Oceti Sakowin Solve Fellowship


Sustainable Community Development on Standing Rock

Growing communities, preserving culture, investing in a sustainable tomorrow

Team Lead

Kimberlynn Cameron

Solution Summary

Life on Standing Rock Reservation can be challenging: more than 40 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line, it’s a USDA-designated “food desert,” and due to a significant lack of adequate and affordable housing, residential overcrowding is severe. This project aims to address these issues by developing a sustainable, community-scale housing initiative.

The project has two primary goals. First, it’ll focus on establishing culturally appropriate housing at an affordable cost. Second, it’ll harness the tribe’s renewable energy resources to develop a year-round net-zero greenhouse operation for economic growth, thereby offsetting commercial and residential energy demands—and increasing access to healthy food.

Market Opportunity

  • With powerful winds and underdeveloped geothermal and solar resources, there’s substantial renewable energy potential on Standing Rock.

  • This initiative would provide the opportunity to create and implement a microgrid to tie both housing and greenhouse into one primary energy source.

  • Food-growing capabilities would address the tribe’s food desert dilemma, reduce the carbon intensity of food, make use of unproductive land, provide a year-round growing season, and offer food security.


  • Recipient of Tiospaye in Engineering Scholarship

  • Named a 2016 AISES Chevron Scholar

  • Semifinalist for the 2015 Bush Foundation Fellowship

Organization Goals

  • Develop and evaluate a net-zero greenhouse operation that can be scaled to compete commercially in the fresh produce industry nationwide

  • Generate economic prosperity for local communities and provide the necessary capital to continue development of sustainable, net-zero homes and buildings on the reservation

Partnership Goals

  • Investors for net zero housing initiatives and greenhouse operation

  • Collaboration with engineering schools, tribal colleges, and nonprofit organizations

  • High-level assessment of renewable energy potential and installation feasibility

  • Evaluation of baseline data on energy consumption, costs, trends, and short-term and long-term impacts

  • Grant identification and support for sustainable and green housing

  • Create a network of people who have experience in community education and design for sustainability

Fellow Team

Organization Type: 



Rapid City, SD, USA

Project Stage: 


Working in: 

Standing Rock Reservation, USA

Team Members: 


Solution Team:

  • Kimberlynn Cameron M.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Partner Challenges

A Sustainable Future for Standing Rock

Fellow Sustainable Community Development on Standing Rock received a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Culturally Relevant Enterprise Development (CRED) program in 2018 to grow communities, preserve culture, and invest in a sustainable tomorrow.

Partner Challenges

A Sustainable Future for Standing Rock

Fellow Sustainable Community Development on Standing Rock, which grows communities, preserves culture, and invests in a sustainable tomorrow, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2018 for being selected as an Oceti Sakowin Solve Fellow.

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