2018 Forum Workshops
This interactive workshop addresses two questions: 1) What will it take to change the story about how to end hunger in our community and our country? and, 2) What can we do to help Franklin County become a more food secure community? We will expand the view of what hunger is, what it looks like in our community, and its root causes, including racism, poverty, and institutionalized inequality. We will explore what is currently being done in our community to “feed the need” (address immediate hunger) and to “shorten the line” (reduce the need for a parallel food system to feed the hungry). Participants will leave with concrete steps they can take to address root causes of hunger in Franklin County. Workshop Organizers: Franklin County Resource Network’s Hunger Task Force and the Franklin County Food Council.
Connection to the Land: The Connection between Trauma in Human Beings and Trauma to the Land
Strong Oak, founder of Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition, Inc. will lead a Circle with a Talking Stick where everyone will explore indigenous understanding about the connection between harm done to the land and its direct correlation to the harm done in human relationships. Participants will also learn about food as medicine and the need for reciprocity between plants and humans for survival. They will also learn that colonization of land resources is directly linked to colonization of indigenous communities. Food as medicine and the need for reciprocity between plants and humans for survival, as well as the link between colonization of indigenous communities and colonization of land resources will be discussed.
Building Bridges and Engaging Communities in Conversations
Paula Green founded the renowned Karuna Peace Center. She worked with residents of Leverett to instigate Hands Across the hills. In this workshop you will explore with those assembled the structures and elements that make for a successful conversation of difficult issues and how these events should be promoted and facilitated. We will also explore how to expand our reach over time, beginning with those most willing to meet across controversial local or national divides, and using such initial meetings to enlarging the pool of participants. Paula will share examples from Leverett, Northampton, and Amherst, as well as elsewhere in the country and world, as potential models for Greenfield and smaller towns in Franklin County.
War and Warming: Can We Save the Planet Without Taking on the Military?
Pat Hynes, long-time peace and environmental activist, author, engineer, and director of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice will engage participants and strategizing on how to join two interrelated and crucial issues – militarism and climate change - into our activism, in light of the fact that the US military is the largest institutional contributor to climate change in the world. She feels that our efforts to slow climate change must include taking on the military, using strategic messages and campaigns to expose both war and warming as our greatest threats to survival as a planet and a people.
During the November 2018 election, you had the opportunity to vote on a non-binding referendum for single payer health care in Massachusetts. This workshop, led by Judy Atkins, will discuss the actions that Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) has done in support of this effort thus far, encourage people to share their stories about their present health care coverage and look to the future of single payer legislation nationally and in this state.
Building the 21st Century Downtown
In March 2018, the Atlantic published an article that explored the impact of e-commerce and Amazon on places like downtown Greenfield. The article asked, "How can local businesses compete with a company so local it lets people shop from their couches?" This panel led by Lisa Davol of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, will include John Delconte, PhD Candidate, Regional Planning, UMass Amherst; Erin MacLean, Co-owner, LOOT, Turners Falls; Kate Hunter, Co-owner, Greenfield Gallery; Tess Perrone Poe, Founder of Beehive Sewing Studio and Workspace, Northampton; Alison Williams, Owner of Flourish, Turners Falls; and Natalie Blais, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. They will explore the impact of e-commerce on small businesses, trends impacting downtowns and commercial districts, efforts by small businesses to stay competitive, and what business organizations and public sector organizations are doing to keep downtowns vibrant.
Afternoon WorkshopsHealthy Economies, Healthy People: The Role of Farming Economy in Social Well-Being
Our social, environmental and economic problems are of one piece. Social unrest, environmental degradation and economic displacement are all outgrowths of a rapacious economic model that devalues resources, both human and material resulting in environmental decay and human despair. A regional rural economy is the human inheritance providing important useful roles for every segment of society. Our modern, mechanized ways of farming and eating are detrimental, socially and environmentally. Rabbi Andrea Cohen Kiener will facilitate a discussion of some of the social and environmental imbalances implicit in the main stream food culture and some of the reclaiming and rebalancing we can do in the Pioneer Valley.
It Ain’t Over Yet: Nuclear Waste and Social Justice
New England's closed and closing nuclear reactors require a solution to the toxic waste that they have created. The nuclear industry's “solution” for its waste problem targets the most vulnerable communities as sites for disposal. Deb Katz, Citizens Awareness Network, will examine the work necessary to undermine the industry's fear-based propaganda and build a coalition to combat it. We will explore the issues of waste disposal and environmental racism to ensure the needs of all are considered fairly.
Archaeology and Healing at the Falls: Indigenous Life, Loss, and Renewal at Wissatinnewag and Peskeompskut
David Brule, president of the Nolumbeka Project, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the history of New England Native peoples,will share some of the exciting findings and outcomes of the ongoing collaboration between the Historical Commissions of 5 towns and 4 New England tribes. The focus on the 1676 massacre at the Falls has resulted in a ground-breaking template for inter-tribal and community collaboration envisioning safe-guarding the future of Wissatinnewag, the 10,000 year old multi-tribal truce lands at the Falls. There will be time for discussion and questions and to explore opportunities to become involved.
Structural injustice and climate change are intricately connected. Panelists from the Environmental Justice Working Group of the Sugar Shack Alliance and Climate Action Now will draw on the ways in which racial distinctions are used by the powerful to weaken resistance movements and reinforce the status quo. We will discuss what climate action groups can learn from social justice movements and how internalized prejudices can affect the scope and effectiveness of our actions and influence. We will explore ways that movements can work together toward common goals and break down the barriers between us so that our work will be more effective as we move forward.
Want to own a solar system, but don’t own a home, or have a home without good solar access? Don Stone, retired UMASS business school professor, will share Wendell’s story of building the first solar farm in the area owned by residents, many of whom bought into the project with no down payment. Don will explain the process and the financial benefits of ownership. Nancy Hazard, retired Northeast Sustainable Energy Association director, will chair the workshop, and lead a discussion that explores the building of a Solar Cooperative in Eversource territory.
Ecovation Hub: Working toward a Vibrant Green Economy
How can we grow a resilient, sustainable, green economy in New England, and what does it look like? The Ecovation Hub, a tri-county initiative, seeks to answer these questions and is looking for community input to ensure that the businesses that grow in our communities meet our needs and values. Three members of the leadership team, Alex Wilson, Stephen Dotson, and Sarah Kanabay from VT and MA respectively, will kick off the discussion by sharing the Ecovation Hub’s progress to date, and the financial and social benefits of working locally, cooperatively, and collaboratively to develop markets for local products, build affordable homes, and secure funding for these and other efforts.