Brief History of the GG and the Greening Greenfield Campaign
2005: The Greenfield Energy Committee (GEC) was formed.
2007: We changed our name to Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC) to reflect our broader interests. We formed a partnership with Mayor Forgey and launched the Greening Greenfield Campaign.
Campaign Phase I, 2007
The goal of Phase I of the Greening Greenfield campaign was to research our options, and to raise funds so that we could join ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection program and conduct a Greenfield Energy Audit, create a brochure, logo, and web site, and hold workshops and events.
We raised over $19,000 through an innovative matching grant from Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), and investments by Greenfield residents in green electricity.
Phase II: 2007-2009
The goal of Phase II was to do a Town-wide energy audit – and set Community goals.
We kicked off Phase II in October 2007, at an Ice Cream Social hosted by Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream and Bart’s Café to thank Mayor Forgey and the many people who invested in the green electricity. We brainstormed what a more sustainable Greenfield could look like, and Carlyn Saltman, documentary videographer captured our ideas in an inspiring 3-minute video posted on EarthThrives web site.
We joined ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection program and researched and wrote the Greenfield Energy Audit.
Mayor Forgey set two important goals for 2050. 1) Keep 100% of our energy dollars in the region; 2) Cut climate change emissions by 80%.
We held numerous workshops for homeowners to help them find money to do energy upgrades to their homes, and explored other resources for our community. The Town applied and received FREE energy audits of over 15 of its buildings, and a follow-up grant of approximately $250,000 for energy upgrades. This was the start of many energy upgrades to our municipal buildings that are saving us money every day.
Phase III: 2009-2012
The goal of phase III was to move from “Energy Audit to Action.” The Greenfield Energy Audit motivated us to take the following steps.
1. In 2009 we created the Greenfield 10% Challenge. Our goal was to encourage 10% of the residents and businesses to reduce their energy use by 10% by the end of 2010, as a first step to our ultimate goals of reducing climate change emissions 80% by 2050, and keeping our energy dollar local! We achieved this, and are now continuing to encourage people to join. We achieved this goal, and are now working on the next 10% of the households. As of the summer of 2012, over 1300 households have joined.
2. The Town worked toward “Green Community,” designation, and in 2010 Greenfield was in the first group of towns in the Massachusetts to be designated. One requirement is that the Town must reduce its municipal energy use by 20% by 2013. In 2012 the town brought a 2 Megawatt solar farm (photovoltaic) on line, which generates about 50% of our municipal electricity, and saves the town about $235,000 annually. To see daily, monthly, yearly production look for useful links on the Town web site www.greenfield-ma.gov. In 2011, GG and the Town received the Governor Patrick’s Leading by Example Award for our collaborative efforts.
3. GG and the Town received a grant to launch its Energy Smart Home program, which offers residents support to find funds to do home energy upgrades.
4. Collective learning. GG continues to bring informative and inspirational films, speakers and workshops to town to foster discussion and collective learning. Our spring film and discussion series has gained a reputation for quality.
5. Changing our name again. To more clearly reflect our broad interests in sustainability, the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee's name was changed to simply Greening Greenfield.
Phase IV: 2012-2015
The goal of phase IV was to work with the Town to create a town-wide Plan & continue our work with collective learning and working with youth.
1. In early 2012, the Town Council created a Sustainability Advisory Committee.
2. Fall 2012 The Town committed to making its next Master Plan a Sustainability Master Plan, and infusing it with the principals of sustainability.
3. 2013-14-Many people in Town became engaged in a town-wide master planning process.
4. January 2015, Sustainable Greenfield, Greenfield's Master Plan was published.
5. Sustainability Advisory Committees name was changed to the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee.
6. Collective learning and Youth programs continued.
Phase V: 2016 onward
The goal of phase V is to work with everyone to move Sustainable Greenfield to reality & continue our work with collective learning and working with youth.
See "Our Accomplishments" below for a LONG version of our activities including film and workshop topics and titles.
Local Access to Valley Arts (LAVA)
Exploring & Creating History Ourselves (ECHO) project
To hear the oral histories telling of the beginnings of Greening Greenfield
(recorded in 2021-22)
Greening Greenfield Energy Committee / Greening Greenfield
Accomplishments - Chronological listing
– 2006 –
Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC) was formed.
Mayor Forgey signed the Mayors for Climate Protection Agreement.
– 2007 –
Greening Greenfield (GGEC) campaign launched (Collaborative agreement signed between GGEC and Mayor Forgey).
First Low Carbon Diet action study group held by GGEC.
Ice Cream Social – First GGEC visioning meeting. Over seventy 70 people who had signed on to the New England Wind Fund helped raise $12,000, then celebrated and shared their visions of a sustainable future.
Step It Up Campaign - Bill McKibben's first national grassroots climate change event. Over 50 people attended an event at the Greenfield Solar Store.
MA Legislation celebrations: Global Warming Solutions Act; Green Communities Act; Green Jobs Bill and more was passed! (GGEC advocated for the passing of this legislation).
– 2008 –
GGEC promoted the idea of a PV Solar Park in the Greenfield Industrial Park.
GGEC worked with the Town and the Town applied for FREE building energy audits from MA Division of Energy Resources (DOER), making the town eligible for grants from the state for energy upgrades to town-owned buildings.
GG – Mayor Forgey passed a resolution making a commitment for the town to implement ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection program. 60 people attended. CLICK HERE for resolution.
March- Homeowner workshop offered for the first time by GGEC. Info on audits, financing etc gathered and distributed. 40 attended.
Town Council endorsed the PVCEP (Pioneer Valley Clean Energy Plan).
Greening Greenfield Energy Committee logo, brochure, web site, and “Carbon pledge/save $” information was unveiled.
Turtle Island Medicine Show, a giant puppet show, was presented by GGEC to an audience of six hundred people.
State, Town & GG launched the Idle Reduction campaign.
Two Low Carbon Diet groups met in area churches organized by GGEC.
Homeowner workshop was held for the 2nd time by GGEC. The energy analysis sheet was announced. Seventy-five people attended.
GGEC worked with the Town, and the Town joined the Franklin Regional Council of Government’s (FRCOG) effort to bring an Energy Service Company (ESCO) to Franklin County. The ESCO offers full service audit, recommendations, financing, construction and monitoring. There was no direct cost to the town. They are paid out of the energy savings.
Town Energy Audit, Part 1 (Municipal report) was researched and written by GGEC and the Town, was presented to Town staff, and Town Council
Greenfield receives $250,000 grant from MA DOER for building energy upgrades as a direct result of building energy audits secured in January, 2008.
– 2009 –
Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC) name was changed to Greening Greenfield (GG)
We started our "Green Hero" series and a partnership with the Recorder - shining a light on people in our community who were inspiring us! Hit HOME for links to heroes.
Barak Obama was sworn in as President of USA. Stimulus money for energy efficiency, renewables, fuel efficient vehicles and more was announced.
PV – new tax rebates from the Feds. 30% of the cost of a PV system, with no cap was made available to be claimed. The rebate could be spread over two years.
Greenfield Energy Audit, Part I & II, which was researched and written by GG and the Town, was presented to the general public, and feedback collected.
2050 Goals were set by Mayor Forgey: 1) To reduce climate change emissions by 80%; 2) Zero dollars to be spent on energy leave the region.
Field Trip to McNeil Station in Burlington, a 50 MW biomass facility, was taken.
Homeowner Workshop was offered for the 3rd time. It was held at GCTV and taped to a capacity audience of seventy-five people. David Knowles and Marc Kaufmann were the presenters.
STEM training (Savings Through Energy Management), organized by GG and the Greenfield Interfaith Council, was offered in over ten Greenfield churches.
Expanded Learning Time (ELT) program on climate change solutions was offered at the Middle School for eight weeks, three times per week.
Film & Discussion Series. GG offered a 6-week series at the Greenfield Public Library. Books were placed on library shelves relating to presented film.
GG co-sponsored two workshops for business people on resources to reduce energy use and save money. We worked with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Center for Eco-Technology (CET) on the March workshop; and with Rep. Kulik and Department of Energy Resources (DOER) on the April workshop.
Biomass 101, Why Wood? GG organized a workshop in collaboration with CET, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), Co-op Power, a local non-profit, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC). Speakers included a UMass professor and a representative from the Department of Conservation and Resources.(DCR).
Greenfield 10% Challenge was launched at the Green Fair. A partnership with the Recorder was launched through their Green Pages; a logo and lawn signs were created, and the GG website updated.
Mayoral Debate on Sustainability, moderated by Bob Pacquette, WFCR Morning Edition host, was organized by GG.
Four Rivers Energy Extravaganza (FREE) was held by Four Rivers Charter School students. (A 10% Challenge partner)
10% Challenge for Greenfield businesses was launched. New partners signed on to 10% Challenge: Community Action, Greenfield Business Association, YMCA, Greenfield Schools, and many more.
The Town of Greenfield signed on to a certfied Energy Services Company (ESCO) with Siemens Technologies to deliver energy savings on Town-owned buildings. The energy audit began in August.
One Gallon Challenge, GGEC hosted the start of 100-mile efficiency rally. Six cars drove from Greenfield to Boston GreenFest.
The Town of Greenfield applied for MA Green Communities Designation, which would make the Town eligible for state funding and more. The Greenfield application was the first one filed in Massachusetts.
GGEC organized the seminar "Why is 350 the Most Important Number in the World?" The 350.org explained that scientists believe that if we do not reduce CO2 in our atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we would cause catastrophic feedback loops to unstoppable climate change. This campaign was created by Bill McKibben.
Homeowner workshop: Deep Energy Retrofits & Utility Programs were offered by the Western Massachusetts Green Consortium, Beyond Green, and WMECO.
GGEC co-sponsored Climate Action Carnival, a 350.org event organized by Sandra Boston and area groups. Over three hundred (300) people attended.
GGEC launched a Study Group to prepare for Greenfield Master Planning by reading the 2008 Greenfield Energy Audit, ICLEI's Sustainability Planning Tool kit, and invited planners from Keene and Easthampton to talk about what they did in their towns.
Greenfield Energy Audit was posted on the GG web site. The sustainable plan section of the web site was updated and people were invited to make comments, add resources etc. (FYI: Nobody commented.)
Workshop held for renters on how to save energy. This GG workshop was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA).
Greenfield 10% Challenge reached the half-way mark. Four hundred(400) households signed up to reduce their energy use by 10% by the end of 2010.
First Greenfield 10% Challenge New Years Party was held.
Greenfield Energy Audit Study Group began to meet.
GG received a grant from the Chorus Foundation via Center for Ecological Technology (CET) for its 10% Challenge efforts.
Awakening the Dreamer & Changing the Dream Symposium was offered by GG and the Pachamama Alliance.
Greenfield Energy Report Card published. It showed that Residents were saving money by reducing their energy use in their homes, and are helping everyone to move toward achieving out 2050 goals.
What is a Rain Garden? workshop was offered by Ed Himlan, Massachusetts Watershed Council, on rain gardens, low impact design, keeping our rivers clean, replenishing our water table and repairing the Earth. Partners included the Greenfield Library, several watershed councils and gardening clubs.
Greenfield was designated a Green Community – first in the state!
Greenfield joined EPA’s New England Community Energy Challenge. 84% of survey respondees said that the 10% Challenge had helped them change their behavior and helped them reduce their energy use.
GG joins Transition Towns, an international grassroots movement.
New businesses join our 10% Challenge. Major 10% Challenge Partners to date: Recorder, YMCA, Four Rivers School, Community Action, Greenfield Business Association (GBA), Town of Greenfield Schools, Sandri Companies, Greenfield Community College, Baystate Franklin Medical Center.
GG offers a workshop to members of the Landlords Business Association (LBA) about how to find money to reduce energy use and upgrade their properties.
Greenfield receives Gov. Patrick's Leading by Example Award for its efforts to reduce energy use and move toward sustainability. "The Leading by Example Awards" recognize outstanding efforts among Commonwealth agencies, public higher education institutions, and municipalities that have established and implemented policies and programs resulting in significant and demonstrable energy and environmental benefits."
The Barr Foundation awards Greenfield and Serrafix Corp (an environmental consulting and venture capital firm), a grant so that they can work together to develop energy-saving strategies to achieve a 20% reducton in energy use in public, residential, and commercial buildings by 2020.
GG co-sponsors event held by Just Roots to envision how people would like to see the Town Farm used, as a cornerstone of a sustainable food movement for Greenfield.
GG offered a Save $$ - Save Energy workshop for renters, homeowners and landlords on how to find money to do energy upgrades to their homes. GCTV posted a video of the workshop.
GG released a one-stop-shopping guide, "How to Find $$ for an Energy Upgrade," and supporting video.
GG launched a Transition Town effort in Greenfield by hosting a discussion and the movie "In Transition." The movie was produced by the Transition Towns movement, which aims to help communities transition to a fossil fuel free world. Over eighty (80) people attended.
10% Challenge Success! We exceeded our goal of getting 10% of the households in Greenfield to pledge to cut their energy use by 10% by the end of 2010. Nine hundred (900) households signed up. The Recorder donated a free full page ad to celebrate.
Winsert Workshop. GG hosted its first hands-on workshop teaching people how to make insider storm windows called 'winserts." A 2-page handout on how to do it, and where to find the materials video of how to build the frame was offered.
- 2011 -
Greenfield Energy Report Card published. It showed that Residents were saving money by reducing their energy use in their homes, thereby helping everyone to move toward achieving out 2050 goals.
Greenfield's Past - Greenfield's Future workshop was offered with Pioneer Valley Institute (PVI) as partner, to bring Dr. John Mullin, UMass Planner, to Greenfield to learn about our past, and vision / brainstorm our future.
GG partnered with the Town of Greenfield & FRCOG to bring Dr. David Cash, Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and the Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), to talk about Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, which laid out how we would cut climate change emissions by 25% by 2020.
During our Spring Film Series we showed three movies and held discussions at the YMCA in Greenfield:
“A Convenient Truth”, about ideas carried out in Curitiba, Brazil, to address myriad ecological problems present and future;
“Dirt”, about how this vital resource can be nurtured; and
“What’s on Your Plate,” where school children from the city learn how food is produced, both industrially and organically.
The fourth gathering was a panel discussion with several of our co-sponsors. Over a hundred (100) people attended one or more of the films.
Local Food: Building Our Delicious Future. GG partnered with Pioneer Valley Institute (PVI) to bring John Waite, CDC director; Tom Clarke, Clarkdale Fruit Farms; Jason Dean, Foster's Super Market; and Glenn Brunetti, Chartwell's Food Services to Greenfield to talk about how we can create jobs and increase the amount of local food we eat from 5% to much more.
The Town receives an EPA Climate Showcase Community grant. This 3-year $160,900 grant aimed to help residents find funds to do energy upgrades to their home. GGEC co-wrote the grant and collaborated with the Town on the three-year Greenfield Energy Smart Home program. This program aimed to urge renters and homeowners to take advantage of Mass Save, a program that the utility companies had created, but were not marketing, as well as other sources of funding offered by the Dept. of Ag, and local Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to bring housing up to code, reduce energy use, and save money.
Greenfield puts its Town Farm into an APR (Agricultural Preservation Restriction) and Just Roots received a 15-year contract to manage the 60-acre farm on Leyden Road.
Free Money for Energy Upgrades workshop is held by GG explaining how to find money for energy upgrades for renters, landlords and homeowners. Greenfield's Energy Smart Home program is kicked off with this workshop.
Tropical storms, Irene and Lee dropped over 16" of rain on the region causing floods that destroyed roads, bridges, and farmland, cuts off power to thousands of people for days, and caused sewage treatment plants to fail. The media told us to expect more frequent severe storms like this as a consequence of global warming.
Energy Smart Home program's door-to-door canvassing began in Precinct 8.
GG held its first community-wide forum called: Creating Greenfield's Future: Our Food, Economy, and Community. The over one-hundred and thirty (130) attendees gave high marks to the event held at new GCC facility. The event was kicked off by Mayor Martin; Jim Barry, who represented Gov. Patrick's office; and Ben Hewitt, Author of The Town that Food Saved. Attendees then discussed our future in 10 workshops. A report on the ideas generated was written and given to the Planning Board for consideration during our Master Planning process in 2012.
Winter/Spring Film & Discussion Series. The following films were shown:
Gasland explored the environmental impacts of fracking, more. . . .
A Sea Change A grandfather and grandson explore the mystery and the beauty of our oceans and the changes being caused by climate change and what we can do, more. . . .
Carbon Nation Carbon Nation is a climate change solutions movie that has played in mainline theaters across the nation. It offers inspiration and invites action, more. . . .
March, 2012. . .
The Growing Edge This film by Donna Read and Starhawk shows the many ways permaculture principles can be incorporated in our communities with concrete ideas that are exciting and attainable. The goal of permaculture is more than sustainability, more. . . .
Annual Energy Use Report Card published. Our report card documents our average annual household energy use for heat and electricity as a way of assessing progress of our 10% Challenge as well as progress toward reducing our energy use by 80% by 2050. We are making progress in some areas, but not in others.
Home Show & Green Fair –Display & Workshops. At the FC Chamber of Commerce's annual Home Show, we had an informational table on our 10% Challenge, and held two workshops with the Town of Greenfield to support our collaborative programs, Energy Smart Homes and Energy Smart Businesses, which aim to help people find funds to do energy upgrades to their homes or businesses.
Science & Sustainability Expo. 1st Annual: Over 150 children, parents, volunteers and visitors participated in our first Expo, which showcased the work of educators and youth in grades 4-12. Teams participated in the competitive KidWind Challenge, and the non-competitive Youth & Educator’s Showcase, and the Green “Dollhouse” Challenge, more. . . .
Other Collaborative efforts and co-sponsorships:
We worked with the Town of Greenfield on Energy Smart Homes, Energy Smart Businesses, the annual Home Show/Green Fair, the Main Street beautification project, and helped define and create a new Sustainablity Advisory Committee. We also co-sponsored numerous events such as the Emergency Preparedness Meetings, To Bee or Not to Bee puppet show, and readings organized by John Burkowitz.
July 2012 - June 2013
Winter/Spring Film & Discussion series ran November through April and the following films were presented:
Save our Town, Save our Future explored the fate and potential of small towns in the US with Tom Hylton, reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner, as he revisits the towns he grew up in.
The Atomic States of America This emotionally powerful documentary film is based on Kelly McMaster’s memoir about growing up in a nuclear reactor community in Shirley, Long Island. Through interviews with nuclear engineers, the NRC, citizens, doctors and employees of Entergy and Entergy, the film explores the risks and opportunities of the nuclear industry.
Reclaiming Democracy is an inspiring film with Thomas Linzey and Shannon Biggs about how they have worked with more than 100 communities to take decision making out of the hands of corporations and bring it back to their communities. Their strategy is radical and empowering!
Fixing the Future (March 27) In this PBS film David Brancaccio examines how co-operatives across the country are building productive relationships between businesses, banks, farmers and residents. Co-operatives offer a hopeful opportunity for reclaiming our local economies.
Creating Greenfield's Future: Visions for 2050 GG's 2nd biennial forum was a community conversation about what Greenfield and Franklin County may be like in 2050: "Planning today can shape our future!"
The topics and presenters included: Food Security: Abrah Dresdale, Adjunct Faculty, Farm and Food Systems, Greenfield Community College. Buildings and Energy: Simi Hoque, Assistant Professor, Building Systems, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Schools and Education: Joshua Hornick, Teacher, Four Rivers Charter Public School. Health Services: Donna Stern, RN, Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Over one hundred people participated.
Science & Sustainability Expo 2nd Annual event for youth 3rd to 12th grades, parents, and general public was held. The Expo provided a place for students to display their sustainability-related projects. Participants tested their small-scale, working wind turbines in the KidWind competition, exhibited model sustainable homes or landscape in the Green Dollhouse Challenge, and displayed environmental, ecological, energy, and sustainability-related projects in the Sustainability Showcase, Click here.
Display & Workshops at Little e, the Franklin County Home Show & Green Fair. GG had an informational table and organized 10 workshops that supported our mission of working toward sustainability. Topics included: Save Money and Make your Home Cozy, Reduce Your Lawn & Increase Your Leisure and more.
Other Collaborative efforts and co-sponsorships during 2012-13:
Several Greening Greenfield members were invited to sit on the Greenfield Sustainable Master Plan Advisory Committee. We continued to work with the Town of Greenfield on the Energy Smart Homes and Energy Smart Businesses efforts. We joined the Greenfield Business Association (GBA) to create the Rejuvenators, a downtown beautification project, and also worked with the GBA to enhance the “green” aspects of their spring Little e. We also co-sponsored numerous events such as Arnie Gunderson's Updates on Fukushima and Paul Cawood Hellmund, Director of The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design, on Greenfield Revitalization & Beautification: Strategies for Ecological Resilience.
Science & Sustainability Expo GG held its 4th annual event for youth 3rd to 12th grades, parents, and general public. The Expo provided an opportunity for students to display their sustainability-related projects, participate in the KidWind competition, and exhibit Green Dollhouse Challenge model homes. For more information CLICK HERE.
Greening Greenfield Workshops at the “Little e” April 26-27th celebration of Earth Day. We offered eight workshops about “greening” our homes, yards, and gardens at the Franklin County’s annual home show. Topics ranged from asking the house doctor on how to save money on our utility bills to how to raise chickens and turkeys in your back yard. For a full listing CLICK HERE.
July 2014 - June, 2015
Our film and discussion series, which ran from fall through the winter, continued with our partner, the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice. Films shown included Bag-It; Open Sesame-The Story of Seeds; Gold Fever; and the Ethics of Fracking. For short descriptions of these films, CLICK HERE.
Science & Sustainability Expo. We held our 4th annual event for youth 3rd to 12th grades, parents, and general public. The Expo provided an opportunity for students to display their sustainability-related projects, participate in the KidWind competition, and exhibit Green Dollhouse Challenge model homes. For more information CLICK HERE.
GG created a TIME CAPSULE and buried it in Town Common - to be retrieved and read in 2065. CLICK HERE.
Greening Greenfield Workshops at the “Little e” in celebration of Earth Day. We offered eight workshops about “greening” our homes, yards, and gardens at the Franklin County’s annual home show. Topics ranged from Simple Living to Strategies for increasing access to healthy local food. A full listing can be found CLICK HERE.
July 2015 - June 2016
Nature Walk series was created. Our goal was to offer people the opportunity to connect with the natural wonders of the world in our own backyard, with the recognition that people will protect what they love. Walks included such topics as Winter Tree ID in Highland Park; Signs of Spring at Bennett Meadow; Spring Ephemeral Flowers at the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area; and Migrating Birds at Poet’s Seat.
Working with Youth – NEW Water Unit! As we put our Science and Sustainability Expo to bed, a new collaboration emerged with the Greenfield 5th graders. We collaborated with the 5th grade teachers and the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), and Friends of the Green River, to expand their unit on water to include the larger issues of sustainability and keeping our water clean. The 5-week program was kicked off by an assembly with CRWC and Green River folks followed by all one hundred and forty (140) 5th graders getting involved in the Green River Clean-up. They also learned about watersheds, how to measure water use at home, did artwork and much more.
Greening Greenfield Workshops at the Better Greener Living Show in celebration of Earth Day. We offered sixteen workshops on “greening” our homes, yards, and gardens. Topics ranged from building a Zero-Net Energy Home to Landscaping for Pollinators. For a full listing CLICK HERE.
Greening Greenfield's 10th Anniversary Celebration. We celebrated our 10th Anniversary at the Arts Block with food from local food vendors, a slide show of our activities and Green Heroes, and a presentation of three awards of people who have taken the ball and run with it: Carole Collins, Director of Greenfield’s Department of Energy and Sustainability; Amy Donovan, recycling and composting advocate extraordinaire at the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District; and Jessica Van Steensburg and Jay Lord at the Just Roots community farm. Recorder Article, Thank you My Turn, click for slide show of some of our accomplishments and Green Heroes over the past 10 years.
Composting in the Schools. After three years of effort and collaboration with the Greenfield Schools, the DPW, and Amy Donovan at the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, the schools received a grant and composting has begun! Each school is collecting and sending food waste from their cafeterias to Martins Farm and reducing trash from the cafeteria by about 80%. Additionally styrofoam trays have been replaced with compostible paper trays. Many thanks to all!
Green Heroes. A new parternship was created with GCTV on our Green Hero series. People can now get to meet people throughout the county who are inspiring us through 5-10-minute video!
MA Green Communities goal of reducing municipal energy use by 20% has been reached and exceeded by 2%!! Many thanks to Carole Collins, Greenfield Energy and Sustainable Director for her persistence in seeking and securing grants, and working with Town staff to achieve this goal.
- FY2016-2017 -
July 2016 - June 2017
Film & Discussion series with Traprock Center for Peace and Justice’s kicked off in the Fall with Michael Moore’s acclaimed Where to Invade Next. In the winter we held three films about FOOD! GLORIOUS FOOD! Films included Edible City, Food Chains, The Starfish Throwers. CLICK HERE for film details.
EcoLiving workshops. We held 16 well-attended workshops again this year at the Franklin County Home Show, which was held the weekend near Earth Day. Half focused on home and energy, and the other half on yards and gardens. CLICK HERE for workshops offered this year.
- FY 2017-2018 -
September 2017-June 2018
Film & Discussion series: Sensing a need to give people hope, in the fall we showed Breakthrough in Renewable Energy in the fall. For the rest of our series we chose Youth, Clean Energy and a Future of Hope as our theme. We showed films highlighting inspiring actions of the youth around the world including; Earth Guardians 3-films about groups of youngsters who are suing the federal government for failing to guarantee them a livable planet and future; Landfill Harmonics, amazing story of a youth orchestra using instruments made from things gleaned from the landfill prove that children who are given an opportunity for growth can exceed all expectations, even their own; 5-inspirational shorts about Youth; and Winds of Change, a documentary film of Block Island’s new wind farm made by Greenfield’s own Four Rivers Public Charter School students. We organized these films in collaboration with the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice. CLICK HERE for film details.
Youth:At the Greenfield Middle School the 5th grade teachers added the raising of brook trout project to their science program, with our financial support. CLICK HERE.
We launched a NEW effort in the Greenfield high school, working with the drama teacher and others on a theater project about climate change solutions.
We continued to meet with the Greenfield Superintendent and others to identify the steps needed to make it possible for our schools to apply for Green Ribbon Schools recognition.
Over the past 12 months, almost a thousand (1,000) people participated in one of our many events and programs that include films, nature walks, EcoLiving Workshops, advocacy, and working with 5th grade teachers. We also continued to support the composting in our schools, the third year of a 3-year grant; participated in the planning of town building projects, such as the Library, to ensure that they will be the greenest possible; and continued to participate in Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee (SGIC) to ensure that our master plan is implemented. We also launched a NEW effort to update our web site so that it is more engaging, and most importantly that it is compatible with new hand-held devices.
- FY 2018-2019 -
July 2018 - June 2019
Nature Walk series
Our nature walks for this year included a fern walk at Mt. Toby, an exploration of the Montague Plains, a birding walk at the Greenfield Community College meadows and in the early spring we ended with a feast of wildflowers discovered on a walk through the Hawley Bog.
We launched our Planting for Pollinators campaign, with several successful and well attended events, all of which were taped live and can be found on our GG Youtube channel: Pollinators: Silent Spring and Rachel Carson’s Legacy, presented by Pat Hynes, Director, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice; A Pollinator Corridor for Greenfield, Tom Sullivan, Pollinators Now! Gardening for Wildlife: Why Native Plants Matter to Songbirds, Desiree L. Narrango, Urban Wildlife Ecologist. A large number of attendees stated that they were planting pollinator gardens and asked for more information. We created an extensive list of resources on our Greening Greenfield website.
Reusable Bag campaign
Greening Greenfield worked with the Friends of Reusable Bags and the Greenfield City Council to pass a plastic bag ban (to take effect January, 2020). The GG Friends of Reusable Bags worked with many other groups to provide reusable donated, purchased, or volunteer-made re-purposed bags to residents who might not have affordable access to such bags. They held a well-attended workshop on converting old t-shirts into creative, sturdy reusable bags. CLICK HERE for more.
We held a Drawdown workshop at the Greenfield Public Library where we engaged the community, including youth, in readings of Drawdown, a book that pulls together 100 of the most effective solutions to address climate change. The large audience came together for a short review and then broke into five working groups to brainstorm ways they can become actively engaged in inserting effective solutions into their daily lives.
We continued to be involved in the Greenfield schools, supporting the 5th grade’s unit on water and raising trout, and participated in the Green River Clean-up.
July 2019 - June 2020
Things looked different for us this year since, like everyone else, Greening Greenfield had to adapt to COVID-19. By March most folks were sequestering and fully aware of the dangerous situation the world was facing, and we began holding our meetings remotely on ZOOM. Our annual retreat was held outside, safely distancing and our activities became necessarily altered in format. Even so, we have remained steadfast in our efforts to “green” our city and county.
We helped to organize and participated in the youth-led Global Climate Strike Action in Greenfield as well as continued to be involved in the Greenfield schools.
November, 2019 - March, 2020
The 5th Grade Trout Raising project started with arrival of fish eggs in the Fall after which the students immediately set to studiously observing, testing the Ph factor of the water, and studying all aspects of their life cycle in their Science classes. However, when the school shut down in early March, all were very disappointed when their science teacher had to retrieve the small fish in their now abandoned home in the classroom fish tank and do an early release in the Green River.
Nature Walk series
We explored beaver habitat at Satan’s Kingdom on a brilliant Fall day in Northfield and, just before everything shut down, we bore the chill breezes at the Turners Fall canal to watch and identify a variety of water fowl flying above, landing on and swimming in the icy waters in February.
Prior to shutting down for COVID-19, our talks included: Steve Jackson of the Native Plant Trust presenting on “Fall Planting of Native Trees and Shrubs;” Larry Cochran of Western MA Pollinators Network talking about putting a native garden to bed for the winter in a way that supports pollinators, “Gardening for Pollinators, Helping Bees & Butterflies Survive Winter;" Joan Milam, a research scientist and UMass Amherst faculty member, telling us how planting specific trees along our streets, and in our parks and yards, can make a big difference in “Trees and their Roles in the Lives of Native Bees.” Finally, we held a weekend retreat at Woolman Hill with the theme “How to Design Native Habitats for People, Pollinators and the Planet.” Desiree Narango, a research scientist, kicked off the weekend with a talk on her latest research on what makes a yard friendly for pollinators and birds, and we included workshops and in which Connor Stedman, ecological designer, and climate resilience educator at AppleSeed Permaculture, worked with participants over the weekend on how to bring this vision to reality.
Theater with LAVA
We worked with Local Access to Valley Arts (LAVA) and presented “Lighting the Way" Climate Change Theatre Action Greenfield, part of a worldwide series of public readings and performances of short climate change plays presented to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings. The last event was a collaboration with Racial Justice Rising; CLICK HERE.
Resuable Bags campaign
We held one last Bag making event at the Winter Market on February 1st, just before COVID-19 closed everything down. CLICK HERE
- FY 2020-2021 -
July, 2020 - June, 2021
Film & Discussion series
It became increasingly obvious that in working to mitigate climate change, the ultimate ‘greening’ work must encompass the recognition that everyone is affected by this impending disaster and some communities more than others. Thus, we expanded our efforts to work more closely with other socially conscious groups and expanded our partnerships.
In collaboration with Racial Justice Rising we held an online presentation of The Harvest, a documentary about the lives of youth helping their families survive as migrant farm workers in the US. The presentation culminated with an enlightening discussion led by Claudia Quintero, Esq., an attorney with migrant workers at the Central West Justice Center in Springfield.
We co-sponsored another film with Racial Justice Rising – Mossville, an in-depth look at how communities of color are frequently targeted as sites for polluting industries and the impact this has upon the residents. This was followed by an online discussion led by Martha (Marty) Nathan.
GMS Growing Edge Garden was created in the fall! A dozen eager 5th and 6th graders dug in to clear out two previously developed raised beds on the north side of the GMS building. They raked leaves, measured rows and planted garlic and herbs in the newly cleared beds. Several of the students also cleared the area on the front side of the building to plant tulips around the brick Greenfield Middle School sign. They had a full spring bounty to share in the Spring. The garden club has now taken root.
Our pollinator efforts grew as we made the following on-line presentations and films available to all.
Where the Wild Things Are: Native Plants for Pollinators, a talk by Dan Jaffe Wilder and a film on how building soil health helps reduce the climate crisis by sequestering carbon;
Kiss the Ground, a film about restoring health to the earth globally; and
Hope for Wild, a talk by Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, The Living Landscape, and recently released Nature’s Best Hope, a new approach to conservation that starts in your yard. He shares stunning photos he took in his yard, and fascinating stories of moths, birds, and Butterflies and more.
We launched our 2nd pollinator campaign to support building habitat for pollinators, birds and beauty in Greenfield, which also addresses the climate crisis, called 70% Native Plants for Birds: Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Plant count! On our web, learn about the connection between pollinators, birds and native plants; what plants are best and where to buy them; and watch a video where Dr. Desiree Narango talks about her research where she discovered that Chickadees need 70% of the plant foliage within 50 meters of their nests to be native to our area to successfully raise a nest of four chicks.
We supported one of six (6) Bee Sculptures unveiled on the streets of Greenfield for Earth Day. Greenfield’s goal is to become known for its art and support of pollinators!
FORUM: Housing is a Human Right.
March – May 2021
One of our major projects this past year was our biennial forum, which was focused on Housing, and held on Zoom over 3 months, starting with our keynote event in March, “How did we get here and where are we going?” Our workshop series covered a wide range of topics from homelessness and vulnerable populations, to successful affordable housing models, many utilizing clean energy, and various aspects of financing. All can be viewed on the Housing is a Human Right website.
- FY 2021-2022 -
July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022
We found ourselves continuing to adapt to the ever-changing COVID virus that is still part of all our lives. Our annual retreat was held outside again this spring and our meetings this fall were continued on Zoom. Our partnerships blossomed.
Reusable Bag Campaign
Source to Sea Bag-making workshop. Our ongoing Reusable Bag campaign continued the effort of making and distributing reusable shopping bags and re-imagining how to reduce our waste.
We were excited to get out in the open air together again with three walks guided by Pat Serrentino. These included Bennett Meadow to discuss a variety of habitats in the Fall; the meadows at Greenfield Community College to explore more habitats, this time in the Winter and, by popular demand, back to Bennett Meadow in the Spring to observe birds and ephemerals.
GMS Growing Edge In the Fall, the young gardeners picked up where they left off, harvesting the last of the husk cherries and strawberries, putting the plants “to bed” and clearing a large swarth of bittersweet from the brick frontage of the school building. Three (3) new raised beds were added along the south side of the school to expand the planting of more vegetables in line with the old beds. Come Spring, another planting area was added with help of Nolembuka. This area was designated a pollinator garden on the northwest corner of the school campus, to be bordered by a hedgerow on that border of the property. In partnership with The Greenfield Tree Committee, a tree was planted in memory of a school employee who had died this past year, and we continued our support through the financing of a field trip to the Nolembeka Three Sisters garden and new plants and equipment.
Trout raising. After the disappointment of having to place the young trout into the Green River a few months early when COVID broke out in the winter of 2020, a fresh batch of eggs were delivered ready for a full cycle of observing, study, and caretaking until the finale of returning them to the River in the Spring.
Save the Connecticut River - Hydro Projects Relicensing mini-webinar was held in January. GG invited Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Natalie Blais and CRC River Steward, Andrea Donlon to discuss the FirstLight relicensing effort and discuss how the public can become involved in the relicensing effort and make our voices heard for the health of the river by engaging with MA Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) on the crafting of a Water Quality Certificate, which will become part of the license issued by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) CLICK HERE our robust web resources, including link to webinar.
The film, Revolution Generation, billed as "A kinetic, perceptive documentary of a generation and why they are who they are... this film is also, as Josh Tickell says, 'A how-to manual for saving the earth," was offered to be viewed by the public on line starting on Earth Day and available for one month.