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.

Continue reading “July 18, 2012”

July 14, 2010

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network Meeting #18
Wednesday, July 14th 2010
Greenfield Community College

270 Main Street,Conference Room # 120
Greenfield, MA


9:00-9:15 Coffee and breakfast available

9:15-9:45 Formal Networking­–Introductions around the room and each person presents updates for less than one minute on personal or professional project

9:45-10:30      Skill Building and Strategic Questioning

Led By Paul Lipke
Solicitation of volunteers and brainstorming for future strategic questioning topics

10:30-11:00 Present Current Sustainable Topic

Students for a Just and Stable Future Climate Summer outreach

11:00-11:45     Network Business

11:00-11:30     Annual Workshop Event Ideas
Find a speaker or event to sponsor
Focus on water quality issues
11:30-11:35     Membership Drive
11:35-11:40     Skills Bank
11:40-11:45     Art of Sustainability
11:45-12:00     Informal networking and snacks 12:00              Adjourn

Continue reading “July 14, 2010”

March 17, 2010

Present: Catherine Ratté-PVPC, Rick Kellart-Amherst freelance sustainability planner, Sue Bridge- Conway Board of Health and Conway Conserves Energy Committee, Patrick Dufour-South Hadley-collaborator,  Kris B-UMASS LARP student and www.kriscan.com , , Forrest Bradford- America’s refrigerator list to save our children, Nancy Hazard- Greening Greenfield Campaign, Paul Lipke- Health Care Without Harm, Steve Rice- Alpaca Farmer, Michael DeChiara- Engage Consulting, Brian Markey-PVPC, Jeff Rosen- Resource economist with Solidago Foundation, Rich Roth- Hidden Tech and Earth Thrives, Rick Taupier-UMASS, Erick Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative (HRMC),  Andrew Glace-Long Island Energy Partners

Informal Networking 8-9am: Following the informal networking between members, we transitioned to formal networking during which each member present shares information.

Member Updates:

Catherine Ratté, pvpc www.pvpc.org – 1. EPA announced $150 million in Sustainable Community Planning Funding


Focus for projects connecting housing, transportation, and environmental protection. PVPC plans to apply, possibly in collaboration with the Capitol Regional Council of Governments in Hartford and with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments in Greenfield.

2. PVPC is waiting to hear if the regional application it submitted on behalf of the Pioneer Valley Clean Energy Collaborative was awarded $5 million of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds.

Rick Kellart- Planning professional from Providence RI, now in Amherst, focuses on social equity and climate change.

Sue Bridge- Lives in private and ongoing Permaculture experiment in Conway. Conway Conserves Energy Committee developing ideas for conservation in town.

Patrick Dufour-Psychologist, South Hadley and committed community collaborator

Kris B- Grad student at UMASS LARP. Her www.kriscan.com site interviews local and national activist and experts in peak oil and energy sustainability issues. New show coming in April on ACTV to feature women entrepreneurs in The Valley.

Forrest Bradford, Agawam- Starting a grassroots political movement called America’s Refrigerator List to Save Our Children” that will focus on changing the “environment of me” and developing media relations to local progressive organizations.

Nancy Hazard- Green Greenfield Campaign announced a workshop for property owners that will explain, promote and encourage rain garden construction. April 6, 6:30pm at Greenfield Public Library.

Paul Lipke- Health Care Without Harm is working statewide to health care institutions into energy efficiency conversations, and develop plans for how hospitals can report environmental health activities.

Steve Rice- Alpaca Farmer from Shutesbury. The Shutesbury Recycling and Solid Waste Committee is active. Spoke about the mission of Pachamama Alliance, http://www.pachamama.org/

Michael DeChiara- Has worked in Amherst for 12 years involving Healthcare policy. Now wants to get back to his environmental roots. Currently runs Engage Consulting which helps clients tap online engagement.

Brian Markey- PVPC. Called for submissions of PVSN member profiles, new events for PVSN calendar, and articles for PVSN newsletter issue coming out in two weeks.

Eric Weiss- Hilltown Resource Management Collaborative–Chesterfield/Goshen School District received funding from Mass Clean Energy Center for feasibility study of windmill on school property.

Jeff Rosen- Solidago Foundation focuses on helping local food production and agriculture, has just announced a call for Business Plans.

Rich Roth- Earththrives-PVPC Sustainability Indicators Project now online.

Budget Update:

The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network currently has $1,245 (income from dinner and memberships) minus $1,260 (expenses for dinner) = -$15

We hope that PVPC and UMASS and the HRMC will pay their organizational dues of $1,100, which will get us to a positive balance of $1,085

We currently have 25 individual dues paying members

And 6 organizational dues paying members

And the three members who have pledged to pay but not yet paid…

Patrick, Forrest, and Sue volunteered to work, and Catherine agreed to look into how to develop a membership drive.

On-line Collaboration Software Discussion: PVSN needs some way to keep members abreast of events and stay in touch. There are many open source and for purchase solutions available, including but not limited to:

E-democracy-which was used by PVPC to facilitate development of the Pioneer Valley Clean Energy Plan, BaseCamp-which Coop Power uses, First Class, Ning, Google Groups, etc

Catherine was seeking guidance from group on direction, and group re-focused discussion on to purpose of on-line collaboration. Group decided to focus on clarifying how/why members might want to/need to collaborate and to postpone action on acquiring a solution until we know what we are trying to do.

Regardless of software selected, we will need funding for staff time to moderate, facilitate, encourage participation-so we do need staff funding. And we still need to meet face to face no matter what.

REMEMBER-we want the Network to help members deal with challenges they are already facing-members are not here (primarily) to advance new communal projects-rather, they are here to do what they do better (or more sustainably-or more efficiently…)





New collaborations                        v.                           Solving running issues

Or can we/should we do both????

-> PVPC staff will focus on the indicators for now-as they are being “adopted” by members of the Network and they do need to be discussed by sub-groups of members.

->  But will also get going on the Skills Bank-as it is an opportunity for members to connect on what they are already doing and possibly grappling with.

Logo Discussion

Three options developed by Boysen Hodges

Comments: Nancy wants a design focused more on the text and font and less on a logo.

Rich disliked the acronym PVSN because some other group owns website.

Rick Taupier encourages the graphic to be kept small.

Paul wishes for graphic to be embedded in font of the text.

Michael concerned about printing logo in black and white.

Members voted to ask Boysen to incorporate  logo 2 and 3 (Venn Diagram and stylized) into a design that is more focused on the text and font.

Eric and Catherine will ask Boysen and have two new options ready for vote on May 12th.

Mongolia Trip -Rick Taupier: Power Point titled “Sustainability in Traditional Rural Mongolia, Landscape, Climate, Herding, Food, Housing, Fuel, Transportation, Communication, and Energy.” Rick Taupier showed images and explained what he learned during a trip to the High Steeps of Mongolia. In Pre and Post Industrial societies life is less segmented. Multiple aspects of life and life style are linked together.


Jeff gave a PowerPoint presentation describing the research and work he has completed toward defining and communicating Sustainability Indicators.   FANTASTIC! See on website

People who ‘adopted’ an indicator need to operationalize their indicator per Jeff’s presentation, that is, possibly determine if the Pioneer Valley is “Green”, “yellow” or “red” with respect to that indicator-and then we can present all the indicators on one page-or use one of the other ways to present indicators included in the presentation.

It is hoped that if PVSN has indicators defined well it will put organization in better spot to help out and be considered for regional Sustainable Community Planning Funding.

Decision Support tool Update:

Home Energy tool is online. To complete grant we need to have conversation about how to develop a Water and Land Use Decision Support Tool.

Art of Sustainability: Forrest Bradford offered to see if the art installation could move to a public space in Agawam.

-> Next Meeting Wednesday 05/12/10 in Hampshire County. We will ask Chris Mason to reserve the Northampton Senior Center.

9-11:30-new start and endtime!!        Food AFTER, not before

January 13, 2010

Our first bi-monthly meeting of the new decade

Wednesday, January 13
8-11 am

at the Co-op Power Offices
324 Wells Street, Greenfield


  • 8-8:30 Breakfast and informal networking
  • 8:30-9 Formal Networking and more breakfast
  • 9-10 Update from UMASS on deliverables–indicators of sustainability and our green building decision support tool
  • 10-11 Update from Members on membership drive, and efforts to make the Network sustainable, via identity building and brandingPioneer

Valley Sustainability Network
January 13, 2010 Meeting Minutes #15
Co-op Power Offices, Greenfield Franklin

Present: Catherine Ratté-PVPC, Rich Roth-Earththrives, Keith Sulzberg-Regenerative Design Group, Patrick Dufour, Jono Neiger-Conway School, Regenerative Design and W. MA Permaculture Guild, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Collaborative, Rose Zdybel-UMASS, Sue Bridge- Conway Board of Health, Rick Taupier-UMASS, Tom Benjamin-ECS Consulting/GCC RE/EE program, Jim Barry-DOER, Jane Wegscheider-Artist ‘Table set for Forever’, Kris Canavan-grad student UMASS LARP, Karen Ribeiro-Co-op Power, Sarah Bankert-Cooley Dickinson

Informal Networking 8-9am:
Following the informal networking between members, network chair Eric called the meeting to order. The meeting began with each member sharing a brief overview of their organization and their work on sustainability

Member Updates:

Catherine Ratté-PVPC continues to work to advance sustainability work regionally-and is looking at coordinating a regional application for the federal HUD (and DOT and EPA) Sustainable communities initiative–http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/program_offices/sustainable_housing_communities/grant_program

Keith Sulzberg-Regenerative Design Group-working on a new effort-outreach to farmers and landowners about productive conservation-use economic interest to enhance sustainability

Jono Neiger-Regenerative Design Group and Conway School-students are doing a food security project in Northampton and for the region also helping Northampton with plans for use of prime farmland. ALso working on Transition Town project.

Sue Bridge-green affordable home, helping Conway distribute funds to homeowners for EE and also on BOH

Patrick Dufour-psychologist in the Valley committed to collaborative work

Jim Barry-DOER staff for western MA, promoting green communities and other ‘green’ actions for municipalities

Jane Wegscheider-artist, winner of Art of Sustainability contest-has created the Art Garden

Tom Benjamin-ecologically based landscape architect, consulting with ECS in Agawam and faculty at GCC EE/RE program

Eric Weiss-Chair of Network-works at Hill Town Resource Management Collaborative (HRMC), 10 towns in Hampshire and Franklin counties collaborating on solid waste and recycling and now branching out to include all sustainability issues. New Hingham school looking at siting a wind turbine at the school

Rick Taupier-UMASS, coordinates international research for UMASS, exploring relationship between culture and sustainability in Mongolia

Kris Canavan-grad student at UMASS LARP formerly in architecture-interested in re-purposing buildings-and communities, has a web-show www.kriscan.com that raises awareness about peak oil-features people implementing their own solutions.

Karen Ribeiro-new President and CEO of Co-op Power, launching EE on neighbor to neighbor basis, also working with Partners for Greener Building-another project of Co-op Power in Westfield, and Co-op Power recently launched Energia-an energy services cooperative in collaboration with Nuestras Raices and also has Roots Up-green jobs training for at risk youth in the greater Springfield area. Also in Turners has green jobs training for youth, and is launching a membership drive: $500 low income. $750-farmer, $975-standard

Rose Zdybel-PhD student in Industrial Engineering with a focus on operations research with Professor Erin Baker, working to finish green building decision support tool.

Sarah Bankert-Cooley Dickinson hospital and W. MA Center for Health Communities-doing a community health assessment and looking for ways to connect with our indicator work. Will be developing and collecting indicators for access to healthy food and recreation-focus on Hampshire county-Easthampton, Northampton and Amherst.

EPA Deliverables:

o Rick Taupier (UMASS) Indicator update

Rick presented proposed final (???) data (see powerpoint on web-site)

Ideal v. Reality, what we would like v. what we could get. Some information not yet available.

Group 1–11 indicators fall in this group-some pretty good data available

Group 2-3 indicators fall in this group-data available but needs to be processed.

Member comments:
what happened to walkability?

Members volunteered to ‘adopt an indicator’:

Bio-diversity: Jono and Sue

Local business-Rich Roth

Local Food-Rick Taupier, Patrick Dufour

Water Quality-Tom Benjamin, Patrick Dufour-PVPC also has a lot of this data

Recycling/waste-Eric Weiss

Energy Use-Karen and possibly Jim Barry

PVPC will see if it can take on: Local parks, graduation rates, air quality, homelessness, affordable housing and VMT

o Catherine (PVPC) update on Skills Bank and Art of Sustainability

Art of Sustainability: in Shelburne Falls now-who wants to host it?.

Network Work:

Eric would like to pursue creation of a logo for the Network-members approved idea and a sub-group volunteered: Eric, Catherine, Jane, and Jono. We will contact the person Bill Baue from Sea Change radio recommended.

Members also agreed that we need more public presence and Eric agreed to do the first in a member series of letters to the editor about the Network and why you are involved. Sue will help

As soon as PVPC gets staff issues worked out, they will resurrect skills bank and work on bi-monthly newsletter and up-to-date calendar

Tom, Jono, Kris, Sue and Patrick volunteered to work on the membership drive.

Next Meeting 03/17/10 at PVPC offices in Springfield, 60 Congress Street, Hampden Co