Good Earth Farm on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participation is free. Details here.
  • Stretch and smile. Try laughter yoga at McKennan park on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the Sioux Falls Laughter Club. Participation is free, and you can find more details here.
  • Hear from candidates. Watch the Sioux Falls school board candidate forum on Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the instructional planning center. The forum will also be live streamed here, and you can find more details here. (Can't make the forum? Don't worry – Sioux Falls Simplified will have an election guide for you in the coming weeks ahead of the May 16 election. Stay tuned.)


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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or May Day baskets to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.