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The Minnesota Project Honored for Innovative Environmental Project

May 28, 2014

The Minnesota Project, along with their partners, has been selected as a winner for their Fruits of the City project in the Food Stewardship category for the 20th Annual Environmental Initiative Awards. This program annually honors innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary environmental results by harnessing the power of partnership. Winners were announced at the Environmental Initiative Awards celebration on Thursday, May 22, in Minneapolis.

EI-Awards-FoodStewardshipGroup- Credit photographer Megan Dobratz from studio Tart

Photo courtesy of Megan Dobratz with studio Tart

The Fruits of the City program addresses the lack of access to fresh, healthy fruit for the economically disenfranchised by coordinating teams of volunteers and fruit tree owners to deliver thousands of pounds of fresh fruit to local food shelves and food banks.  This program has harvested and delivered over 230,000 pounds of fruit to over 30 area food shelves since 2009.

“The Minnesota Project and their partners have worked together on a project that is creating a better environment for all Minnesotans,” said Mike Harley, executive director of Environmental Initiative.  “We are grateful for their passion and support of our belief that by working together, we can achieve great things.”

“We are honored to have been selected and recognized for this great community effort.” Says David Glenn who serves as executive director for The Minnesota Project.  “It is a project that brings together efforts of individuals as volunteers and tree owners, farmers as giving orchard owners, corporate sponsors and group volunteer coordinators, food shelves and food banks as food distributors.  All parties react swiftly to food availability and assist in getting this fresh food source to those in need in a timely manner” says Glenn.

“With the help of over 500 volunteers in 2013, the program collected and donated a record 128,000 pounds of fruit that was shared with hungry families throughout the region”  notes Jared Walhowe, coordinator of the Fruits of the City program.  “None of this would be possible without the generosity of our registered fruit tree owners, our supporters and our dedicated volunteers who join us for harvesting events.”

Fruit tree owners and volunteers can learn more about how to participate in the Fruits of the City program at www.fruitsofthecity.org or by contacting the program directly at fruits@mnproject.org or 651-789-3321.

The Minnesota Project was also nominated in the Energy and Climate category at this year’s Environmental Initiative Awards for their work to retrofit 16 Minnesota poultry facilities with LED lighting technology –reducing energy consumption by approximately 70% with simple paybacks for farmers of 3 years or less.  “The Minnesota Project was especially honored this year to have been nominated as a finalist in two categories, and amongst such a great cadre of exciting projects” said Glenn.  “Our work demonstrates the interconnectedness of energy, food and agriculture – the platforms The Minnesota Project focuses its work.”

About the Awards

The Environmental Initiative Awards was established to honor those working in partnership and encourage collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving. From large statewide efforts to small-scale locally based projects, many of Minnesota’s most innovative environmental efforts have succeeded as a result of collaboration. The program annually honors innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary environmental results by working in partnership.

About Environmental Initiative

Environmental Initiative is a nonprofit organization that builds partnerships to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems. Environmental Initiative brings together leaders from nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies to find consensus on critical issues and respond with actions that have measurable, positive environmental outcomes.

About The Minnesota Project

The Minnesota Project is a nonprofit organization championing the sustainable production and equitable distribution of energy and food in communities across Minnesota. To best address the multiple factors that define sustainability, the organization focuses on three areas – the development and efficient use of clean renewable energy, promotion of sustainable agriculture practices and production, and consumption of local, sustainably grown food. Founded more than 30 years ago, today the organization works toward establishing a sustainable Minnesota by 2039 through policy research, education and outreach, as well as developing key ground-up, grassroots initiatives targeted at empowering communities and their leaders. www.mnproject.org.

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