Sustainable Living Showcase


Imagine Grinnell will host its first Sustainable Living Showcase at the Grinnell Farmer’s Market on Thursday, May 14th from 3-6pm.

The showcase will be an educational opportunity for people to learn about simple things they can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle in Grinnell. Vendors will share information about products and practices that minimize waste and impact, such as composting, rain gardens, local foods, alternative transportation, and energy conservation measures.

Executive Director Sarah Smith describes the showcase as an educational opportunity to learn about “the many simple things we can do to live sustainably right here in Grinnell.” Vendors will share information about products that “help us to live with minimal waste and impact,” such as composting, rain gardens, local foods, alternative transportation, energy conservation measures, and an e-waste drop off site that will be free to the public.

A booth sponsored by the Poweshiek County Soil Conservation District will demonstrate impact on watershed projects in the area. They will also be leading walking tours of urban conservation practices in place in Grinnell. Those tours will leave at 3:30pm and 5:30pm; each tour will last approximately 1 hour.

Imagine Grinnell hopes that people will take advantage of the opportunity to interact with vendors and learn about the steps they can take to reduce their impact on the environment.


August Rain Barrels Sales End Friday, August 23, 2013

Rain Barrel

Imagine Grinnell is collaborating with the City of Grinnell and Upcycle Products to sell rain barrels again in August. The 55 gallon Upcycle rain barrels are made from re-cycled food grade barrels and are available in Black, Grey, Blue, or Terra-Cotta.  There are two other options: a 30 gallon Blue Barrel or a 54 gallon Oak Wooden Barrels with a Brass Spigot.

How to Order

Please visit Upcycle Products to order your rain barrel or barrels.  There is no limit to the number of barrels you can order.

Orders are due by Friday, August 23rd and items will be available for pickup on Thursday, August 29th from noon to 1pm in the Ahrens Park Parking Lot. 1510 Penrose St Grinnell, Iowa 50112. Paid receipt is required to verify purchase information.

Questions can be directed to Sarah Smith, Executive Director of Imagine Grinnell at 641-236-5518 ext 223 ( or UpCycle Products at 815-735-9583.

What is a Rain Barrel?

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams.

What are the Advantages of a Rain Barrel?

It Saves You Money

A rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy (decreased demand for treated tap water).

Helps Reduce Stormwater Pollution

Rainwater stored in rain barrels helps reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and the amount of pollutants that are picked up and carried to storm sewers, creeks and rivers.

Conserves Water Supply Resources

Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. Rainwater used from rain barrels helps reduce the amount of water used from underground aquifers.

Better for Plants and Gardens

Rainwater stored in rain barrels is a naturally soft water and devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals.  For this reason, plants respond very well to rainwater.  After all, it’s what plants in the wild thrive on!

Helps Inform Your Neighbors

One of the best reasons to start harvesting rainwater with rain barrels is to teach and encourage others to do the same,  You will help to spread the culture of rainwater collection and in turn, help your larger community and the environment.


Announcing Tree Inventory Services from Imagine Grinnell

Kathy Andersen, a recent Grinnell College graduate, is working for Imagine Grinnell this summer to establish tree mapping and tree inventory services. This program will both serve as a source of revenue for Imagine Grinnell and also will offer private companies, landholders, and municipalities in the region the tools to strategically manage the trees on their property, all while furthering the mission of Imagine Grinnell.

Ideal for individuals with larger tree holdings, the Tree Inventory Services will include a final recommendations report with the ecological value and replacement value of the trees, specific tree maintenance needs and direction for further assistance, mitigation of Emerald Ash Borer risk, and more.


To learn more about the program or to set up a consultation for services, you can contact Imagine Grinnell or Kathy Andersen, the current tree inventory intern.

Katherine (Kathy) Andersen


2nd Saturday coming up on July 13th!


Registration begins at 8:15 am and the event begins at 9 am.

The starting location is in front of the Grinnell High School at Sunset Street and 8th Avenue.

$5 for adults age 19 and up, free for youth under 18. Registration for the season is included with Imagine Grinnell membership.

2nd Saturdays is a monthly series of events on the Grinnell Area Recreational Trail that runs May through September. Each event includes a 5K run/walk, a 1K Kids Fun Run, and a 5K, 10K, or 20K bike ride. There are prizes for registered participants, plus a Grand Prize drawing from all participants at the final event each year. It’s great fun for all ages and a wonderful way to get out and enjoy the trail! With over 120 participants in the past three years, 2nd Saturdays is a popular weekend activity.



May 25th: Community Garden workshop on succession planting

PrintOn Saturday, May 25th, there will be a workshop, Get the most of your harvest: Succession planting, at the Community Garden from 10:30 am — noon.

Location: James Miller Park (Lake Nyanza), High Street entrance

Community garden workshops combine learning and hands-on demonstration to showcase different gardening techniques and styles.

This workshop is free of charge.

Pre-registration is encouraged: email, or call 641-236-5518 ext. 227.

Summer 2013 Youth Bike Camp

What? A fun and safe opportunity for youth to learn about road safety and bike mechanics!

Lesson topics:

Learning bike parts and basic mechanics, changing a flat tire, using brakes and gears efficiently, adjusting the fit of a helmet and seat, recognizing traffic signs, and discussing right of way, intersections, crashes, and road conditions

There will be themed rides to attractions around the town of Grinnell that are accessible via the Grinnell Area Recreational Trail.

Who? Youth entering into 4th grade to 7th grade

When? July 8-12 & 15-17; from 9am-11am

Where? The Foundation Offices at Ahrens Park, 1510 Penrose Street

Led by Executive Director Sarah Smith & Grinnell College Apprentice in Nonprofit Management Ellyn Ochs ’13 and in collaboration with Bikes To You

To register, click here. Registration is free of charge. Participants will receive a new helmet.

Many thanks to a Poweshiek County Alliance grant for allowing this camp to be free of charge and include a bike helmet. 

First Annual Little Bear Creek Clean Up

Come and enjoy some clean up fun at Jaycees Park!

Organized by Imagine Grinnell and Poweshiek County Soil & Water Conservation District

When: Saturday, June 15, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (Rain Date June 22)

Where: Jaycees Park, 720 Summer Street, Grinnell IA 50112

Check-in and parking: Jaycees Park at the pavilion (park along Summer Street, not a lot of parking so carpooling is encouraged)

Dress: Be prepared to get dirty! Depending on water level in the creek, you may want to bring waders or boots if you have them. Wear old clothes and tennis shoes to climb in and out of the creek and/or walk in the woods. Other items you may want are sunscreen, bug repellent, gardening gloves or rubber cleaning gloves.

Supplies: Garbage bags, latex gloves, bottled water, and first aid will be available. If you have refillable water bottles, feel free to bring those! A few shovels will be available to dig out tires and other large debris, but if you have other tools and shovels, feel free to label and bring. Also, bring along buckets if you have them because garbage bags tend to get caught on tree branches and tear.

Sign Up here or email Sarah Smith at

Solar Panel Incentives for Businesses

Dear Business members,

At Imagine Grinnell, energy efficiency and renewable energy is near to our hearts.  We believe that there are countless positive effects of using less fossil fuel on both our local community and the larger world. With the continuously increasing demand for electric energy, the significantly high price of oil and the growing concern for the environment, many businesses are choosing to use alternative sources of energy. Among the renewable energy sources, solar energy is an environmentally and economically sustainable choice and one that can be used in various applications.  Many businesses are now tapping into this alternative source of energy, hoping to benefit from its numerous advantages as well.  If your business has ever been interested in renewable energy, now is the time.  For entities with a tax burden, solar even makes more sense. In addition to the Federal and State Tax Credits, Alliant has a rebate available up to 25K which expires at the end of this year.  With the rebate and tax incentives, plus depreciation, the payback could be as low as 4-6 years.

I have attached the brochure for Ideal Energy.  If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 641-236-5518 because you may be leaving 25K on the table that won’t be available next year.  Additionally, feel free to contact Ideal Energy, Troy Van Beek, directly at 641-919-2269 for a free consultation.