GreenStep Cities Quarterly Newsletter

MyLMC MemberLink listserv for GreenStep city coordinators

GreenStep Workshops - Monthly

All workshops are virtual and open to anyone. 

Can't attend? RSVP anyway and we will send you a workshop recording, slides, and links to resources approximately one week following the workshop event. 

Access past workshops in the GreenStep Archives


Post on: 11/03/2021

Webinar 12/9: Growing Solar in Your Community with an MREA Solar Group Buy

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association is looking for communities to partner with for their “Grow Solar” solar group buy programs in 2022 and beyond. Solar group buys provide up-front education for local property owners about solar, and use a competitive solar installer selection process and volume purchasing to achieve lower pricing. Solar group buys are also worth points for SolSmart designation, and can help communities achieve their clean energy targets.

Since 2013 they’ve partnered with municipalities, counties, energy districts and other local organizations to offer over 50 of these programs, resulting in over 2,200 solar installations. The programs each last approximately 6 months and cost nothing to the communities aside from optional staff time.

Would you like to learn more? Join a 30 minute webinar on December 9 at 12pm Central where they will go into a bit more detail and answer questions. Registration and more information are here.

This webinar is for representatives of municipalities, counties, energy districts, and other organizations, as well as anyone else who wants to see more solar deployed in their community.


Post on: 11/29/2021

Protect Community Forests by Managing Ash for EAB Grants - Due 1/24

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources welcomes applications from local units of government within Minnesota to assist communities in managing ash for emerald ash borer (EAB) on public land, and improve community forests by planting a diversity of trees and involving community members. The DNR has $2.4 million available to fund projects managing EAB through community forestry activities on public lands. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). No minimum dollar amount exists. The maximum amount that will be funded is $150,000.

Informational Webinar: Monday, November 29, 12pm-1pm
Jonathan Osthus of MDA will present on why it's important to proactively manage for emerald ash borer in all areas of Minnesota, including where EAB does not yet exist. He will also speak to the successes of slowing the spread of EAB, and what that can mean for municipal budgets. Emma Schultz of DNR will provide an overview of the $2.4 million available in community grants through the Protect Community Forests by Managing Ash for EAB program. She will also talk through what makes a successful grant application, and address frequently asked questions. 1 ISA CEU available for attending the live virtual meeting.
Join the Zoom meeting directly at this link:

or dial in by phone
+1 651 372 8299 US (Minnesota)
Meeting ID: 986 0038 9191


Post on: 11/23/2021

Webinar 12/2 - Community-wide EV Charging Program

Host: CERTs and Great Plains Institute

The City of Plymouth recently announced an agreement with the Carbon Solutions Group to install 115 public EV charging stations and receive 3 all-electric Nissan Leafs for their city fleet at no cost to the city. This initiative has garnered great interest from cities and counties here in Minnesota and even other states.   

Please join us for a virtual forum with the City of Plymouth, Carbon Solutions Group, and Xcel Energy on December 2nd from 1:00-2:30pm to hear more about their groundbreaking agreement. The purpose of this forum is to provide additional information and transparency about the agreement and to provide an opportunity for communities to ask questions about the initiative; it is not meant as an endorsement of the company or initiative. 

Please register in advance for this free event! 


  • Jody McDevitt, Sales Manager at Energy Management Solutions/Carbon Solutions Group 
  • Chris LaBounty, Deputy Public Works Director; or Amy Hanson, City of Plymouth, Minnesota 
  • Justin Durocher, Minnesota Fleet Project Manager, Xcel Energy 


Post on: 11/16/2021

Webinar 12/14: Introduction to Race Equity

On Dec. 14, join fellow city officials for an interactive virtual session to explore the history of race and the role of local government in equity for all residents. Come ready to participate as you learn more about implicit and explicit bias, understand your experiences of race, and identify ways cities are eliminating institutional and structural racism.

During this session, you will:

  • Understand the history and current impacts of race; implicit and explicit bias; and individual, institutional, and structural racism.
  • Identify instances of implicit and explicit bias and individual, institutional, and structural racism.
  • Get motivated to take action.

Learn More and Register

Related to: Education, Equity
Post on: 11/15/2021

Clean Diesel Off-Road Grants - Due 12/1

Diesel equipment owners from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors are encouraged to apply for this Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant opportunity. DERA grant funds reduce emissions from older, diesel-powered off-road equipment by helping owners to replace or improve eligible diesel equipment—improving air quality and public health at the same time.

Eligible equipment may include marine engines, locomotives, trailer refrigeration units, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, and off-road engines, and equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production.

Applications due December 1 by 4:30pm 


Post on: 11/09/2021

Waste Reduction & Reuse and Greater MN Recycling & Composting Grants - Due 1/5 and 1/11

Environmental Assistance (EA) – Waste Reduction & Reuse Grants:

The MPCA is offering Environmental Assistance (EA) grants for projects working to expand waste reduction and reuse, rental, and repair efforts around the state. These strategies have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, reduce the demand for resource extraction, and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. By extending the useful life of existing materials and strengthening trained skillsets in repair, reuse also supports the local economy and increases access to products and services.

Application details: Minnesota not-for-profit organizations, businesses, institutions, political subdivisions of the state, State agencies, and tribal governments are encourage to submit proposals for projects. Multi-organizational collaboration is encouraged.

Application deadline: By 4:00pm CT on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

Examples of eligible projects:

  • Prevent or reduce waste through changes in product design, manufacturing, or production.
  • Develop and implement training courses that provide skills-building for product repair or other processes that maintain the value of items to avoid or reduce new production.
  • Purchase of reusable products and equipment that support the transition away from single-use alternatives.
  • Pilot new opportunities or expand capacity for more reuse, rental, and/or repair in the community (e.g. fix-it clinics or repair cafes, sharing libraries, etc.).

Email applications to with the subject line “EA Grants - Waste Reduction and Reuse FY22.” Visit the MPCA Environmental Assistance – Waste Reduction & Reuse webpage for more information.

If you have questions about this grant, you can email with subject line: “EA Waste Reduction and Reuse Grant Question.” Questions will be accepted until 4:00pm CT on Monday, January 3, 2022. Answers to questions will be posted frequently on the MPCA Environmental Assistance – Waste Reduction & Reuse webpage.


Greater Minnesota Recycling and Composting Grants:

The MPCA is offering grant funding to help Greater Minnesota communities reduce the amount of waste entering landfills by establishing best practices to reuse more materials and make recycling or composting programs more efficient and effective

Application details: Minnesota counties, cities, townships or tribal communities outside the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area are encouraged to submit proposals for projects. If the applicant is a city, the city’s population must be less than 45,000. Multi-organizational collaboration is encouraged.

Application deadline: By 2:00pm CT on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

Project details:

  • Projects must be locally administered, have an educational component with measurable outcomes, and include one or more of the following elements:
    • Establish curbside recycling or composting
    • Increase recycling or composting
    • Reduce the amount of recyclable materials entering disposal facilities
    • Reduce the costs associated with hauling waste by locating collection sites as close as possible to the site where the waste is generated
  • Preferred projects will focus on implementing or expanding local capacity to:
    • Improve collection of traditional recyclables (plastic, glass, food metal containers, and paper)
    • Establish or expansion of collection program(s)
    • Improving the quality of recyclables by reducing contamination to enhance marketability.
    • Transition to single-sort recycling collection
    • Establish or expand projects reusing materials in their original form
    • Establish or expand organics collection through curbside, commercial, or drop-sites
    • Establish or expand processing or transfer capacity for source-separated organic materials
    • Development or expansion of programs for hard to recycle and bulky materials (mattresses, car seats, concrete, shingles, electronic waste, etc.)

The request for proposals (RFP) has been posted on our website, and we will host an online training for this RFP on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Please see the grant webpage for full details and information.

If you have questions about this grant, you can email with subject line: “Greater MN Recycling Grant.” The applicant should check the SWIFT Supplier Portal and the MPCA Environmental Assistance Grants Program webpage for the most recent updates on competitive grant rounds, including questions and answers, and addendums.

Post on: 11/09/2021

Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation Webinars - Nov-Feb

Showcasing Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation: Experiences from the Water Sector to Empower Other Sectors and Communities

An Eight-Part Webinar Series Hosted by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. This webinar series, sponsored jointly by NOAA’s Adaptation Sciences Program, WUCA, WRF, and EPA, will explore practical lessons and leading practices focused on steps to mainstreaming climate science and adaptation considerations into building for climate resilience. Having worked on climate adaptation for over a decade, water utilities have learned many lessons and developed approaches to share with peer sectors seeking to learn and take steps to adapt now. Expanding the exchange of knowledge across communities will also foster more effective adaptation and improve community resilience.

The goal of these webinars is to help us, adaptation practitioners, advance our thinking about effective approaches by learning from others what has worked (or not worked). Beyond sharing examples from the water sector, these webinars will foster a multi-sectoral dialogue, sharing practical resources and tools for planning.

Nov. 4: Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation 

Nov. 18: Climate Adaptation Engineering Case Studies 

Dec. 2: Business Function Mapping 

Dec. 9: Equity and Environmental Justice Considerations in Climate Adaptation 

Jan. 6: Green Stormwater Infrastructure 

Jan. 20: Greenhouse Gas and Energy 

Feb. 3: Climate Warming and Impacts to Staff and Assets 

Feb. 17: Federal and Other Funding for Adaptation 



Post on: 11/08/2021

Urban Agriculture Grant - due 1/13

The MN Dept. of Agriculture - Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Urban Agriculture Grant Program encourages urban youth agricultural education and urban agriculture community development within city limits of urban or peri-urban areas.

Grants help organizations and communities obtain the materials and services necessary to successfully promote urban youth agricultural education and urban agriculture community development.

Eligible applicants: local governments, tribal communities, schools, non-profits, for-profit businesses - with population of 5,000 or more; low income, BIPOC communities, federally recognized tribal land

Project eligibility: 

  • purchase and installation of equipment 
  • capital expenditures 
  • dedicated staff/contractor time 

Amount: $551,000 available in FY2022. Applicants can request between $2,500 and $50,000 per project. NO CASH MATCH required. 

Applications due no later than 4:00 pm Central Time on Thursday, January 13, 2022.


Post on: 11/08/2021

Lawns to Legumes Demo Neighborhoods Grants - Due 2/3

Demonstration Neighborhoods are community projects intended to enhance pollinator habitat in key corridors, raise awareness for residential pollinator protection, and showcase best practices. Organizations overseeing a demonstration neighborhood work with local residents to install four types of beneficial planting practices: native pocket plantings, pollinator beneficial trees and shrubs, pollinators lawns and pollinator meadows. Interested organizations can apply on behalf of their organization or on behalf of a group of partners who plan to work together to establish a demonstration neighborhood.

Applications due: February 3, 2022

Eligible Applicants: Cities, Counties, Tribal Governments, Watershed Districts, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and non-governmental organizations
Eligible activities include: 

  • project and plan development 
  • site preparation, planting, and management costs (tilling, burning, sod removal, temporary weed
    barriers, containerized plants, seeding, inter-seeding, weed removal, etc.)
  • tool purchases (hand sod kicker, hand shovels, hand rakes, hand trowels, watering tree gator)
  • non-herbicide methods of site preparation and management preferred
  • flowering trees and shrubs; native plants

Learn more and apply

Post on: 11/05/2021