- Bulk purchase program for home insulation – reduces heating and cooling costs by insulating homes from the elements:
- Bulk purchase program for solar-electric panels (Grow Solar) – The first steps to producing clean, local energy:
- Weatherization work parties – Getting neighbors together for a fun work party preparing their homes for winter:
- For those interested in solar hot water of solar air heat, we promote the Make Mine Solar bulk-buying program run by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society:
Beyond creating the outreach materials and lining up the contract, it’s been all about outreach. We’ve hit the farmers markets (22 scheduled by mid October), attended community events, got in City Council and neighborhood newsletters, and gone door to door to meet and talk with folks in our neighborhood. We even had 14 of us going around to over 30 National Night Out events (an August 7th block party day that has several thousand local block parties in Minneapolis) letting people know about ways to get involved. As these neighbors are going about shopping for local produce, meeting, and having fun, some have stopped for information, others have gotten excited to tell their friends, and some have been simply overjoyed to learn what we’re doing.
The most exciting thing for me about this is the process of linking people-to-people community outreach with the process of growing a thriving business. As we line up the contracts, I can see the seeds of long-term employment positions for neighborhood residents in the revenue flows we are building even as we help folks save money. At the same time, the inspiration and excitement I hear from more and more neighbors as we present what we’re doing is infectious. I’ve been dedicated to making this dream a reality for over four years now, and at times it has been slow going, but I’m starting to see a wave of community support that is building CEF into a success.
As we leave the summer and head towards Fall, I look forward to seeing the cooperative growing, one neighbor at a time.