What role can Sustainability play in the revitalization of Catskill region Main Streets? That question came up during one afternoon session of the Main Street Boot Camp—a conference hosted by community development organization The MARK Project—where panelists discussed the hot topic of Sustainability. The audience was composed of business owners, town historians, state development coordinators, non-profit entities, and county and municipal officials. MARK Project Director Peg Ellsworth moderated the panel, which included Steve Burnett (a Bovina-based artist and farmer), Sonia Janiszewski (Farm Catskills board member and Director of Tourism for Delaware County), and me, Kristina Zill (Coordinator for Transition Catskills). Our panel discussed projects underway that increase our region's self-reliance and resiliency. Steve shared his journey of becoming a vegetable farmer, despite assurances from area residents that it was an impossible task in these mountains; Sonia talked about regional food hubs and developing markets for area farmers; and Peg and I introduced the concept of Transition, spoke about current projects—such as the upcoming Countywide Seed Swap—and described how local currencies can help keep money circulating within communities. The final flourish was a screening of our fabulous, newly minted Transition Catskills video (thanks to Transitioner Jeff Tomasi and videographer Jessica Vecchione). So, what does Sustainability have to do with re-invigorating Main Streets? Potentially, a great deal, especially in the area of Tourism, which seems poised and ready to boom in the Catskill region. Sustainability is a potent brand for communities catering to environmentally conscious New Yorkers. We're well on the way to embodying that brand, due in large part to all of the wonderful local food from area farms. We need to take that concept a step further. Here's my wish list for the near future: [...]
Why Transition? In this video, some of our community members talk about Transition's importance in a changing world, as well as various projects on the horizon.
Pick up a copy of the Watershed Post’s 2015 Catskills Food Guide, a user-friendly introduction to and directory of our many local food and drink producers. The Food Guide is available as a free handout at many stores throughout the Catskill region. New this year is a centerfold pull-out Food and Drink Map of local sources for food and drink. One side of the map is “Drink the Catskills,” listing 22 breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries. The wine glass symbol indicates that the establishment welcomes visitors. The other side of the map is “Visit a Catskills Farm,” which lists 49 Catskills farms that welcome visitors—whether it’s for buying produce, meat or dairy, harvesting your own food, dining, or staying as an overnight guest. Transition Catskills is proud to sponsor the new map, in keeping with our goal of building resilience and self-reliance into Catskill region communities. Grab a copy and give our farmers a visit!