July 18, 2012


8:30 – 9:00 Informal networking / food and refreshments

9:00 – 9:30 Formal networking / member updates

9:30 – 10:30 pvSustain organizational development discussion

10:30 – 10:50 Discussion about state and federal sustainability initiatives

10:50 – 11:00 Plan next meeting


Informal meeting and conversations. Food and refreshments were provided.

Formal networking, introductions and updates on regional sustainability initiatives.

Ivelice Lefebvre, Energia: Nothing to report

Bart Bales, Bales Energy Associates: Bales is an energy consulting company that works with municipalities, state, public, and schools. Idea is to help make energy decisions – recently signed an agreement with co-op power to provide assistance on residential audits.

Stephanie Molden, Northeast Biodiesel: At NE Biodiesel, works with GIS data for the purpose of including communities traditionally not involved in the planning process. Attended the Move Your Money Summit, at which there was a discussion about the merits of a very large gasoline tax. The summit was well attended and the transcript is available online. The keynote at Move Your Money was Michael Soloman.

Tara Kurland, Co-Op Power: Would like to be part of Climate Action Plan. PVPC will reach out about joining.

Bill Killough-Hill, Northeast Biodiesel: Co-housing is defined as a type of housing in which residents actively plan the communal areas of their neighborhoods. There is a lack of affordability in co-housing and Bill is trying to act as a co-developer or make affordable co-housing units in the Pioneer Valley. There are only approximately 2,400 units around the country, most of which are not affordable. First project on which he is working is a partnership with EcoBuilding. They are conducting a work force housing analysis and it will include a training facility for young farmers. Also looking to build a revolving loan fund for organizations that want to do cohousing. There are four existing co-housing organizations in the Pioneer Valley. Another project involves working with Solider On in Leeds to build a facility and create a community of support. Low Income Tax Credit has limitations on construction of co-housing, which is a challenge.

Mary Vogel, Director of Construction Institute: Construction Institute is based in Boston and is a statewide organization that works with labor and management on construction safety. Mary is interested in joining the PVPC Climate Action Committee. PVPC will reach out about joining.

Sam Steggleman, Coordinator for pvGrows: Goal is to build relationships. Next meeting is October 16th, about 125 people generally attend and there will be a theme of form and food entrepreneurship at the next meeting. The organization works in parallel to pvSustain, with the goal of tackling unnecessary competition and bringing different groups together out of isolation. The idea is to have food job creation. There is also financing available in the form of a loan fun of $0.75 million. The organization provides an opportunity for funding of food programs that aren’t loanable, like sourcing local.

Mike Koscmiersky, Springfield Area Sustainable Energy Association: Springfield area chapter of NESI. The goal is to educate area in sustainable projects. Trying to integrate with local schools. Examples include a solar energy cookoff at Holyoke Community College and working with Springfield Community College to get intern to work on a better design of solar greenhouses. Organization also addresses building codes that reduce energy efficiency of buildings. Runs solar energy business called Spirit Solar.

Nancy Hazard, Greening Greenfield: Conway School is partnering with town and Greening Greenfield to look at streetscapes in town. They are studying trees, stormwater, and photovoltaics in downtown parking lot. Greenfield High School Committee is also looking at how to make new school more energy efficient than the required LEED Silver standard.

Discussion on Organizational Development

Question – how can more financial support be obtained?

Question – should grant funding be pursued?

Nancy indicated that one of the reasons why pvSustain originally decided not to pursue grant funding is that grants often limit the scope of the organization, as it is then constrained by the requirements of the grant

pvGrows is funded by foundations and has same problem as pvSustain in that they have to make sure not to go after same grant funding sources as member organizations

Rick thinks that most of the money pvSustain would be pursuing is different than the funding member organizations are pursuing, and thus wouldn’t really be in competition

Grant funding is not necessarily sustainable and consensus is hard to obtain from the whole network about the priorities and goals

The process of writing a grant is often very helpful in determining the organization’s mission and purpose

After a formal vote, the committee unanimously agreed that pvSustain should apply for grant funding

Grants will be researched and more information will be provided to the group at the next meeting

Question – how do we facilitate more connections between members?

Question – what role should pvSustain have for its member organizations?

pvSustain should be an umbrella organization and not undertake sustainability initiatives itself

In the Pioneer Valley there are many umbrella organizations for particular aspects of sustainability, such as the food sustainability network, energy, etc.

The hook for what we do is “the network for the network,” rather than a hub and spoke system.

Specific strategies for engaging members

Base Camp is a message board system that allows group interaction virtually

Social networking has advantages and disadvantages, and there is concern about actual outcome of social network efforts in what they produce. Stephanie suggested that we make a visualization of who we work with, similar to a social network.

Question – how should future quarterly meetings and annual / biannual events proceed?

Annual conference

Would help with visibility and useful in promotion of network

Might be better to have during the day rather than at night

Location might be Springfield or Holyoke, where lots of the food sustainability events occur


Perhaps a skilled facilitator should conduct meetings to assist with networking between members

Perhaps only meet twice a year, for a longer period (half a day)like pvGrows

Question – what improvements could be made for marketing pvSustain?

In order to apply for grant funding and be successful in membership, pvSustain needs to be able to show tangible results. Marketing efforts can assist with this.

However, it can be difficult to develop a shared vision and collaborate, and it can potentially turn away some members

Mission statement

In current mission statement, flip professionals and activists so it says activists first. Emphasis should be on businesses over organizers.

Mission statement should be 15-30 words, action words. Right now the message is too soft.

Short mission statement should be included at the bottom of each publication or e-mail

“Leveraging” is a magic word internally to a foundation

pvSustain needs a tagline

“Linking businesses and organizations for a greener Pioneer Valley.”

“The network for the network.”

Need to identify what makes pvSustain unique to other sustainability organizations

Development of a short and colorful presentation to deliver to potential members would be helpful

It is difficult to engage people in the big picture, people tend to only look at the narrow focus of their particular area of sustainability

Need to develop an image that conveys sustainability, such as a variation on a Venn diagram or a web

It would be helpful to send out a list of current members, as this would be useful as a networking tool.

Next meeting will be September 17th in Hampshire County, location TBD.

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