Like the slow, damp 2017 spring, extending right into the summer season, this year’s local food brochure has been slow getting going. But it’s available at last, here on our website as well as in area farmstands, stores, libraries, and other venues.
This year’s edition features a sidebar on small local food stores, a crucial piece of our local foodscape.
There are also listings for food producers in the nine North Quabbin towns plus Barre and Hardwick, as well as information about farmers markets, food-related festivals, and resources relating to food, farming, and gardening.
The time has never been better to take advantage of very low-interest loans, renewable energy credits, and tax incentives for home solar electric installations (PV)! Mid- to low-income households qualify for even more assistance from the state right now. Continue reading Home Solar is ready for you!
Members of the core North Quabbin Energy group are currently working on many projects, including town energy committees, pipeline resistance, local food, and winsert-making workshops. The group is not currently meeting as a whole, but we’re working on keeping this website up to date with new developments and information. Keep an eye on new posts here if you’re interested in finding out more about any of the above issues and projects in north-central Massachusetts!
A packed house at the Wendell Free Library on Thursday night listened to Ray Bradley, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, talking about the state of current scientific research into the world’s warming climate, as well as the chilling story of how a few climate change deniers in Congress tried to put science on trial by indicting Bradley and two colleagues for “fraudulent” use of federal research funding. The latter part of the story is related in Bradley’s book, Global Warming and Political Intimidation: How Politicians Cracked Down on Scientists as the Earth Heated Up (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011).
I came away from the talk not sure whether to be depressed or reassured. On the one hand, there was plenty in Bradley’s presentation to feel pessimistic about. He noted that even in the very best imaginable scenario, if all fossil fuel burning were to stop tomorrow, enough greenhouse gases have already been released into the atmosphere over the past 200 years (and particularly since the Second World War) that the world’s climate will continue to warm right through the 21st century and beyond. In other words, it’s too late to reverse what’s already been done–the best we can possibly do is to deal with the consequences and try to stop making it even worse. Continue reading A climate scientist spells it out for us
North Quabbin Energy’s 2012 “Fresh & Local Food Guide” is now available. The annual listing highlights local farms and food producers in the North Quabbin towns (Athol, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Warwick, and Wendell) and neighboring Barre and Shutesbury. Foods grown locally include fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, flowers, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms, and herbs. The brochure also lists area specialties plus non-food and “value-added” products like honey, maple syrup, local cheeses, bakery goods, hay, compost, wool and fleece, and imported fair-trade coffee. Look for information about area farmers markets, festivals, the local food co-op, “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) farms, and more.
Eating locally is an energy-related issue because the food industry in the U.S. is based on energy-intensive modes of farming, processing, shipping, and storing food. Produce and other foods are typically shipped over hundreds of miles from the source to the consumer, adding to the “carbon footprint” of products that are usually grown with petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. Buying closer to local sources not only reduces the energy required to grow and ship food, but helps support area farmers and food producers who are working to strengthen more sustainable regional food systems.
The 2012 “Fresh & Local” brochure is available in locations throughout the area, including libraries and general stores, town offices, and many of the farms and businesses listed in the guide. You can also download it here as a PDF file.