Thursday, August 2nd, 6:00 - 7:30 PM at Union Grove Distillery Join us for a presentation by Delaware River Solar about how you can benefit from community solar, even if you don't have a suitable rooftop! Perfect for homeowners, renters and small businesses. The presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A where all your questions will be answered. When you source your electricity from a nearby solar farm, you'll save 10% off what you currently pay on your NYSEG bill. It's easy to sign up, but there are a few things you should know: Billed separately, and must be paid monthly with automatic debit Requires a "soft credit check" - won't affect your credit score The 10% discount comes off your annual average, so some months may not seem to show a discount. Over the course of a year, you will pay 10% less Available to homeowners, small businesses and renters Not available to homes with solar panels, nor to larger commercial establishments with demand meters Only offered to NYSEG customers No contract - you can cancel at any time The CO2 offset by solar panels is significant. For the average homeowner, it means that you will essentially neutralize all the carbon emissions from your vehicle over the course of a year. Just 10 signups from this event will help Margaretville achieve Clean Energy Community designation, which will make the village eligible for NYSERDA grants. You can RSVP here, but if you can't plan that far ahead, it's okay to just show up. The Union Grove Distillery is located at 43311 NY-28, Arkville, NY at the intersection of the Arkville cutoff (County Rd 38). Hope to see you there!
Thousands of years ago, our Stone Age ancestors domesticated food plants. Seeds from the best performers were selected for replanting and shared with others. Thus, the seeds that gardeners hold in their hands today form an unbroken chain of living links stretching back to antiquity. An Heirloom is a seed that was bequeathed to us from past generations. The Heirloom pedigree To qualify as an heirloom, a plant must meet certain requirements. Its heritage must pre-date 1951, when hybrid varieties were introduced by seed companies It must be open-pollinated by natural mechanisms such as wind, insects or birds It must breed true to type – the offspring must be identical to the parent Flavor vs. convenience Hybrid seeds are the result of scientists cross-breeding plants to develop certain traits. Hybrids were designed to meet the needs of the commercial grower, which are often in direct opposition to the preferences of home gardeners. For instance, whereas a commercial operation benefits if all of the produce ripens at once, the home gardener wants successive waves of ripe vegetables over the course of the summer. Scientists gleefully sacrificed flavor and nutrition to engineer produce with more bountiful harvests and thicker skins that would withstand long-distance shipping (one example is the uniformly red, tasteless blobs that are fobbed off as tomatoes.) By contrast, flavor and nutrition are everything to the home gardener. Breaking the chain Many hybrids are sterile, requiring human intervention to reproduce. Those hybrids that are fertile are genetically unstable – they do not breed true to type. Gardeners who are unaware that they’re growing hybrids can be in for a big surprise if they save and plant the seed. Should it germinate at all, the seed would revert [...]
The Countywide Seed Swap is now on at all Delaware County public libraries! Take your partially used seed packets to your library branch and see what seeds your fellow gardeners have donated. It's a great way to expand your repertoire without spending a fortune! Ongoing from April 1 to June 1.
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: [...]
Transition Catskills is an exciting new initiative in the Catskills region patterned after the general Transition philosophy that has already been successfully employed in hundreds of local communities around the country and around the world. Faced with the challenges of fossil fuel dependency, climate change, and economic instability, our mission is to think about how we can change the ways we live as a rural community to become cleaner, healthier, and more resilient as both individuals and as an economy-- and then to make those ideas actually happen. In addition to our own projects, we hope to work with and help bring together all the other individual and group efforts in the region working for a more self-sustaining community. Working together we can make a greater impact. But we can't do this without you. Transition Catskills is not a formal membership organization and there are no requirements to join us apart from an open mind and a desire to see our community regain its independence and harness its natural productivity. While we look to the larger Transition movement for inspiration, we are unaffiliated with any larger charitable organization or political party, and presently operate as an independent Steering Committee guiding a segregated fund housed by the generous auspices of the MARK Project in Arkville, NY. Thank you for visiting our site and taking the time to learn more about what we're trying to do. If you are interested in learning more, have some great ideas you'd like to see come to life, or want to help us in any way, please contact us! We're just getting started, and will be updating this blog with news and events as we get rolling. Watch this space!