The Minnesota Hub, located in Minneapolis, is a regional center for green economy innovation. Although the Hub was officially piloted in early 2011, the leaders of the Minnesota Hub began organizing in the Twin Cities with the incorporation of Grand Aspirations in 2008.
At the Minnesota Hub, we:
Provide experiential, project-oriented training for Solutionary leaders
We build power and structure by training young people in Solutionary leadership The three main avenues we will use to train Solutionary leaders are:
- The Twin Cities Summer of Solutions: We host a Summer of Solutions program each summer to engage young Solutionaries in the programs listed above and providing personal training and program management.
- MN Solutionaries in Residence: We host individuals for a month or longer at a time, helping them hone and develop their skills as green economy organizers. These individuals, many of whom will likely travel to the Twin Cities from elsewhere, will commit to an intensive training experience geared to meet their specific needs for growth.
- Fee-For-Service Training and Consulting: We provide training and consulting for businesses, non-profits, community initiatives, and individuals who are developing green economy projects. Our Trainers generate resources for themselves and for our Hub by charging reasonable fees for their services, as per the pilot Consulting Proposal being developed by Grand Aspirations Organizational Development Team.
Create successful and innovative community-based initiatives to build the green economy
The initiatives we have developed in the Twin Cities of Minnesota over the past three years will multiply in scale over the next three years. The bulk of our staff and volunteer time are directed towards these efforts. As these initiatives scale up, we will seek new opportunities to generate resources through each of them. Written descriptions of the following programs and a narrative of their budget can be found below.
- The Alliance to Re-Industrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE): An initiative to develop green manufacturing initiatives in the Twin Cities and across the country. We seek to generate capital by providing consultation on community initiatives based on our experience working on a redevelopment plan for the Saint Paul Ford Plant.
- The Our Power Campaign: Our Power is a community-wide campaign uniting residents, businesses, organizations, and elected officials working for a better energy future in South Minneapolis. Grand Aspirations will work with partners from across the community to identify opportunities for energy efficiency use, energy reduction through behavior shifts, and replacing fossil fuel energy with renewable energy.
- Urban Farming: Minnesota Hub representatives have developed relationships and work with several innovative and up-and-coming programs in the Twin Cities area. In 2010 and 2011, participants in the Twin Cities Summer of Solutions program provided farming hands to several urban farms and one rural farm operated by partners of ours. Through those connections, our participants gained valuable farming experience and had the chance to explore new ways in that local farming entrepreneurs were changing the game. We will carry forward the success from their work in the following years.
- Biking: For the Summer of Solutions in 2010 and 2011, we partnered with a local community bike non-profit, Sibley Bike Depot, to help them expand their program outreach. We focused on doing outreach for their women-and-transgender-accessible open shop and bike classes and led listening sessions with groups in the Frogtown neighborhood. Additionally, our participants helped Sibley further build its volunteer management system, increasing its capacity. In return, Sibley lent several Summer of Solutions participants bikes to ride for the summer.
- Community-Based For-Profit Venture Development: We have helped develop several initial community-based ventures that have since become self-sustaining initiatives. In 2008, Grand Aspirations participants were involved in starting Cooperative Energy Futures, an energy-efficiency co-op that provides affordable efficiency workshops and products. CEF also develops innovative financing strategies for citizen-led energy development. In 2011, Grand Aspirations also assisted in convening Concrete Beet Farmers, a South Minneapolis-based urban farm run by young entrepreneurs. Concrete Beet Farmers has since transformed into Stones Throw Urban Farm, a Twin Cities-wide farming venture that will begin in the 2012 growing season.
Support Grand Aspirations program development in the Midwest
We will provide direct support to groups of young organizers elsewhere in the Midwest who want to contribute to and develop Grand Aspirations activities in their area. We want to share our experience with growing programs to help them avoid pitfalls we met and to guide them towards eventually creating hubs of their own. We will do this in cooperation and partnership with the national Program Support Team and other hubs.
Expand through Minnesota
As Grand Aspirations develops new hubs in the Midwest, we plan to diminish our regional support across state boundaries and focus more on developing programs in Minnesota. As our Twin Cities programs develop, we’d like to make connections in suburbs, smaller towns, and rural areas that can replicate, enhance and connect to our urban programs. Ultimately, we’d like to build new pathways for young Minnesotans (rural, urban, and anyone in between) to become innovators and contribute to Minnesota’s growing green entrepreneurial legacy.