Community-Based Good News!!

This is a plethora of Great Ideas in one.

A few weeks ago my spouse and I had the joy of attending a fundraiser event for the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute’s Urban Farm.

This is an incredible vision, an expansive hope, and already a model for community revitalization, social and racial equity, and economic and environmental sustainability on a global scale.

And it’s happening.

Here in Minneapolis, MN.

For over ten years racially, economically, and socially diverse members of the East Phillips Neighborhood have been striving to purchase the sprawling Roof Depot warehouse and the right to develop it as neighborhood residents determined.

This is an exercise in local self-determination with extraordinary ramifications for the neighborhood, the city, the state, the nation, and the world.

It is the result of beautiful relationships, powerful collaboration, and deep commitment.

The East Phillips Institute’s Urban Farm plans include:

  • affordable housing
  • an indoor farm
  • solar energy & geothermal heat
  • youth development
  • skills & job training centers
  • a community kitchen
  • services for the unhoused
  • a creative arts studios
  • local vendors
  • economic empowerment for the community
  • and more

It is a potent multiplex of Great Ideas:

  • Relationships: Relationships are central to the ultimate success of this project – though ‘project’ is hardly an apt descriptor of the vision and scale of this undertaking – relationships between neighborhood members, organizers, visionaries, leaders, government agencies and representatives, local business owners, funders, unions, and more. These networks of relationships are becoming more and more essential for congregational vitality.
  • Economic/Financial Model: The funding strategies (which include faith-based reparations) and ownership structure are brilliant in their focus on building neighborhood-wide economic returns. The Urban Farm will benefit neighborhood members in many ways, including direct financial gains through ownership.
  • Environmental: Between the multi-acre rooftop solar array and becoming a geothermal hub for the neighborhood, the Urban Farm will transform power and heating consumption – and the neighborhood’s collective environmental footprint. Selling power to power companies supplements resident’s financial returns.
  • Spiritual & Social: Every part of this undertaking reflects the Way of Jesus. So many of these goals and aspirations are shared by congregations – because the vision of equity, sustainability, partnership, belonging, and stability are central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Might congregations be inspired by the Urban Farm?

Does some part of this vision resonate with your local needs, interests, and dreams?

What might congregations learn from the leaders and processes of this project?

Are there congregations who might like to support EPNI’s work and through a partnership empower their own community vision?

Discover the scope of the vision, the diverse stories behind it, and the hopes it may fulfill here.

Contact The Ministry Lab for free consultations on deepening congregational and communal relationships, developing neighborhood partnerships/relationships, generating transformational visions, and enacting your own community-based Good News!