My name is Michele Parenti and I am an intern for The Office for Resource Efficiency out of Gunnison, CO. The Office for Resource Efficiency (ORE) is a nonprofit organization whose main object is to empower Gunnison County to be more sustainable. ORE does this through energy programs, outreach and education, and Local Farms First an online farmers market. ORE has helped 10% of Gunnison County households, over 70 local businesses and over 30 local contractors to reduce energy usage through Energy Smart programs. Energy smart focuses on renewable energies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Local Farms First serves over 50 local farmers with one contingency- the food must be fresh and chemical free. Local foods is one of Gunnison Valleys greatest challenges; Gunnison has an average of a 52 day growing season which makes it so challenging to produce food for an entire community especially year round. Local Farms First connects farmers from other mountain towns that have longer growing seasons, places such as Grand Junction, Salida, and Paonia.
My position as an intern is to help the communications director with public outreach. Thus far I have signed ORE up to 12 local events this summer to set up a booth to spread the word about ORE and increase their member size. Non-profits rely heavily on grants, gifts, and members. There are twelve board members for ORE, 4 managers, and a number of energy advisors who assist the homeowner with information, rebates, and financing programs. I think that OREs two main projects are essential for building a sustainable local culture. If I were to add anything to this organization it would to inform the public more about water conservation in the Gunnison Valley and maybe make a Water Smart program included in the house assessment with energy.