Gaining momentum through community engagement

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LR Summer of Solutions hosted a booth on 12th Street to sign up residents for free home energy assessments.

By: Kara King
Location: Little Rock

The Little Rock Summer of Solutions team is officially half way through our 8 week program and our projects are really beginning to take off! We began the week by tending to the 12th and Oak garden. When I stepped into the garden this week after being away for over a week, I was blown away by the appearance of our garden! Despite some failed attempts in some of our beds and having to uproot some of the seasonal plants, the rest of the garden is flourishing. Our sunflowers are the height of most average adults and our tomatoes are constantly producing fruit! We continue to expand our garden by clearing new beds and planting new seeds. Continue reading

A busy third week in Little Rock

By: Ashley Burton
Location: Little Rock
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This week has been very exciting for the Little Rock Summer of Solutions team! We started off the week with maintaining our garden and creating plans for achieving our goals! Through learning about ourselves through character tests we also gained the opportunity to better understand our team.

Tuesday we began another day of gardening, greeting community members, and furthering our entrepreneurship training! During this time, our team members Rebecca and Darryl furthered their weatherizing skills at Pulaski Tech. They passed their final test too and gained a wonderful certificate!

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Mind mapping for social entrepreneurship

By Merrill Schmidt
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

We just finished the second week of Little Rock Summer of Solutions, and there’s a lot going on! We’ve been gardening, attending trainings, planning our summer projects, cooking community meals, and connecting with different organizations. Even though launch week is over, we’re still learning lots of new information—how to weatherize a house, how to lead a cooking class, how to start a business. In order to prepare for the rest of summer, we formed committees for planning specific programs, such as garden management and community dinners.

So far, I’ve particularly enjoyed our entrepreneurship workshops with Matt Hampton of Elevate Entrepreneurship Systems. Through weekly workshops, Matt is helping us develop social enterprises. Last week we learned about business modeling. Matt explained that there are four fundamentals of business: human resources, marketing, operations, and finances. First we practiced business modeling using Starbucks as an example. We mapped out how Starbucks carefully manages its operations, human resources, and marketing to create a cool coffeehouse environment. With its trendy vibe, Starbucks is able to sell $5 cups of coffee and bring in revenue.Image

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Environmental justice is a right, not a choice!

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Written by Katherine Dennis, a Nashville native and the Little Rock SoS Garden Manager!

This past week has been our orientation & training week for the Little Rock Summer of Solutions team. We have gone through a myriad of trainings including community organizing, conflict resolution, and social entrepreneurship.

One of the most meaningful trainings in which we participated was focused around environmental justice. I have studied this topic academically, and I understand what it generally means: how the environmental and people interact, and is it just. That is a really naive definition, and so I googled it to find out a little more about what it means. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental justice is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” Okay, this is another academic definition, and I’m going to try and break it down a bit. Are people being treated fairly, regardless of their income, race, etc., in terms of the development and policies that are affecting them? I can think of national examples: The Exxon oil spill in Mayflower, AR on March 29, 2013 that killed flora and fauna. Another example are the oil operations in Niger that have spilled oil slowly over the past twenty years, thus, destroying their precious ecosystems. I understand environmental justice on the global scale, but how does it affect singular neighborhoods in the US?

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