In this issue
- 2012 Minnesota Solar Tour
- MSP Housing + Transportation Cost Calculator
- Urban Farming Certification Program
- Food Waste Prevention Resources
- Resilient Communities Project
- Master of Arts in Sustainable Design
- Should Saving Water be an Olympic Event?
- Funding and Technical Assistance opportunities
to the September issue of the NextStep e-newsletter.
We also are continuing to post and update resources on the NextStep web
site in an ongoing manner, and welcome your suggestions and inquiries.
Thanks for your interest!
-- Erin Barnes-Driscoll, NextStep newsletter co-editor
-- Paul Moss, NextStep newsletter co-editor
The following is adapted from the website below:
Sponsored by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES), the self-guided,
public Minnesota Solar Tour, taking place statewide on Saturday, October 6th, features 50+ exemplary homes, businesses, and
institutions that have incorporated renewable energy into the design and operation of their buildings.
From geothermal heat
pumps using the earth as a huge thermal buffer to wind turbines elegantly
spinning in the breeze and the many incarnations of solar energy between earth
and sky, this event offers local residents an opportunity to find out how their
neighbors are trimming their energy bills, increasing their energy independence,
and taking steps to address global warming.
A highlight of this year's event is a bike tour of South Minneapolis neighborhoods. A variety of technologies will be featured on this subset of the larger tour,
including: PV panels, solar hot water, solar air heat and geothermal
heating/cooling. Additional highlights include various examples of sustainable
living, ranging from a green roof to chickens in the city, and an electric
This is an excellent and free opportunity for
those interested in solar and other renewable energies to view installations and
talk with building owners, builders, architects, and planners about their
For more information or to register, visit the website above.
The following is adapted from the website below:
Urban Land Institute recently launched an online, customizable tool to help
individuals, households, planners, and municipalities in the Twin Cities area understand
the true costs of housing and transportation, as well as how these costs can
vary from place to place.
Designed specifically for the
13-county region, the Housing +
Transportation Calculator allows users to easily estimate their combined
housing and transportation costs and compare details with the average cost in
their neighborhood and the region.
Whether it's a move to a new neighborhood, a move
into the area, a new job, a change in income, the purchase or sale of an
automobile, or just an effort to use transit more and drive less, the H+T
Calculator will provide individuals and households the information they need to
understand the true affordability of their location and choices.
more information or to access the calculator, visit the website above.
following is adapted from the following website:
Would you like to work as an urban farmer? Are you interested in
learning how to earn an income and produce high-quality, organic food for the
expanding local foods market in the Twin Cities?
The Urban Farming Certification
Program, a creation of the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) Cold Climate,
is currently accepting applications for 2013.
The comprehensive 9-month training program weaves together in-class and
outdoor practical farming and design courses needed to turn any urban lot into
a certified, highly productive urban farm.
With customized learning
opportunities alongside professional permaculture designers, urban farmers, and
urban farming mentors in the Twin Cities region, 2013 trainees will have the
rare opportunity of entering into a supportive community of peers and
professionals as they learn from a range of local wisdom throughout the season.
With over 40 workshops and classes to choose from, participants will have the
opportunity to custom design a schedule that fits their lifestyles and needs.
The early bird application deadline is November 15, 2012. For more information or to apply for the 2013 program, visit the
According to the US EPA, 33
million tons of food waste was discarded in 2010 in this country, making it the
single largest component of MSW reaching landfills and incinerators. The waste
of food has economic and social impacts as well as environmental ones. Among
other consequences is the generation of methane, a significant green house gas,
which occurs when food decomposes in landfills.
A new report by the Natural
Resources Defense Council
titled “Wasted: How America is
Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm
” asserts that the equivalent
of 20 lbs. per person per month of uneaten food is discarded in the US
addition to the food loss itself, there are huge amounts of chemicals, energy,
water, land, and money ($165 billion/year
) used in the production, processing, and
distribution of this food that are consequently lost if the food is not
consumed. And while composting helps to reduce
the final waste stream, it does
not decrease these “upstream” resource inputs
With the help of an MPCA
Environmental Assistance grant, Eureka Recycling
has developed informative new online tools to help consumers minimize or
prevent food waste. The resources, available at www.makedirtnotwaste.org/prevent-wasted-food,
include food storage tips for a wide variety of food types (including produce,
meat, oils, herbs, and nuts, among others). Practical and instructional meal
planning information specifically designed to counteract food wastage (and
indirectly save time and money!) is included as well.
Another tool developed by the
Climate and Materials Management Forum, an EPA-led partnership of western
cities and states, serves as a resource
for state and local governments and/or community groups and is currently undergoing nationwide piloting. Designed as
a community-based social marketing campaign, the Food: Too Good to Waste pilot toolkit includes an implementation
guide, behavior change tools (including a workshop presentation, shopping
template, and poster), measurement tools, and a research report. Plans are to
revise the toolkit based on pilot results.
Local governments and
community organizations in Minnesota with an interest in participating in the
pilot phase of the toolkit can contact Madalyn Cioci, MPCA, Madalyn.Cioci@state.mn.us
, for more
The following is adapted from
the website above.
Each academic year, RCP chooses a partner city through a competitive request-for-proposal process. Working
with a wide range of city staff and stakeholders in the selected community, RCP
helps to identify potential projects based on community-identified sustainability issues and needs. RCP then
serves as a centralized “matchmaker,” connecting the city’s project needs with
existing graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses at the U of M. RCP is currently
partnering with the City of Minnetonka
on eight projects that will engage more than 150 students in eleven courses
across seven schools and colleges at the University of Minnesota.
For communities, RCP provides access
to hundreds of students and faculty members across a range of academic
disciplines―from architecture, planning, and engineering to business,
environmental sciences, and the humanities. Expertise is available related to
all aspects of sustainability, including analysis, planning, design, implementation,
RCP plans to release a new Request-for-Proposal
and community application in October. For more information or to apply to be a community partner, visit http://rcp.umn.edu/home/communities/.
following is adapted from the website above.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) recently launched a two-year
Arts in Sustainable Design degree program geared towards working professionals.
The advanced-study program, which is on an online platform, is an interdisciplinary,
studio design-oriented degree that requires 36-credits of advanced study in the
fields of sustainable design, creative leadership and global innovation.
program information, the MA in sustainable design integrates the themes of
systems thinking, life-cycle analysis and biomimicry, and combines theory,
practice, and leadership courses with training and experience.
information on the program, visit the website above.
Taking shorter showers has for generations been touted as a practical strategy for reducing the use and waste of household water.
In many households (especially ones with teenagers or, in this writer's case, a teen who, unfortunately, tries to sneak-in some Zzz s while showering ), this can prove to be a challenge.
In "Showering for Glory", an amusing mockumentary with a message produced by Do the Green Thing--a not-for-profit that describes itself as "an inspiration feed of creative ideas to turn green living from something you
ought to do to something that people want to do"-- a key may be to "resurrect" the "Short Sharp Shower."
Is it possible more teens would accede to their parents' behests to cut the shower time if short showering was elevated to an Olympic event? ;>)
Just a thought...
EPA Sustainable Growth Assistance for Communities- apply by October 26, 2012.
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency invites communities to apply for technical assistance to foster
sustainable growth in their area. EPA is offering assistance through the
Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, which offers tools that
can be applied in rural, suburban, and urban areas, including:
- Smart growth and economic development to help communities get better financial
results from public and private investments;
- Green street strategies for managing polluted stormwater;
- Land use strategies to protect water quality;
- Parking audits to make the best use of parking for existing and planned land
- Bikeshare system planning to create alternative commuting options;
- Community design for aging populations to
ensure residents can live at home as long as possible;
- Green building toolkit to overcome common barriers; and
- Strategies to help small cities and rural areas develop in ways that retain
unique community characteristics.
Communities apply for assistance with
one of the specific tools and, if selected, work with an EPA-supported team of
experts on applying those tools during a two-day workshop. Along with the
policies and practices highlighted in each tool, participants will learn more
about smart growth development strategies.
EPA will select up to 44 communities
through a competitive process for this latest round of assistance. The
selections will be made in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the
Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
Applications will be accepted between
September 26 and October 26, 2012. More information and application
instructions for the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program are available
Green Partners Environmental Education Program - apply by November 16, 2012 (Seed and Root Group)
The Green Partners Program supports organizations to
actively educate and engage Hennepin County residents in making positive
environmental changes in their daily lives by:
- Inspiring individuals in their communities to
reduce waste, recycle, reduce toxicity, conserve energy and/or protect water
- Collaborating with Hennepin County and peer
organizations on environmental education;
- Connecting with free environmental resources,
trainings and networking opportunities offered by Hennepin County; and
- Engaging in a group – Seed, Root, or
Branch—that best supports their organization.
The Green Partners Program consists of three groups with
varying levels of support and requirements. Eligible organizations include
non-profit organizations, community and youth groups, multicultural
organizations, congregations, private and public schools, and park districts.
- Seed Group:
Receive free field trip transportation and activity supplies.
- Root Group: Receive up to $8,000 to implement
a project based on existing resources.
- Branch Group: Receive up to $15,000 to
implement an innovative project.
Seed Action Plans are accepted anytime.
Hennepin County anticipates announcing the Green Partners
awards by March 2013.
Walmart Foundation Local Giving Program - apply by December 1, 2012
The Walmart Foundation supports programs and initiatives addressing education, workforce development, economic sustainability, and health and wellness.
Multiple awards ranging from $250-$5,000 are available for select applicants. Nonprofit organizations, K-12 schools, church or faith based organizations, and government entities are eligible to apply.
Subaru Healthy Sprouts Award - apply by October 31, 2012
2012 Subaru Healthy Sprouts Award is aimed at supporting schools or
organizations that plan to garden with at least 15 children between the ages of
3 and 18. The selection of winners is based on the demonstrated relationship
between the garden program and education related to environmental, nutrition
and hunger issues in the United States.
are available to select schools or organizations. Each program will receive a
$400 gift certificate to the Gardening With Kids catalog; National Gardening
Association's Eat a Rainbow Kit which includes nutrition lessons and education;
and a curriculum package from the National Gardening Association.
The deadline for applying is October 31, 2012.
For more web sites of grant/loan programs, see:
See the NextStep job board http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/jobs.cfm
for a variety of organizational postings including these below, as well
as other job sites that post jobs in the field of sustainability.
Current jobs available include, among others:
Washington Conservation District: Water Resource Engineer, (open until filled)
Community Design Center of Minnesota: Garden Program Manager, (deadline October 5)
ReGo Electric Conversions: Sales and Customer Service Representative, (open until filled)
Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments: Transportation Planner, (deadline October 12)
Minnesota Waste Wise: Executive Director, (open until filled)
* 9/29 Farm Bike Tour: A Pedal-Powered Tour of 7 Northfield Farms
* 9/29 Vermillion River, National Public Lands Day Cleanup
* 10/1-10/2 Minnesota Leaders in Food and Health: 4th Annual Research Symposium
* 10/3 Future of Food: Innovations for Sustainable Food Production
* 10/4 Excess Nitrogen: A Confounding Problem for Energy Use, Food Production, the Water we Drink, the Air we Breathe
* 10/4 SolarWorks Workshop in Rosemount
* 10/4 Worm Composting During the Minnesota Winter
* 10/6 2012 Minnesota Solar Tour
* 10/6 Heritage Village Wetland Planting Event
* 10/6 Solar Bike Tour
* 10/7-10/10 International Bioenergy Days Conference
* 10/8 Build a Solar-Cell Phone Charger Class
* 10/9 Grow Solar Minneapolis Bulk Buy Presentation
* 10/13 Intro to Permaculture
* 10/16 -10/17 Minnesota Water Resources Conference
email newsletter is sent today to 3,350 sustainability professionals
and others interested in building sustainable communities, most of whom
live in Minnesota. It was prepared by staff in the Sustainable
Development Unit of the Resource Management and Assistance Division at
the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
hope that you find this information useful; please send us an e-mail at
email@example.com if you need help using the resources presented
here. (We will not receive replies sent to this e-mail message.) You
are encouraged to enter events and jobs directly onto the NextStep web
NextStep web site has an on-line directory of those who would like to
post their contact information, sustainability interests and expertise
and then subscribe to the newsletter. To add yourself to the directory,
welcome your participation there as part of the Minnesota Sustainable
Communities Network (MnSCN). The goal of MnSCN and NextStep is to
encourage networking, information exchange, and better access to
assistance. This network consists of an even mix of over 3,000
individuals, many of whom are affiliated with local governments,
non-profit organizations, businesses, and educational institutions in
Minnesota (and bordering areas) who are interested in moving toward
For further information and questions about MnSCN, see
Contact the NextStep Newsletter editors, Erin Barnes-Driscoll and Paul Moss, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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