As of October 2012, Creating the Alternative has been utilizing the SolTrekker to highlight communal actions that have a positive impact on our dysfunctional environmental and social systems. Please read below about their mission and watch their latest video.
Creating the Alternative is a movement of diverse individuals that are working locally to impact globally. We feel it is necessary to have a place to learn from all the amazing efforts taking place. So we've embarked on a journey seeking out communal alternatives to share with everyone in hope of spreading change. The goal is free inspiration and information for ALL.
About the Tour:
This tour was born out of our desire to design a regenerative lifestyle; a way of living that goes beyond sustaining our environment and strives to thrive. Therefore, we found a vehicle that was inline with our value system and expanded on it to make it even more regenerative. As of November, The SolTrekker now runs on wasted vegetable oil and hydrogen in addition to being equipped with solar electricity, rainwater catchment and compost toilet.
We travel to alternative living institutes, universities, ecovillages, permaculture centers, social justice non-profits, backyard initiatives... well really anywhere that is creating a regenerative future.
We hope that you will also take part in our mission by sharing your vision, triumphs, and struggles on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/CreatingTheAlternative.
Let us begin to repair our world together! Cheers.
Spring Events Underway
The SolTrekker renewable energy bus team continues to book events at a record pace. Spring events have included the John Muir Event, Einstein School and Carlsbad School in San Diego, the Better Living Show and several school visits in Portland, the Oregon Governor's Lunch (where we shared the stage with Governor Kitzhaber) and the Renewable Energy Fair in Seattle. We're on pace to hit 105 events during our first year of partnership with the Green Living Project! Thanks team!
2011 -- Year in Review
The future has certainly looked dicey for a lot of non-profit and for-profits over the last few years and it was no exception for us here at SolTrekker, but in 2011 we found ourselves on somewhat more solid financial footing and, with the help of our many partners, we managed to provide even more renewable education and employment services than we ever have before!
Let's start with our first project: the SolTrekker renewable energy bus. With our newest partners, (the Green Living Project), at the helm, we teamed up for 59 educational events in 2011, a new record! From Portland to Chicago to New York to Boston, from college quads, to all-school assemblies and several large festivals, it felt like we were able to spread our renewable energy presentation everywhere! Highlights included presentations at the Sauvie Island Center, the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA and the North Carolina Science Teachers Conference in Greensboro, NC.
We know it hasn't all been easy for our traveling team (they were mugged at gunpoint in Chicago and had more equipment stolen in Portland) so we'd like to especially acknowledge their performance.
As for our other major project, the Solar Waffle Works, we also have partnerships to thank for its continued success and growth. While we are just into the black on the financial side of things with the SWW (could be worse!), in terms of training and employment, it continues to have smashing success. In 2011 (with partners Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Portland Public Schools Community Transition, Port City Development Center and On-the-Move Community Integration) the SWW has served as an in-depth job training site for more than 20 individuals who need the help the most. We are currently working to add more production, marketing and outreach components to this project to make sure we continue to improve! Thanks to everyone involved in the SWW for a great year. We look forward to seeing all of you in 2012!
SolTrekker partners with Green Living Project
We are pleased to announce a new partner in our mission to provide renewable energy education to students in Portland schools and to people around the country. Beginning on June 15, we are moving forward in mobile education with The Green Living Project (GLP), a media production, marketing and entertainment company that showcases sustainability initiatives around the world.
The GLP was looking for a renewably powered motorhome to use in their mobile education tour, and after discussing the possibilities with their director Rob Holmes and event coordinator Jason Esler, we agreed that, with so many similarities in our missions, a partnership would be a good idea. So, for the next year, the GLP and SolTrekker will team up to host renewable energy events in Portland and around the country. Their knowledgeable and enthusiastic mobile education team, Davi and Evan, will spend six weeks in Portland coordinating joint events before taking the tour nation wide.
We are looking forward to this exciting new partnership and hope you'll have the opportunity to check out the GLP/SolTrekker tour if it passes near your hood!
Snowbird RV Show
Before we fully launch into our educational programs this fall, we are preparing for one last summer trip. SolTrekker founder Ty Adams has been asked by the Snowbird RV Show outside of Vancouver, British Columbia to attend the show as a speaker on the topic of sustainability regarding recreational vehicles and avenues toward greater sustainability for individuals and businesses. Ty will also be unveiling the latest SolTrekker "green" vehicle, which will showcase the best technology available in creating a truly "green" vehicle. The SolTrekker educational RV will be on display at the show from September 23 through September 26. We're excited to participate, especially considering that the show donates net proceeds to charity. For more information, have a look at the Snowbird RV Show website.
Summer Rental and the Global Arc
As some of you may know, we offer the SolTrekker renewable energy RV for rent during non-school days/months in order to help pay for our free educational programs. So we are very excited to be renting the RV to a like-minded non-profit for most of the 2010 summer. This rental will go a long way toward supporting our educational programs into the 2011 school year, and it's putting the RV to a unique use. The renting non-profit, Global Arc out of San Diego, California, will be using the RV as a follow along vehicle for their mostly bicycle-powered research tour down the entire West Coast, from Vancouver B.C. to Tijuana, Mexico. The mission of the Global Arc (Global Action Research Center) is to share, grow, and scale up sustainability solutions—locally and globally—to eradicate root causes of poverty, environmental degradation and unhealthy living conditions. They are very interested in connecting established educational institutions with small to mid-size non-profits working toward greater sustainability. It has been a pleasure to spend some time with Global Arc founder Keith Pezolli and his wife Janice and we wish them the best in their journey! For more information, have a look at the Global Arc website.
Hanging In There!
Thanks to an amazing community of supporters who contributed $2,500 in one month, we reached our fundraising goal at the end of May and have been able to purchase vehicle and organizational insurance for another year of operation! We are filled with gratitude at the generosity of our friends and neighbors, and are extremely excited and relieved to be able to continue our operations with the SolTrekker renewable energy bus for now. We will do our best to keep it rolling into the future!
In other good financial news, we made our first dollar of true operating profit on the Solar Waffle Works in April and the trend held through May, with June looking strong as well. While this little vocational training operation might not be creating any millionaires (or even thousandaires) it is beginning to reach a self-sustaining level on the financial front. The Portland Public Schools' side of the SWW was a success as well, with several students using the training as a springboard to community college or their first jobs! Thanks again for all of your support!
SolTrekker Donations Down
While 2010 has been a good year for our programs, it's been a tough year for giving. Here at SolTrekker, both our individual donations and our grant awards are down dramatically since the end of 2009. In order to avoid the difficult decision of selling equipment assets to pay expenses, we are beginning a fundraiser drive to seek an average $10 donation from each of our contacts, which, if we succeed, will allow us another full year of operation without selling any of the assets we've worked so hard to build. If you are able to spare $10 or $20 and you believe in our programs, please make a donation today.
Checks can be made payable to SolTrekker and sent to 1912 NE Killingsworth Street, Portland, OR, or online donations can be made by clicking the button on the right. Thanks very much for your support.
Oregon Tradeswomen and a New Awning
We were excited to work with Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. recently, a great local business that works to promote the success of women in trades. The Solar Waffle Works has been in need of a permanent awning for some time, especially given the nature of Oregon weather, and OTI provided us with free labor to build one. It's a part of their apprenticeship program that trades local non-profits free labor for the opportunity to train the women in their programs. Our thanks to OTI for the awning!
Why Did the Waffle Cart Cross the Road?
In an effort to reduce rent and increase visibility, the Solar Waffle Works has moved across the street in Northeast Portland, joining a burgeoning new cart community known as Area 23. The new address is 2314 NE Alberta Street. If you're ever in the neighborhood, come on by and say hello!
Mt. Scott Academy
Happy Winter Solstice! We are looking forward to the slow return of longer days and more sun, and taking time to reflect on 2009, which has been one eventful year at SolTrekker. This year was our first fill year after finishing the renewable energy bus retrofit in 2008, and we brought free environmental and renewable energy education to over 600 students in the Portland area.
In addition, we took on a new partnership project, the Solar Waffle Works student-run business, which is hanging in there during the slow winter after a great start in the fall. We are looking forward to better business as the weather improves and can't say how much we appreciate all the community support in making this project successful. Special thanks to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Felix Kersting and Corinne Thomas-Kersting, Allison Hintzmann, the awesome CTP para-educators Adam and Tamarind and all the volunteers who helped out.
We finished up the year with presentations and tours to the student body of Mt. Scott High School last week (Mt. Scott students pictured). They had some great, challenging questions regarding sustainability and climate change and we're excited to continue the conversation with them and their peers in other schools in 2010.
Looking forward, we are excited as plans come together for our 2010 Solar Generator Project. With this project, we will bring plans and materials for mobile solar generators to middle school and high school science classrooms, where the students will learn how to put them together as well as the science behind their function. The generators, capable of powering a small office, will be left with the classrooms.
We can especially use your support at the end of the year, so please click here to make a tax-deductible donation.
Thanks for your support and have a wonderful holiday season!
What an amazing opening day for the Solar Waffle Works! We were all a little nervous after the previous day's downpour, but we awoke on Saturday to blue skies and one of the most amazing, sunny fall days Portland has seen so far -- perfect for solar! The turnout was great and people were wonderful, patiently waiting in the long line for fresh-baked waffles. Several news stations turned up to cover the event and it was truly a magical moment when local supergroup TapWater came down the block playing samba drums, leading a crowd of onlookers to our cart lot and then playing a full set.
The CTP students stepped up and really did a great job, whether that meant working the cash register, food prep or doing some awesome (and hilarious) advertising by wearing the dancing waffle costume. Thanks for being brave and getting out there.
We can't say "thank you" enough to all the people who helped make this happen, but to those who have helped us along the way, we are extremely grateful.
There is still quite a bit of work to do before this is a well-oiled solar machine, but we have a great start and are looking forward to more fun days. We are currently seeking local Portlanders to help volunteer for a shift or two in the kitchen, so please contact us if that seems appealing. And, as always, donations are extremely appreciated, especially at this start-up time when we have many bills and not a huge amount of income just yet.
Oh, the day has finally arrived! The Solar Waffle Works cart is constructed and positioned at it's final destination on NE Alberta Street and 23rd in Portland. Many, many thanks to all those who helped out getting us to this point. The students are excited, the CTP staff is excited and we're all excited. Now it's time to make some good food! After a year of planning and several months of building, this project is ready to launch! Our schedule is to quietly open the week of October 12 and work out the kinks, with a grand opening scheduled for October 24. Tell your friends!