eco experience

Get a grant to educate about sustainable communities at the State Fair!

The Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Division has developed a small grant program to promote clean energy education at the Energy Exhibit in the Eco Experience at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair.

12 grants of up to $2,500 each will be awarded and are designed to be used for expenses to plan, develop, and create Clean Energy Community educational messages, displays, and materials and to provide one day of staffing at the exhibit during the State Fair.

The grant program is intended to support participation in an educational initiative that showcases the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, addresses climate issues, and empowers, inspires, and motivates a new generation of energy leaders—of all ages and backgrounds—in communities around Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Commerce

What has your experience been so far working with communities at the fair? What was the value for them?

At the 2018 Eco Experience Energy Exhibit, Commerce partnered with GreenStep Cities and other organizations to deliver messages about clean energy community actions. Representatives from several Minnesota communities engaged fairgoers in discussions regarding actions they have taken to reach their own clean energy goals. Projects included community solar installations, public building benchmarking and retrofitting, comprehensive planning, promoting residential and business energy savings, and energy savings performance contracting projects. With over 250,000 visitors over the 12 days of the fair, there were a lot of opportunities for fairgoers to learn how their communities could set and reach their own clean energy goals!

For the 2019 Energy Exhibit, Commerce is seeking to greatly expand the scope of the display and educational messaging. We are showcasing the efforts of 12 communities (one each day) and providing a platform for representatives/partners from the selected communities to share their successes with fair attendees. This is a chance for communities to promote their clean energy efforts, both to their local constituents and to the entire state.

Recognizing that many communities have limited resources, we have put together a grant program to help support the educational outreach efforts. Awards of up to $2,500 per community will offset some of the costs associated with developing messaging and staffing at the fair. Additionally, Commerce will be providing infrastructure and installation, signage and collateral design/production, additional displays, training for staff, and other support—including consultations with communities throughout the process.

2018 community participants

What kind of support will grantees receive?

Sharing your community’s success stories at the State Fair may feel daunting to some. We have developed a process and ongoing support to help communities deliver their clean energy project messages. With guidance from Commerce and GreenStep Cities, grantees will be able to implement:

  1. Planning. Select the projects they want to feature and identify the key messages for each project.
  2. Communications. Compile the key project messages into visual and written pieces that will be used to create displays and collateral materials for viewing and distribution at the fair.
  3. Staff training. Commerce will provide several staff training options, including written documents, an online video, and pre-fair tours of the exhibit. Topics covered will include everything from fair logistics to public engagement tips.
  4. Consultants. Additionally, grant funds can be used to contract with planners, writers, photographers, or others to assist in developing and implementing the goals of the project.

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