Greetings from Detroit.

After months of looking through applications, we finally ended up with 20 participants for our summer Green Economy Leadership Training program in Highland Park, Michigan. We are in the middle of our second week of the program, but let’s re-cap what took place in our first week.

After going through basic orientations for the program, participants were eager to get started and get to work in the community.  They dove in and got to work planting the “GELT” garden which is 20 x 40 space being used to grow food to sustain the participants over the course of the summer.

We did some site visits to local urban farms and started our permaculture trainings. Participants have been split into 4 “green industry” teams so that they can gain a deeper expertise in a particular field of the green economy. The 4 teams are – solar, energy efficiency, urban agriculture, and waste re-purposing/deconstruction.

Over the course of the summer each team will be implementing a project in their respective field. Each team has been paired with a staff member or volunteer of the program to receive mentor-ship in their respective field. More to come on these projects and the work of the GELTers.

As I write this, they are rebuilding the tire dragon playground from last year with a group of neighborhood kids pitching in. We have slowly been turning Candler Street in Highland Park, where the GELT program has been based for the past couple of years, into a sort of campus for the training program. Some friends of ours who own 28 units of apartments down the street from us have offered up free housing for all our participants in exchange for the participants helping to fix up the “slightly” dilapidated units.

We are hosting most of the trainings and meals for the program in the basement of the auditorium of St. Benedict’s Church, which is also located on Candler. The space was donated to us to use for the summer – also in exchange for fixing up the space.

We are really excited to watch the third year of GELT really come together and are inspired by all the participants who are taking part and working together with the Highland Park community. Look out for blog posts on the evolution of the program over the course of the summer.

If you’d like to help support this program, please consider making a donation.