I realize it’s been a bit since I last posted and I haven’t talked much about what I’m actually doing at MLUI, so I think an update is in order.
I’m working in the communications department at MLUI and that means that I’ve been writing articles, helping with publicity, social media, the website, and other random tasks. It’s cool because it means that I get to work in all of the different program areas (Food & Farming, Clean Energy, Thriving Communities). I’m learning how all of the different program areas function and I get to know a lot about all of the various projects and policy instead of focusing on just one of the topics.
It’s been interesting to be a part of an organization like this for the first time and learn more about the day-to-day functioning. I get to hear about all of the fundraising and membership challenges, learn about the public outreach campaign, and research the various projects. I’ve been sitting in on a lot of meetings and get to experience how that works – how an organization makes decisions and comes to consensus and how complicated everything is.
I think that the best way to describe a bit more of what I’ve been doing is to provide some links to all of the articles that I’ve written so far and a bit of a summary of each.
First, I’ve been writing blog posts about my own transportation in Traverse City as I don’t have a car and have been trying out various modes of transportation. I have three posts that fit into this category so far: an introduction post, a bike trip to Suttons Bay, and a bus/bike trip to Glen Arbor and the dunes.
Continuing on the theme of transportation, I wrote an article advocating for a survey that is currently being conducted about transportation in Traverse City and encouraging people to get involved.
Within the program area of Food & Farming, I’ve only produced one article (about School Garden Week), which I linked to before, but can be found here if you’re interested. Currently we’re working on putting together a final report about GetFarming! (a program that has sponsored workshops to train farmers, primarily in the business, marketing, and financial aspects of their work), as the leader of the program retires and we pass the program off to other organizations. I’m working on the more personal side of the report with a profile about the retiring organizer and a piece about a few farmers that have really benefitted from the program.
Finally, for the Clean Energy program I have been working on an article that has needed a lot of research, collaboration, and time. It’s about the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score program, which basically puts an MPG rating on homes, and can be found here.
Other projects in the works are an article about local currency, which will also take a lot of time and research, continuing the farmer profiles and my personal transportation posts, and choosing some new topics to begin.
In general Traverse City news, the National Cherry Festival begins tomorrow, which means that there will be nearly half a million people descending to enjoy the week-long festivities with a carnival, music, food, pie-eating and cherry pit-spitting contests, and much more. Talking to people about the festival it is definitely different than I imagined it would be before arriving. We’re still many weeks away from having local cherries available, but the festival is hosted now in an attempt to overlap with Fourth of July tourism and it doesn’t have as much of a local focus as I imagined it would. I was imagining a small-town festival with a focus on local foods and farmers with local cherries present in every form, but I’m positive that it’s going to be nothing like that. I’ll report back with some actual findings if I survive the whole week.