IDEAS for Us and Orlando City’s Sustainability Initiatives
IDEAS For Us and the City of Orlando endeavor together towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Generating jobs and prosperity without putting considerable strain upon the land and its resources can be a difficult task for many cities. However, with the leadership of Mayor Buddy Dyer and Chris Castro, the Director of Sustainability for Orlando and also the President of IDEAS For Us, Orlando is effectively pursuing the triple bottom line of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental solutions.
This past year, the City of Orlando has passed its first energy ordinance, created a chapter of sustainability in the city’s code, created its first energy benchmark and reporting program, and has begun to test electric buses. Orlando is presently the most sustainable city in the southeast United States and has committed to being 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The city continues to pursue sustainability through a multitude of programs such as solar farms, green building technology, recycling initiatives, and the IDEAS For Us program, Fleet Farming.
Fleet Farming is a bike pedaled urban agriculture program. Underutilized lawn spaces in urban settings are transformed to grow organic produce and increase community access to hyper local food systems. Fleet Farming is an indispensible asset to the City of
Orlando and its sustainability initiatives for a myriad of reasons. Lawns generate a slew of environmental degradation issues from pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and excessive water use. The transformation of traditional lawns in organic farmlettes drastically reduces these negative environmental practices. Fleet Farming is also responsible for providing local produce to the communities it resides in through farmers markets. Fleet recently introduced a program branch in the neighborhood Parramore. Although Parramore is adjacent to downtown Orlando, it is the city’s largest food desert. With a $250,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, the City of Orlando will be creating 10-15 Fleet Farming farmlettes, a farmer’s market at Orlando City Soccer Club’s new stadium, and partnering with Hebni Nutrition to teach residents about healthy eating and cooking, all in the neighborhood of Parramore.
Another IDEAS for Us program is the Hive, which not only advances United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 (“take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”), but highlights a Sustainable Development Goal each month at a monthly community think/do tank. At these meetings, industry experts lead conversations about local challenges and the ideation of solutions, which are then acted upon by those volunteering with the Hive on it’s monthly day of action – the Umuganda. Fleet Farming is one program that was developed from the Orlando Hive. Informed action begins with awareness, and although there are international Hives at locations where IDEAS for Us has a presence or branch, the Hive Orlando is working on spreading it’s model to other communities within Orlando to bring awareness to our collective global challenges and our potential to take collective local action.
The City of Orlando and IDEAS For Us are dedicated to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Orlando through their continued programs and advocacy. The work of these two institutions will go on to make advances for people,
the planet, and for prosperity. Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, Ken Laroe (Founder of First Green Bank), and the IDEAS For Us team will be highlighting all of this and more at the Vision Brunch Fundraiser benefiting IDEAS For Us on Tuesday, November 28th.