Issue Areas

We divide community work into 5 overarching issue areas and over 58 specific community projects.
Learn more about the various project types below.
Check out specific examples by using the issue filter on our Group Map

Climate Change & Energy

minimizing community carbon footprints.

  • Carbon/Energy challenges

    challenging and empowering neighbors to save energy in their homes. Challenges often involve an element of competition where neighborhoods or towns challenge each other to save the most energy/reduce the most carbon output.

  • Climate resilience/Adaptation

    preparing for or dealing with the impacts of climate change (as opposed to mitigation which focuses on preventing the impacts).

  • Community shared solar

    creating solar electric systems that provide power and/or financial benefits to multiple community members.

  • Commuter campaigns

    increasing carpooling through efforts like ride-share, car-share or public transit support.

  • Cooperative ownership

    creating community or member-owned clean energy products and services, businesses and jobs.

  • Electric vehicles/Charging stations

    educating around and creating community-based electric vehicle charging stations.

  • Energy audits

    identifying how energy efficient buildings are, and then prioritizing those improvements that promise the most return on investment.

  • Energy barnraisers

    weatherizing a house or community building, making it more energy-efficient and/or installing small-scale renewable energy systems, by bringing together volunteers and organizing workdays to collectively implement changes.

  • Energy efficiency/Weatherization

    protecting buildings and their interior from the elements and modifying a building to reduce energy consumption.

  • Greenhouse gas/energy inventories

    measuring the amount of greenhouse gases discharged into the atmosphere - originating from all source categories in a certain geographical area and within a specified time span, usually a specific year - to help inform priorities for energy planning. Or conducting an inventory of energy consumption for a building or set of buildings using specifically designed software and setting a reference year.

  • No idling

    raising awareness about and reducing pollution from idling vehicles.

  • Renewable energy

    supporting or creating appropriately scaled (distributed) energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale.

  • Renewable energy siting outreach

    raising awareness around the impacts, positive or negative, of siting energy generation.

  • Residential solar/group purchasing campaigns

    assisting individual home-owners or a group of individuals with the process of purchasing and installing solar panels for residential use.

  • Walk/Bike campaigns

    encouraging and increasing walking and biking as forms of transportation.

  • Other energy

    creative approaches to reducing community carbon footprints that don't fit any of the other Energy categories.

  • Examples of local energy projects

    Visit our Grantee map and use the Issue Area filter to see examples of all energy-related efforts.


creating a resilient, healthy, safe and equitable regional food system through local food efforts.

  • Community farms

    growing food on a larger scale while serving the needs and desires of the public. A community farm is open to participation and enjoyment by anyone in the community, and experienced farmers handle farm management decisions about what to grow and when to harvest. Volunteers often manage the public programs - donations to food pantries, education and volunteering.

  • Community gardens

    managing a piece of land to be gardened collectively by a group of people. Individuals can often rent small plots of land for personal use or a garden can be worked collectively with the harvest shared by all participants.

  • Community composting

    collecting and composting organic materials, promoting home composting and supporting professional haulers managing larger-scale composting facilities.

  • Community supported agriculture

    bringing together individuals who have pledged to provide upfront (financial) support to one or more local farms, so that growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production.

  • Community supported fisheries

    promoting a positive relationship between fishermen, consumers, and the ocean by providing high-quality, locally caught seafood to members, who are offered weekly shares of fresh seafood for a pre-paid membership fee.

  • Eat Local guides

    researching and publishing (often free) online or paper-based guides to finding local, sustainable, organic food within a specific region.

  • Farmers’ markets

    creating physical or online retail markets featuring foods sold directly by farmers to consumers.

  • Farm-to-School

    working with schools and communities to raise awareness about healthy food, good nutrition, and the role of farms and farmers by paying attention to the three C's: Cafeteria, Classroom, Community.

  • Food coops

    launching member-owned and democratically governed community grocery stores.

  • Food councils

    examining the operation of a local food system and providing ideas and recommendations for improvement, often through public policy change.

  • Food shelves

    distributing food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger.

  • Gleaning

    organizing volunteers and managing farmer relations to collect leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.

  • Grow-a-row

    planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce, often from community and home gardens.

  • Localvore challenge

    inspiring awareness and action to eat locally and organically through events and activities in a specific time period.

  • Permaculture

    developing self-maintained agricultural ecosystems, modeled from natural ecosystems, intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

  • School Garden

    designing, installing and sustaining school gardens that are used for hands-on learning and to cultivate a deeper connection to nature.

  • Supply/Demand coordination

    researching farmer supply and consumer demand, facilitating and coordinating matchmaking opportunities to broaden local markets.

  • Other food

    creative approaches to creating a resilient, healthy, safe and equitable regional food system through local food efforts that don't fit any of the other Food categories.

Environmental Health

preventing and eliminating toxic pollution.

  • Air pollution

    preventing and eliminating the introduction of harmful chemicals, odors, particulates, or other materials into the atmosphere.

  • Hazardous waste

    preventing and eliminating waste, chemical and toxic pollutants, that pose substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment.

  • Herbicides/Pesticides

    preventing and eliminating the use of substances meant for attracting, seducing, destroying or mitigating any weeds or pests.

  • Incinerators

    raising conerns around the health impacts of, and when necessary challenging, the siting of waste treatment facilities that involve the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials.

  • Landfills

    raising concerns around the health impacts of, and when necessary challenging, the siting of a facility for the disposal of waste materials by burial.

  • Power plants

    raising concerns around the health impacts of, and when necessary challenging, the siting of industrial facilities for the generation of electric power.

  • Other health

    creative approaches to prevent and eliminate toxic pollution that don't fit any of the other Environmental Health categories.

Land & Water

balancing built environment, working landscape and wilderness.

  • Anti sprawl/Big box

    raising concerns around auto-oriented, low-density development and the siting of physically large retail establishments that often reduce walk/bikability and damage local economies.

  • Community forest/Sustainable forestry

    establishing forestry management practices where the local community plays a significant role in forest management and land use decision-making.

  • Green infrastructure

  • Green space

    ensuring the establishment and maintenance of open space areas for parks, natural areas, and other recreational areas.

  • Groundwater

    raising awareness, monitoring and protecting the quantity and quality of a community's groundwater resources as a common good.

  • Land conservation

    preserving, restoring and preventing the deterioration of land as a natural resource.

  • Recreational trails

    establishing and maintaining public paths for recreational use.

  • Smart growth

    advocating compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use and concentrating growth in compact (urban) centers to avoid sprawl.

  • Surface water

    monitoring and maintaining the physical and biological characteristics of water.

  • Wildlife

    protecting and monitoring non-domesticated animal species, sometimes including plants, fungi and other organisms.

  • Other land & water

    creative approaches to balance built environment, working landscape and wilderness that don't fit any of the other Land & Water categories.

Living Economies

inspiring behavior change towards conscious and ecological living.

  • Buy local

    valuing, encouraging & supporting locally owned & community-based enterprise.

  • Community Loan Funds

    establishing alternative financing models and local investment opportunities.

  • Community resource/Sustainability centers

    providing space for shared community use.

  • Community Swaps

    organizing give-away/exchange events, bartering everything from homemade products, art, clothing to professional services.

  • Film/Speaker Series/Study circles

    raising awareness and inspiring behavior change towards a lower ecological footprint through community discussion events, documentaries or live speaker engagements.

  • Emergency Preparedness

    working together and engaging in sustainable, community-building activities, to meet basic needs in preparation of a (natural) disaster.

  • Local Currencies

    establishing and managing a form of money that is designed to be used within a community, town, or city.

  • ReSkilling

    providing opportunities to acquire 'new' knowledge and skills - often based on old craft skills, resource management and farming - that require less need for energy and lead to a lower environmental impact.

  • Time banks

    facilitating reciprocal service exchanges that use units of time rather than currency.

  • Tool sharing libraries

    providing free, community access to a wide variety of tools and resources with an emphasis on use over ownership.

  • Zero waste

    encouraging the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.

  • Other living economies

    creative approaches to inspiring behavior change towards conscious and ecological living that don't fit any of the other Living Economies categories.