News Bite: A Spit Shine On The City

Marisa Demarco
3 min read
A Spit Shine on the City
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This week, the Alibi’s talking betterment. You know, polishing up our lives and our interior worlds [see "You, Improved"]. With the subjects of learning and enhancement in mind, two projects caught my eye.

Germinate Local Genius —It’s a simple idea. Attend a dinner party. Hear proposals about projects that could boost Burque. Vote on the top pitch.

But the genius bit is this: The cash everyone pays to get into the soiree becomes an instant micro-grant for whomever diners think has the best idea.

That’s the model of
ABQ Sprout, a nonprofit started by Aryon and Olivia Hopkins. In June, they moved to the South Valley from Philadelphia, a city where the couple saw this concept at work. They love their new home, Aryon says. "The weather’s beautiful. The people are incredible. We’re trying to connect those people together."

There are a lot of engaged communities in Albuquerque, from what Aryon’s seen. But they can be segmented: "We need to move forward, eat dinner together and give each other money," he laughs.

ABQ Sprout will accept proposals through Sunday, Jan. 22, at midnight. Ten will be randomly chosen to be presented at the dinner. "If we curated the submissions, it would come down to what we think is best," Aryon explains. Instead, random selection creates "an open filter and an element of chance."

Tom Docherty of Café Lush has volunteered to be the chef for the inaugural dinner, which Aryon and Olivia are funding out of pocket. Their plan, Aryon says, is to do the first event and then find sponsors for the other two dinners this year, slated for May and October. The food will be locally sourced, he adds. Since moving to town, the couple has ambitions to grow a big home garden, which could provide grub for future dinners.

Make a Pitch

Submit your grant proposal through

Deadline: Sunday, Jan. 22, midnight

Eat Your Dinner

Saturday, Jan. 28, 6 to 9 p.m.

South Valley Multipurpose Center

2008 Larrazolo SW

Admission: Sliding scale, $15 to $30

Find a Job, Save the World— This year, Central New Mexico Community College will train folks in green-collar jobs for free. Veterans and people who lost their jobs, are struggling with low incomes or didn’t finish high school qualify for the program. Also, workers who are connected to the construction industry are invited to learn a new trade.

Several colleges are teaming up, with each specializing in a certain field. CNM developed solar energy instruction. Santa Fe Community College created green building, energy efficiency and biofuels courses. Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari targeted wind energy.

All three community colleges are sharing their curricula. Students in Albuquerque will be able to pick from any of the programs and make it their focus. "The whole idea is to get a job," says Diane Burke, dean of the School of Applied Technologies at CNM.

Last year, the three colleges divided between them a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. This cash established the Centers for Excellence, which aims to breed a workforce for renewable energy jobs.

Join Up

Green industry businesses and the Centers for Excellence are hosting an information session.

Saturday, Jan. 21, 9 to 11 a.m.

CNM Workforce Training Center

5600 Eagle Rock NE

Call 224-5243 for more information.
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