Through Climate Action and Social Equity, we will ensure a Vibrant Economy for generations to come.
Green New Deal for Des Moines: Iowa is already a leader in wind energy; we can also become a leader in solar energy. Keep in mind that the cheapest energy we have is the energy we save. We’ve already taken a small step in the right direction by starting the process of measuring energy and water use in our largest buildings, an ordinance that I helped develop. This will lead to growth and good paying jobs in the energy efficiency industry. We should also be creating community solar arrays and combined solar/wind collectors along our main transportation arterials. Imagine if we designated South Ridge Mall and Merle Hay Mall as Commuter Park & Ride spots with solar carports and EV charging stations and had a regular electric shuttle bus to downtown, the Capitol and other high demand destinations. We could create public/private partnerships with DMACC and/or DMU to maintain the sites and use them for education and training of students. This would simultaneously decrease congestion within the City, lower consumption of fossil fuel, and decrease our overall GHG emissions.
Support for Creatives & Entrepreneurs: Des Moines has a vibrant small business, cultural and creative community. We need to tap into and support our out-of-the-box thinkers to help us find ways to make Des Moines a unique destination for residents and visitors alike. What makes us unique? What attracts others to come spend their money here? Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the real backbone of an economy and Des Moines should continue to support unique business enterprises by making the process of getting licenses and approvals as streamlined as is realistically possible. Incubators and shared work space opportunities are trends we definitely want to encourage, as well as continued growth of cultural opportunities.
Urban Farming: As stated in the Climate Action section, Iowa imports an astronomical 90% of our food. In the near future, urban areas are going to need to grow 40-60% of the food they consume within the urban boundary. With the right management, an acre of land can feed several families. We already have a few successful examples of urban farming in Des Moines: Sweet Tooth Farms, LSI’s Global Greens and Dogpatch Urban Gardens, but we need many more. Farming is a good career and keeps dollars circulating in the local economy. It also ensures that fresh, healthy food is available to the local population, thereby improving health outcomes and decreasing healthcare costs overall. The City needs to make sure our zoning code allows for urban farming in pockets of land that can be rehabilitated for growing food, in order to ensure our ability to feed ourselves in the near future. Locally grown food can supply our restaurants, hospitals and large employers. Every school in the district should have a large garden from which meals are prepared and which can be used to educate our children about food and nutrition. Even our jails and prisons should be growing most of the food they use and training the inmates on how to grow food. We need to start planning this now.