Denver Biodiesel/U-turn

The Problem

Denver Biodiesel is a membership run biodiesel distribution and education cooperative opened in March of 2006, though organizational and outreach work began in 2004. We believe that both the mindset and material conditions of an individual affect how they act. We believe an understanding of sustainability is best achieved by education of both the body and the mind. Thus we,Provide biodiesel, a renewable fuel alternative to our coop members and teach people how to make their own biodiesel. When the noxious smoke from their vehicle is replaced by the faint smell of french fries they appreciate first hand the benefits of renewable technologies, and understand in a palpable physical way that alternatives are possible. Biodiesel acts as a starting point on the path to sustainability. We aim to build on this immediate physical understanding by expanding the scope of alternatives. We offer educational workshops and classes to build a critical awareness of ecological sustainability. We work with high school students to make issues of sustainability more meaningful and to contextualize what is being taught in the classroom.All coop members must contribute to the running of the coop, which facilitates an increased awareness of the importance of biodiesel among membership, as well as enhancing a sense of belonging to a larger movement for sustainability. Denver Biodiesel is the only biodiesel coop operating in the Denver metro area. We work to develop coalitions with nearby coops with similar goals, including Front Range Biofuels in Littleton, Boulder Biodiesel in Boulder, and the Roaring Fork Biodiesel Cooperative in Carbondale. These coalitions help maintain a grassroots, accessible presence in the world of renewable energy. U-Turn will take over and extend the educational and coalition-building work done by Denver Biodiesel, allowing the coop to focus on fuel distribution while U-Turn can focus fully on sustainability education. As a non-profit U-Turn will be able to apply for grant and foundation funding that was inaccessible to Denver Biodiesel as a for-profit

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