This post was made possible by Stonyfield. Stonyfield gave us $50 to pay it forward however we choose.
I am very thankful to be a part of a wonderful community, the Stonyfield YoGetters, at Stonyfield. This past year I have learned and grown so much from Stonyfield. They definitely are more then a company that sells delicious yogurt! While taking my Stonyfield Farm Tour in August, I truly began to realize what sacrifices and resources Stonyfield is providing to farmers all over America. Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg just want healthy, safe food for our nation and to help save family farms. After a very moving lunch with Gary in August, I became inspired.
It was on the farm tour where I learned and was invited to Shiftcon. Little did I know that when I would attend in December, I would become even more inspired to make better decisions for myself, family and our country. I did not just learn about eating organic, non-GMO food or using natural beauty products, I learned that each and every one of us plays a huge role in this movement. We all play a role in the “shift” towards better products, our food, and the environment we live in. Small changes in the way we live our lives, create huge steps and leaps towards a better world for ourselves, children, and grandchildren.
When Stonyfield gave the Stonyfield YoGetters funds to use to pay it forward, I knew right then it would go towards an organization that is making our community safer and better for my family to live in. The Urban Ambassadors does just that for Central Iowa!
I was fortunate to have a Q&A interview with Emily Boyd, the President of Urban Ambassadors, to learn more about this wonderful organization. I am excited for what Urban Ambassadors will be doing for Central Iowa in 2017.
Erin: What is the goal and mission for Urban Ambassadors?
Emily: Our goal is to connect and inspire individuals to be more sustainable at home and in the community. We do this by hosting monthly meetups, annual events, and acting as a hub for people in our community looking to connect to people and businesses that are passionate about sustainability.
Erin: When do you meet and how often do you meet?
Emily: Urban Ambassadors hosts meetups the second Tuesday of every month; we focus on different sustainability topics such as gardening, reducing carbon emissions, electric vehicles, tiny houses. Some of the meetups focus purely on education, while some are hands-on helping with a sustainability project. In addition, we will host one annual event in 2017 to continue empowering individuals in our community to live sustainably; we will provide them with information that is relevant to our city, as well as best practices when it comes to sustainability.
Erin: What are some projects you have implemented or have been a part of?
Emily: Our third “FriendRaiser” event this fall was an amazing event the Urban Ambassadors board and committee put together to help celebrate our local eco-heroes. We recognize that many individuals who are acknowledged for their efforts are doing BIG things, but what about the volunteer who shows up every single day in the community garden? Or the young guys who started a housing remodeling company and use sustainable practices? These people may not be in the Des Moines Register, but their work is incredibly important. So we lifted them up and then continued connecting individuals from different sustainability journeys.
We also work to support individuals who have project ideas, or what we call “Seed Projects.” While this isn’t a formal “program,” every board member works hard to support Ambassadors who want to make a difference but need a little assistance. Whether it’s a planning committee or simply making introductions to people who could help with an idea, our board members are always trying to assist!
Erin: Is Urban Ambassadors strictly for central Iowa or do you partake in bigger projects across the United States?
Emily: We very much focus on local projects; we love what other groups do around the states (and the world) and share that information on our Facebook page/group, however we know if we focus on the place we live, we can work face-to-face with our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances to make a very targeted impact. Many of us love our city and want to help people right here, so we put a structure in place to help us do that well.
Erin: What is your position with Urban Ambassadors and why did you get involve?
Emily: As of December 21, I officially took the position of president at Urban Ambassadors! I am excited about this role and the board is supportive of the vision both the new vice president and myself has set forth. Urban Ambassadors was actually a “project” we worked on in my publicity class at Drake University; so I knew of the organization when I was a junior and right after I graduated a friend was on the board and asked me to help with some event planning. It was really fun and fulfilling (both two great & important qualities in any volunteer position!), so eventually I joined the board, became vice president and will be president through 2017.
Erin: What do you need from us to continue to make Urban Ambassadors successful?
Emily: Get involved! Come join us at a meetup to learn how you can live more sustainably and take some nuggets of information to pass onto friends and family. We want as many people to be connected to what we do, so we can make even more of an impact on our community. When more people are involved, we see more important, relevant conversations happening and more advocacy efforts at a city level. It’s truly inspiring to be surrounded by people who only want the best for the community they live in.
Erin: What does Urban Ambassadors have planned for 2017?
Emily: We are really focused on building a great online directory for individuals to continue fostering connections locally. Our board is also planning a brand new event (details to come!) that will address living sustainably day-to-day, share inspiring stories of local individuals and groups, and give people the tools they need to make a difference. Urban Ambassadors is growing and we would love to see you in 2017!
Are you interested in being a part of Urban Ambassadors whether it be donating, sponsoring or volunteering? Check out what YOU can do to help here!
Learn more about Stonyfield’s mission here!
Learn more about Shiftcon and when the next Shiftcon Conference is here!