Meeting minutes Jan. 25, 2010

Attending: Judy Northrup-Bennett, Donna Caisse, Hal Gillam, John Jackson, Janice and Steve Kurkoski, Pat Larson, Jane Manring, Kristin Marquis, Brian Nugent, Linda Paquet, Tom Rich, Bruce Spencer, Cathy Stanton

Announcements:

  • The First Annual North Quabbin Food Forum will take place on Feb. 20 at the Orange Innovation Center.
  • Greening Greenfield is sponsoring an “Awakening the Dreamer” visioning workshop on sustainable living on Feb. 13, 1-5 p.m. Greening Greenfield recently celebrated reaching its first goal of getting 10% of Greenfield households to sign up for its 10% Challenge!
  • There will be a workshop on starting your own weatherization business at Greenfield Community College on Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • The state’s “Forest Visioning” process will be holding a public meeting in Amherst on Feb. 9 from 5-7 p.m. on the evolving plan for public forest land. Bruce expressed concern that there has been a strong backlash against the idea of forest management on state lands. After some discussion, we agreed to draft a letter expressing our hope that public forests can be managed well and provide a source of some biomass for wise energy use. Bruce and Cathy will work on the letter.
  • The annual NESEA Building Energy conference is being held at the World Trade Center in Boston from March 9-11, 2010. This show is mostly of interest to architects and builders. Janice is the volunteer coordinator and is still looking for volunteers!

Home Show
The North Quabbin Home, Living, and Energy Show will be on March 20, 2010, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Athol High School. The deadline for early bird registration is Feb. 1 (green vendors pay $75 for a table in the hallway, or $100 after Feb. 1). We divided up the list of green vendors and people will make reminder/recruitment calls this week.

We talked about what to have at our table this year. Our ideas came together around the notion of growing/gardening/local food/local forests:

  • We will hand out the NQE brochure, with town energy committee contact info listed.
  • Linda will update the local food brochure.
  • Cathy, Linda, and Jane will work on a map that shows local “growing resources” (food, wood products, forests, farmers markets, etc.).
  • We will look into a source for seeds that we can give away (Cathy will check with NOFA, Janice with Seeds of Solidarity) – possibly salad greens, sunflowers, sprouts.
  • Kristin will bring/build a wormery and talk about red worms and composting.
  • We will have our biomass handouts and talk to people about forest management issues.
  • Bruce and Judy will work on getting donations for a basket of local food items, which we can give as a door prize. People will be asked to sign an info card as they did last year, but focusing on changes they might make relating to local growing things (eg. they might pledge to grow some of their own food, shop at the farmer’s market or coop, start a compost pile, etc.).
  • John and Pat will check with suppliers/stores to see about getting reuseable shopping bags to give away.
  • People who are able to be there that weekend are: Linda, Pat, Kristin, Donna, Jane, Brian (will do signs on Friday eve).

    Idea of NQE Retreat
    We will try to hold a half-day retreat on a Saturday morning (9 to 1), on either April 24 or May 1, to reassess where we are at the moment, what is encouraging or discouraging to people in doing community energy work, where we might go next, etc. Hal will check on the availability and cost of Earthlands for the retreat.

    Community Projects – Winserts
    The Wendell town energy committee is getting town funding to make winserts for the town hall. They will probably build these, with Brian’s help, in February. The Orange town manager would also like to have winserts for the Orange town hall. We decided that we need to figure out what role NQE will play in this and similar projects, and that this is something we can talk about at our retreat.

    Stretch Code
    Hal raised a point about the Stretch Energy Code, which is an enhanced version of the state building code for “greener” buildings. Towns can adopt the Stretch Code as a way to fulfill one of the five criteria for Green Community designation, but there is starting to be some resistance to this among builders, developers, and others in some towns. Hal suggested that the North Quabbin towns involved in the Green Communities collaboration might want to develop an alternative way of meeting the criterion, since that is allowed for in the wording of the code. This is something that a subcommittee of the regional town energy committees and/or people from North Quabbin Energy might work on – we will discuss it at our retreat.

    Next meeting: Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m.
    Millers River Environmental Center

    Back to North Quabbin Energy home.

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