Saturday, September 29
12:00 – Solar Cooperatives – Solar Ownership for Everyone
Gregory Garrison – Northeast Solar, Don Stone – Wendell Community Solar Project
Solar Cooperatives (SC) are not Community Solar (CS). The CS projects that have been built everywhere in the Massachusetts sell Kilowatt hours at a discount with the primary investor retaining the tax credits and incentives. The economic benefit to the local economy is minimal.
Solar Cooperatives transfer all of the tax credits and incentives to the member owners of the cooperative. The economic benefits stay in the local economy. It is a power plant that generates a local economic benefit. It is a model designed for our “Common-Wealth”. The first Solar Cooperative will be built in Wendell MA. It is a collaborative project with the Wendell Energy Committee. http://northeast-solar.com
Gregory Garrison joined Northeast Solar in 2010 and became its President in 2014. Before solar, Greg spent twenty years building companies that supported the transportation industry. Today he is focused on paying back his substantial carbon debt through education, community action, conservation, and the installation of solar power. Outside of solar, Greg is a photographer, hiker, and motorcycle enthusiast.
1:00 pm – Renewable Fuels for Transportation
Steve Russell, MOR-EV
Getting off petroleum. It sounds great, but will renewable fuels work? Hear from someone who has done it. Steve has many years of experience encouraging both consumers and fleets to embrace other types of fuels. His presentation will be a practical overview of various renewable fuels and how they can work together to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
Stephen Russell is the Alternative Transportation Program Coordinator/ Clean Cities co-coordinator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is responsible for coordinating and promoting the use of alternative vehicles and fuel, and for reducing petroleum usage in the transportation sector. He is developing an electric vehicle infrastructure plan and policy, and is coordinating the installation of charging stations throughout the Commonwealth. Under his direction, the State was the site of the preview of the Nissan Leaf and the signing of a ground-breaking MOU with Nissan and BMW that commits the state to developing a statewide plan for electric vehicle infrastructure. Steve has been managing Fleets for over 20 years. While he managed Keene NH’s Municipal Fleet, Steve pioneered the use of B-20 biodiesel in his municipal fleet. Prior to Keene he managed a Corporate Fleet with over 2,000 vehicles located at all ends of the United States. Steve is on the Board of Directors for the New England Chapter of the NAFA, fleet management association. Steve is a graduate of Springfield College with a degree in Community Leadership and Development. www.mass.gov/energy/cleancities
2:00 – Clothing from the Local Fibershed – Farm to Garment bioregional clothing and textiles in Western Massachusetts.
Nur Tiven, Western Mass Fibershed
Our region has made some great strides to restore local economies of food – CSAs and farmers markets abound in the area. But what about local clothes? The very same big business agriculture systems which we’ve rejected when it comes to food are the very same systems that continue to clothe us. We will cover some of the toxic and exploitative realities of the industries which currently clothe us, and look at the need to revitalize local small scale economies to clothe ourselves from our bioregion, our “Fibershed”. We’ll discuss our region’s ability to produce fiber, color, and labor, and the vision of making climate beneficial, ethical, and non-toxic local clothing a reality in Western Massachusetts.
Nur Tiven is a weaver, spinner, and textile designer living along the Connecticut River in Montague, MA. He’s one the organizers of Western Mass Fibershed , working to organize a local movement to create sustainable, small scale economies for clothing and textiles. He’s currently developing a line of locally sourced, locally plant-dyed wool clothing and accessories.
3:00 – Urine Diversion and Use as Fertilizer,
Abe Noe-Hays, Rich Earth Institute
Everyday we each flush away enough nutrients to grow the amount of wheat needed for a loaf of bread. Additionally, when nitrogen rich urine goes into our waterways it becomes a source of pollution leading to degradation in water quality. Kim Nace and Abe Noe-Hays will show how the Rich Earth Institute is collecting, transporting, treating, and applying urine-derived fertilizer for agriculture.
The Rich Earth Institute is a non-profit organization engaging in research, education, and technological innovation to advance the use of human waste as a resource in order to conserve water, prevent pollution, and sustain soil fertility. http://richearthinstitute.org
Sunday, September 30
11:00 am – Soil Carbon Sequestration: Practical Science in the Garden & Field
Julie Rawson & Jack Kittredge, Many Hands Organic Farm
What exactly is behind the science of no-till, cover crops, and crop rotation?
What does this have to do with returning atmospheric carbon to the soil, where it belongs?
Come learn what Farmers, Gardeners and Homeowners can do to sequester carbon, improve plant and soil health, and increase food quality and quantity all at the same time.
Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge have been principles at NOFA Mass and The Natural Farmer for over three decades. As farmers at Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre, they are in a unique position as educators and advocates for carbon farming. Their farm is one of many to demonstrate that building soil makes both economic and ecological sense for farmers and home gardeners. Over the years, Julie has experimented with various tillage practices and can offer many insights to the challenges of moving to a no-tillage, more carbon sequestering operation. Jack, as NOFA’s former carbon analyst, has much of the science on this topic at his fingertips.
12:00 pm – Code Compliant Tiny Homes In MA,
This talk will present a 250 square foot code compliant tiny house located in western MA. We will look at the floor plan and discuss the design tradeoffs that were made to balance usability, code compliance, and cost. We will also look at the land that the house was built on and discuss wetlands regulations and how they impacted location of the house, septic system, and well. Finally, we will look at how the owner was able to power the house from a 200 watt solar panel and golf cart batteries.
Chris Haynes has been building and living in tiny homes since 2007. He lives 100% off the grid in western Massachusetts with his dog Ajax. He has an engineering background in both electrical and software. His first tiny house was only 66 square feet! He lived in that house for 18 months while building his current primary house that is 250 square feet. He is currently building a new tiny house in very remote part of northern New England using on site materials. He might be a serial tiny house builder.
1:00 pm – Ecological Pollinator Conservation
Dr. Robert J. Gegear, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Wild pollinators are currently experiencing unprecedented declines in abundance, diversity, and geographic distribution worldwide. These declines have tremendous ecological implications due to the ‘keystone’ role that pollinators play in temperate ecosystems. Using bumblebee pollinators native to Massachusetts as a model, I will outline an ecologically-focused strategy for conserving and restoring diversity of our native pollinators. I will also highlight what you can do to as a ‘citizen scientist’ to help protect native pollinator diversity, and provide information on how to create habitat that is truly ‘pollinator friendly’.
Dr. Robert J. Gegear is a Professor in the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Director of the New England Beecology Project, a citizen science program that aims to collect large amounts of ecological data on bumblebees across the state in order to accelerate the development of effective conservation and restoration strategies for threatened species (visit beecology.wpi.edu for more information).
2:00 pm – What is Green Burial and Why Might I Want One?
Green Burial Massachusetts
Join members of Green Burial Massachusetts for an informative discussion about the characteristics of green burial, how it differs from conventional burial, and an exploration of green burial options for Massachusetts residents.
Green Burial Massachusetts is a statewide non-profit organization. We provide educational programs about the value and benefit of natural burial, in which everything going into the ground is biodegradable and will decompose naturally. We advocate on behalf of individuals who choose natural burial and provide consultation and technical assistance to municipalities and non-profit organizations about natural burial options.