In 2010, our first year working on Summer of Solutions, youth in Fayetteville, Arkansas focused on addressing issues in food production and consumption. Summer of Solutions 2010 was hosted by the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology, a local non-profit that offered access to space, resources, and connections, all of which were vital to our success. Our team members each concentrated on individual projects related to our overall vision, including healthy cooking classes for families, a rain-barrel business, garden beds created out of local bamboo, an advertising campaign for local farmers, and community garden development.
Spring and summer 2011 have seen our horizons broaden beyond local food into five project areas: a Listening Project, Bike Access, Women’s Empowerment, Gardening, and Energy Efficiency. We are focusing our program in the South Fayetteville area surrounding Walker Park, beginning with a community survey, or Listening Project. We are going door to door in the Walker Park neighborhood, asking residents what they love about their community and what could be better, and also surveying interests and assets that each neighbor possesses. Our goals with this project are to connect community members to our team, to opportunities in the community, and to each other around needs and resources. The information we gather will guide our outreach for our workshops and future projects. We are very excited to see what comes of the Listening Project.