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PitchNOLA 2012 announces semi-finalists for ‘Lots of Progress and ‘Community Solutions’ competitions

Written by  IntheNOLA.com
Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Tulane University, and the Metropolitan Opportunities Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation are excited to announce the ten Semi-Finalists for PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress, a competition to source ideas that transforms vacant properties in New Orleans for community benefit, and PitchNOLA 2012: Community Solutions, a competition to source innovative solutions to New Orleans' biggest challenges.
 
The winners of PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress will be announced on Thursday, November 15 at 6:30pm at the Propeller Social Innovation Incubator (4035 Washington Ave.)
 
"We are thrilled with the caliber and number of applications we received," said Andrea Chen, Founder and Executive Director of Propeller. "It is our hope that this competition will jump-start community excitement for implementing projects that revitalize vacant lots."
The ten Semi-Finalists for Lots of Progress were selected based on three criteria: 1) Potential Social or Environmental Benefit, 2) Financial or Organizational Sustainability, and 3) Viability of Project Implementation.
 
On November 15th, the ten semi-finalists, will present a live pitch in front of an audience and a panel of three "celebrity judges," including Chef John Besh, founder of nine critically acclaimed restaurants in the New Orleans area, Jeff Hebert, Executive Director of NORA, and Dr. Maurice Cox, Director of Tulane City Center.
 
The winner of Lots of Progress will receive a vacant lot(s) of choice, selected from 49 NORA-owned properties, and $5,000 in cash prizes towards the project. Second and third place winners will also choose one or more properties from the selection, and will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, in cash prizes.
 
Let’s take a look at the semi-finalists:
 
Calla Victoria of Bring the Bromeliads
This project is to beautify lots with minimal maintenance and maximum impact. Bromeliads are low maintenance plant material with maximum color, bloom, and pizzazz. Bromeliads can be terrestrial or epiphytes and require only the morning dew to survive. This project will be a neighborhood's tranquil oasis where residents can gather, relax, reflect, and escape from the drama of work and home for a few moments.
 
Cat Kochanski, Martin Holly, Connor G, Lizy Hapgood, Noelle Bakri, and Mike Freely of Develop Abundance
This project will demonstrate the effectiveness of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic technologies in providing resources to communities in need. In addition, the project will focus on recapturing and repurposing waste, water and energy to create a self-sustaining infrastructural node for the community.
 
Jack Tiebout of Fee-Fi-Fo Farm!
Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm! will establish indoor vertical farming as a viable model for urban agriculture. By using hydroponic and aeroponic (soilless) growing systems to maximize vertical space, we will grow local, affordable produce year-round. We will start with a hoop house, but will hopefully expand upwards into a multi-level farm.
 
Scott Myers, Kasey Mitchell, and Tedo Oliviera of Gentilly Orchard
This project proposes a fruit orchard, farm and butterfly garden, with open access and learning opportunities for the public. Signs would be distributed throughout, describing the plants, farming activities such as composting, and identifying beneficial insects and butterflies. The focus will be on low-maintenance crops with high resale value will be focused on.
 
David Young of Get Fruity About Trees
There isn’t enough healthy food or healthy trees. Using vacant lots to plant a sustainable grove of fruit trees provides sustainable healthy fruit, cleans the air we breathe, and offers a place for quiet and relaxation we don't often find.
 
Steven L'Heureux, Andrew Hodge, Maggie Robertson, Chris Duncan, and Robert Rogers of Little Champions' Square
Little Champion's Square is an endeavor to provide our city with a football-themed athletic park where children can exercise, athletes can practice, and community members can gather. This new style of park will improve the quality of life in the neighborhood by increasing public health, safety, and overall well‑being.
 
Cullan Maumus of MagNOLA ONE
MagNOLA ONE will address vacant lots in New Orleans, by utilizing solar energy and proven water management practices on selected sites to spur development. MagNOLA will create financial incentives for future investment by distributing revenues to neighbors, and elevate safety levels in the surrounding neighborhoods through its water management programming.
 
Jason Chaffin and Heather Weathers of Organ Donors
The lot will be populated by electric organs that have been reconstructed and re-envisioned in resins, barge-board and concrete. This would not only be an impromptu teaching space, but a space for students and any persons without instruments to give voice to their musical soul.
 
Angela Kyle, Leslie Davol, and Sam of Davol PlayBuild NOLA
PlayBuild NOLA is an architectural playground. New Orleans' design tradition reflects our rich cultural past, but it is also modern and evolving. PlayBuild NOLA gives kids and families a hands-on opportunity to experience the creative environment as well as envision and shape their surroundings and the future of our city.
 
Morgana King of Ya Herd Property Maintenance
As an urban goat owner and 9th Ward resident, Morgana sees New Orleans' abandoned property as an opportunity to raise goats for milk, meat, and to provide an eco-friendly lot maintenance service. The project would mean entry-level jobs, collaborations with schools and non-profits, and products for local markets.
PitchNOLA Community Solutions 2012 | IntheNOLA.com
Over 60 high-quality applications were submitted to Community Solutions for the chance to win First-Place--a $5,000 cash prize and technical assistance from Propeller. Audience members will also vote on an "Audience Favorite," who will receive a $500 cash prize. The Semi-Finalists' project proposals included a wide-range of innovative ideas including a youth radio station, local and recycled Mardi Gras throws, college preparatory mentorship, health services, vertical farming, water sanitation, and more. Winners of the Community Solutions competition will be announced on Wednesday, November 14 at 6:30pm at Tulane University Woldenberg Hall, Freeman Auditorium, where semi-finalists will have three minutes to pitch their ideas to audience members and "celebrity judges."
 
Here are the semi-finalists for the Community Solutions competition:
 
Dana Keren of Birthmark Doula Collective
Birthmark Doula Collective works to address the horrible birth outcomes in New Orleans by facilitating better birth experiences for women. We work to provide all women, regardless of ability to pay, with the opportunity to choose what kind of prenatal and birth experience is best for themselves and their families.
 
Lydia Onimo of Enlighten through Travel
Debilitating socioeconomic issues such as crime, poverty, and unsatisfactory public education take an overwhelmingly negative toll on our city. Enlighten through Travel aims to inspire talented, but underprivileged high school students to achieve beyond societal expectations through college preparatory mentoring, leadership training, foreign language study, and international travel.
 
Andre Feigler of enriched
enrichED is a web-based network for high-quality, flexible educational staffing. We bring diverse, local talent into schools on an as-needed and on-demand basis with the aim of eliminating lost time, adding capacity and providing transformational learning opportunities for all students.
 
Jack Tiebout of Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm!
Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm! will establish indoor vertical farming as a viable model for urban agriculture. By using hydroponic and aeroponic (soilless) growing systems to maximize vertical space, we will grow local, affordable produce year-round. We will start with a small hoop house, but hope to build up to several stories.
 
Ameca Reali of Justice and Accountability Center's Mobile Expungement Clinic
Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. Many are released from the criminal justice system without supportive reentry services. JAC's expungement program facilitates reentry with an opportunity to disengage from the criminal justice system and get back to work instead of back to prison.
 
Dr. Yaye Sarr of Smiles2Geaux
Children and seniors in Louisiana have high rates of cavities and oral diseases. Smiles2Geaux will provide mobile clinics to give low-income schoolchildren and seniors in the New Orleans area reliable, affordable access to dental services that improve preventative oral health care, using evidence-based innovative approaches.
 
Alexander Girau of SODI-CAN
Providing affordable, effective water sanitation is a fundamental concern for humanity. The SODI-CAN, utilizing solar-nanotechnology, provides consumers with an affordable, efficient and safe means to disinfect and store water. The SODI-CAN is capable of reducing traditional solar disinfection times from hours to minutes, preventing millions of unnecessary illnesses and death.
 
Megan Nuismer of The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project
New Orleans is our nation's number one food desert, with one in eight facing food insecurity. The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project is an urban harvesting program that collects fruit that would otherwise goes to waste and makes it accessible to those struggling with hunger.
 
Jesse Chanin of Youth Radio New Orleans
New Orleans is a city with extraordinary youth disempowerment and disenfranchisement, as can be seen from the high rate of youth violence and the low high school graduation rate. To increase youth engagement and participation, we want to create a Youth Radio New Orleans, in which youth are trained in the basics of public radio production to produce a weekly live talk show on issues they find salient in their lives.
 
Anne Rolfes of ZomBeads: Mardi Gras ReMade in New Orleans
ZomBeads: Mardi Gras ReMade in New Orleans creates useful, beautiful, Mardi Gras throws locally from recycled materials. ZomBeads transforms production of Mardi Gras trinkets from an outsourced, overseas operation to one that benefits our local economy and provides local jobs. Recycled inputs put an end to mountains of plastic waste.
 
Audience participation at both the Lots of Progress and Community Solutions competitions is both encouraged and free!



RSVP for Community Solutions!
Wednesday, November 14 (6:30pm-8:30pm)
Tulane University: Freeman Auditorium (6823 St. Charles Ave.)
 
RSVP for Lots of Progress!
Thursday, November 15 (6:30pm-8:30pm)
Propeller Social Innovation Incubator (4035 Washington Ave.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 November 2012
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