2013 Guest Speaker

2013 Guest Speaker Judy Wicks


Judy Wicks is founder of Philadelphia’s landmark White Dog Cafe, which she operated for 26 years, developing a national reputation for environmental stewardship, community engagement, and leadership in the local food movement. Under Judy’s proprietorship, White Dog purchased only humanely and naturally raised meat, poultry and eggs, sustainably harvested fish, and fair trade chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, coffee and tea. Other sustainable practices included recycling and composting, solar heated hot water, eco-friendly soaps and office supplies, and 100% renewable electricity.

In order to help build a whole local economy that supported these practices, Judy founded Fair Food and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, which she supported with twenty percent of business profits through her non-profit White Dog Community Enterprises.

Judy co-founded the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) in 2001, and has become an international leader, speaker and author in the local living economies movement.

Judy has received numerous awards for combining business success and social action, including the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year and Inc. magazine’s 25 favorite entrepreneurs.

Her memoir, Good Morning, Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer, was published by Chelsea Green in March, 2013.

Good Morning, Beautiful Business:

The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer



Good Morning, Beautiful Business is a memoir about the evolution of an entrepreneur who would not only change her neighborhood, but would also change her world – helping communities far and wide create local living economies that value people, nature and place more than money. Focusing on what it takes to marry social change and commerce, and doing business differently, this inspirational book explores how entrepreneurs, as well as consumers, can follow both mind and heart, cultivate lasting relationships with each other and the planet, and build a new economy that will bring greater security, as well as happiness.
Copies will be on sale at the event!

Click here for more info about the book.



pvSustain is a broad-based network of organizations and individuals who are dedicated to creating a just and sustainable future for the Pioneer Valley region.  Our members include a broad community of sustainability activists and professionals working together to create a flexible and effective regional model for actively advancing sustainability in the Pioneer Valley, which can be applied in other regions of the country.  Our mission is to strengthen our members’ ability to pursue sustainability and environmental equity effectively by:

  • information and idea exchange
  • collaborative approaches to problem solving and visionary thinking
  • giving members the tools they need to integrate sustainable practices and scientific information into both regional and community decision-making

Save the Date!

Fourth Annual pvSustain Celebration

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
4 pm – 9pm

Featuring special guest Judy Wicks

4:00 – 5:00 Cash bar, snacks, networking
5:00 – 6:00 Lightning talks from local experts (email cratte@pvpc.org to propose a talk)
6:00 – 6:30 Networking
6:30 – 7:30 Dinner
7:30 – 9:00 Judy Wicks, Q&A, and pvSustain membership drive


Clarion Hotel
1 Atwood Drive
Northampton, MA


$40 pvSustain members
$50 non-members

Table of 8:

$320 members
$400 non-members

Click here to become a pvSustain member today!

Space is limited—register now!

1. E-mail cratte@pvpc.org
2. Mail check payable to Pioneer Valley Regional Ventures Center, Inc to:

Catherine Ratte
60 Congress St, First Floor
Springfield, MA 01104

Or call 413-781-6045 for more info.

Guest Speaker: Judy Wicks

(Click here for full bio and advance praise for Judy’s latest book!)

judy_wicks_smallJudy Wicks founded the White Dog Café on the first floor of her Philadelphia row house in 1983. As the restaurant grew, so did her notion that the strength of her business relied upon the quality of its locally grown ingredients. Envisioning how strengthening relationships among independent, community-rooted enterprises could inspire profound social change, she founded the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia in 2001, and co-founded the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies that same year. Judy also founded Fair Food in 2000, dedicated to building a local food system in the Philadelphia region. In 2009, she sold the White Dog through a unique agreement that preserves local, independent ownership and maintains sustainable business practices, including buying from local farmers, composting and using renewable energy. Her book, Good Morning, Beautiful Business was published by Chelsea Green, in March, 2013.

pvSustain Dinner a Great Success!

judy_wicks_smallThank you to all who came to the Fourth Annual pvSustain Celebration on April 16th in Northampton! The evening was a great success with over 120 people in attendance. The night included engaging lightning talks on a variety of sustainability topics, as well as an award presentation for this year’s Champions of Sustainability, the City of Holyoke and Co-Op Power. The event was capped off with a wonderful talk by Judy Wicks, about her experiences running the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia, PA and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which she co-founded. We look forward to seeing you all again next year at our fifth annual event. In the mean time, please consider attending our regular quarterly meetings to say connected.

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”

January 18, 2012 – Meeting Agenda

The next meeting of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
is next Wednesday, 1/18/12 from 9-11:00
(with informal networking, coffee and snacks starting at 8:30)
at the Common House of Pioneer Valley Co-Housing, 120 Pulpit Hill Road, North Amherst.

8:30-9 informal networking
9-9:30 formal networking
9:30-10 updates
10-10:30 skill building
10:30-11:00 Network business