Our Vision
Summer of Solutions
Our Projects


It's Getting Hot in Here

Programs in which participants can be involved

The 2010 Twin Cities Summer of Solutions (TCSoS) will integrate a number of innovative energy efficiency, green industry, urban farming, and sustainable transportation projects that youth leaders and community partners have developed together over the past three years. The program will be rooted in close collaboration with local organizations, both in the Phillips neighborhood where the program will be based, and other communities (North Minneapolis, the University Avenue Corridor, East Side St. Paul, and around the Ford Auto Manufacturing site). Starting with a week-long training co-developed by the Sierra Student Coalition and Grand Aspirations, program participants will build community organizing, social entrepreneurship, and transformative leadership skills while creating sustainable communities. By linking and expanding, participants will take part in growing an integrated green economic ecosystem in Twin Cities communities. These projects are still evolving, and you’ll get a chance to help shape them if you join us! Projects that will be included in the program are:

We Make it – Green Industry: participants will work with labor leaders, workforce training groups, and green manufacturing businesses to advance community-sustaining green manufacturing projects in the Twin Cities. We will:

  • Research final elements of the Ford Auto Manufacturing site template to develop a model for creating mixed-use, transit-oriented green manufacturing centers that can be applied to other communities.
  • Conduct outreach and community visioning sessions with partners to spur YIMBY (Yes In My Back-Yard) economic revitalization efforts, create site plans, and develop action plans for recruiting manufacturers, financiers, and local government support in at least one community.

We Use It - Energy Efficiency: participants will work with Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF), Community First, and other local partners to create jobs by improving residential and small business energy efficiency for low-income residents and business owners. We will:

  • Support and train at least 50 community residents in building community-based efficiency teams, learning effective team leadership, and help build CEF’s membership base.
  • Upgrade efficiency of homes and businesses to save $10,000+ and 100+ tons of CO2 annually.
  • Support job training and business development that will employ at least 3 community members in energy efficiency assessment and implementation on an ongoing basis.
  • Support internal logistics of building and running an efficiency cooperative (CEF).
  • Facilitate 1+ planning sessions for broader community-based distributed energy initiatives.

We Grow It - Urban Food Production: participants will help develop market-scale sustainable urban farming systems in the Growing Power and back-yard farming models. We will:

  • Work with community groups to create and sustain productive urban farms and engage residents.
  • Support efforts to launch a jobs training center for market-scale urban farming.

We Ride It – Bicycle Transportation: participants will help increase bicycle use as a viable transit practice and advance business models for creating cross-cultural bike access. We will:

  • Work with a local bike co-op to identify partners for their low-income bike loan program.
  • Conduct research and community discussions to identify ways to scale bike access and use.

We are also continually working on local opportunities to tie in projects related to smart design, transit systems, and renewable energy development. These projects will advance through the spring and summer and you’re welcome to help them come to fruition.

June 1 – Move in, training starts in the evening
June 1-7 – Training Week
June 8-July 25 – Project implementation (each project has specific, intersecting work plans)
Jul 26th -July 31st – Evaluation, reflection, and next-steps planning week
July 31st – program concludes
August 15-22? (dates pending) – National Summer of Solutions Gathering

Grand Aspirations empowers, connects, and supports youth leaders as they create innovative, self-sustaining, and inter-dependent initiatives that systemically integrate climate and energy solutions, economic security, and social justice.
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Questions and comments to kai.bosworth@gmail.com