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Learning How To Transform Our World

    Transforming Our World: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is an interactive and participatory workshop being held the afternoon of Sunday, September 17 at Lifebridge Sanctuary outside of Rosendale and featuring conversation about the local relevance of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and how to be a “Multiplier,” promoting and leading similar conversations in other communities. The training will be led by May East, a sustainability practitioner, educator and designer based at the Findhorn Ecovillage who has received various world leadership awards. The SDGs are a 17-point plan to end poverty, combat climate change, and fight injustice and inequality and are considered by many to be the biggest attempt in the history of the human race, as a whole, to make the world a better place—a plan that 193 governments have agreed on. Admission will be by donation The session is being co-sponsored by Lifebridge Foundation, Mohonk Consultations, RiverTides and Mid-Hudson UNA-USA. Call 845-658-3439 or email info@lifebridge.org for more information.

Solar Is Getting A Whole Lot Easier To Store

    Some tidbits on the renewable energy news of the hour: IKEA is now selling home storage batteries for its solar panels so customers can save solar energy for later use rather than sell the excess back to the grid. There is less energy wasted, less reliance on the grid, and money is saved. Google’s parent company, Alphabet—which is also bringing us the Dandelion technology making geothermal systems affordable in the Hudson Valley—is developing a cutting-edge molten salt technology to store wind and solar power affordably to expand renewables and combat climate change. Finally, New York’s Energy Improvement Corporation is a new program that allows area businesses and multi-family dwellings to finance energy retrofits and solar installations and pay it back on their tax bill with the savings that accrue from their energy improvements. Called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), this financing system is enabled by state law and has been adopted by Ulster County, among other entities statewide. Visit http://energizeny.org/eic for info.

Roof Thatchers Make A Valley Comeback!

    Colin McGhee and his team of roof thatchers began removing the damaged thatched roof on the Dard Hunter Mill at the Gomez Mill House Historic Site outside of Newburgh last month, reviving early 20th century Arts & Crafts designer, papermaker, printer, and author Dard Hunter’s revival of old ways in building a papermaking mill in the style of a Devonshire cottage, last rethatched during a full restoration of the site in 1991. McGhee & Co. are highly regarded masters of the thatching trade. To see more of their work visit www.thatching.com; for more on the Gomez Mill House—site of the oldest standing Jewish dwelling in North America— visit Gomez.org.

Finding The Om in Mom

    Hudson Valley moms are living in a time when they feel like they can “have it all” by continuing to rise both personally and professionally. But for many moms, attempting to “have it all” has a cost in the form of stress, exhaustion, and the never ending feeling of failing and guilt. “Finding the Om in Mom” is the name of a series of special retreats for helping local moms cultivate relaxation, community, and well-being being run throughout the region by mom and author Randi Zinn with a focus on self-care, the cultivation of strong personal and professional relationships, utilization of mindfulness to find calm, clarity and contentment, and the navigation of life as both an entrepreneur and mom. Visit beyondmom.com for full information, including upcoming events and Zinn’s new book coming out this month.

A Cider Summit Between East & West, Big & Small

    East Coast meets West Coast with Understood in Motion 02, a collaboration between Angry Orchard Hard Cider of Orange County and E.Z. Orchards Cidre of Oregon, expert cider apple orchardists. Understood in Motion 02 is being called an expert blend of wild fermentations, resulting in a dry, balanced cider that showcases a bittersweet apple flavor with notes of raw honey and oak and play off both region’s histories of apple growing, wine making, and craft brewing. Moreover, it represents a joint venture between the family-owned, French-methodology of the Oregon cidery and the East Coast’s largest new cider manufacturer owned by Boston Brewing of Samuel Adams fame. Talk about mixing big and littler to move an industry forward.

Releasing Creativity Through Communal Placemaking

    Dawn Bisio’s story is being touted as an example of what RUPCO’s Lace Mill artist housing is doing for midtown Kingston, for the Hudson Valley as a whole, and as an example of how communities can help themselves by helping their creative members. Bisio came north from Westchester County, facing the financial and personal disruptions of divorce, and eventually found housing at The Lace Mill during the project’s second call for residents. The results? Recharged creative juices, a new marriage, and a growing sense of thankfulness for the many gems hidden within the challenges of communal living and sharing an arts-filled life with close neighbors. Moving on from writing into visual art, one of Bisio’s pieces, “Mobile Home,” explores her background as a Korean adoptee; another that allows viewers to see “inside her dreams” was part of last month’s Dirty Laundry exhibit at the former fine lace factory building, renovated into lofts and gallery spaces by RUPCO in recent years as a regional expression of the growing idea of creative placemaking. “It’s exciting to see where we are going,” the revived artist said in a recent interview. “In 10 years from now, who knows what will be happening.”

A Giant Volunteer Fair At SUNY New Paltz

    The Career Resource Center at SUNY New Paltz will be hosting the Ninth Annual Volunteer Fair in the Student Union Multi-Purpose Room on their campus Wednesday, September 13 from 1 to 4pm. The focus is on local, national, and international organizations offering short- and long-term volunteer, service-learning, or post-graduate service opportunities. It has proven to be as strong for local social entrepreneurs and nonprofits seeking to meet hundreds of students interested in meaningful volunteer experiences as it is for community members seeking to volunteer. For info or questions contact Erica Wagner, service learning coordinator in the Career Resource Center at wagnere@newpaltz.edu or 845-257-3266.

A Farm Project With Wide Arms

     Phillies Bridge Farm Project is dedicated to providing a portion of our season’s harvest of fresh vegetables to food insecure households, working with such partner agencies as Hudson River Health Care, Ulster County Healthy Start, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, and the Institute for Family Health. This summer, they their groundbreaking Food Justice program with a grant from the Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley to kick off a Farm to Families (F2F) program that serves people through the county agencies by bringing a hundred people (two busloads!) to the farm on August 31. Next up: college food bank work. Talk about what everyone we know is talking about as the “best kept secret in town,” if not the entire Hudson Valley.

With Harvest Comes The Gleaning Season

    Gleaning is collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers and restaurants for those in need in our community that would otherwise go to waste. Trainings have already started for the season, but it’s still time to sign up for the upcoming gleanings that occur throughout the region’s farms once harvest starts. In collaboration with the Rondout Valley Growers Association’s Farm to Food Pantry Program and Family of Woodstock, UlsterCorps volunteers help out with weekly gleanings at local farms throughout the growing season, typically on Mondays through October or whenever you can. There’s similar programs available in Columbia and Dutchess counties. Volunteers are also needed to assist with regular processing events organized collaboratively with the Rondout Valley Growers Association’s Farm to Food Pantry Program and Family of Woodstock in certified community kitchens preparing and freezing local produce like corn, peppers and broccoli, making apple sauce and tomato sauce, enabling everyone to continue to distribute local produce to local food pantries, shelters and feeding programs throughout the winter months. Call 845-481-0331 for more information. Also start thinking about the huge 2nd Annual Feeding the Hudson Valley event coming up from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, October 7 on the fabulous Walkway Over the Hudson between Poughkeepsie and Highland—a celebration of positive solutions to the issue of food waste. In addition to a free lunch, the event will include live music, expert speakers, local chef demonstrations, educational activities, and resources to create awareness about food waste, food recovery, food waste prevention, and feeding hungry people, not landfills. See you all in the fields!