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Published by Yuval Gonen
Vol.1, No. 1
Vol.1, No. 1

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Published by: Yuval Gonen on May 28, 2009
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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction Featured Article Groton Community Dinners Upcoming Events Groton Local Annual Members Meeting Group Updates Community Farm Education Group Egg Co-op Energy Group Kitchen Garden Food and Agriculture Nashoba Local First Web Presence Regional News Ayer Local Other News You Can Use Help Wanted

Local Synergy
The GrotonLocal newsletter Groton Local is a non-profit organization in Groton, Massachusetts, working to ensure sustainability for future generations by reducing energy consumption, promoting local food & economy, and becoming more locally self reliant.

www.grotonlocal.org

You may contact the editors by sending email to editors@grotonlocal.org

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

Editor’s Introduction
Welcome to the initial edition of Local Synergy, the newsletter for Groton Local. We've known for a while now that we needed a better way to keep our members and interested parties informed of what's happening in our diverse and evolving organization; this newsletter is our attempt to meet that need. As we were putting this edition together, we were struck by how many parallel efforts we have under way! Take a look and let us know how we can improve. And if you see something you'd like to help with, by all means do get in touch. Your editor team -- Yuval and Karen Gonen, Leo Laverdure, Tucker Smith

Visit GrotonLocal’s Community Dinners at http://grotoncommunitydinn ers.org. www.goodguide.com

Featured Article
Groton Community Dinners
by Tucker Smith By the time this inaugural Groton Local newsletter hits the cyber waves, the town’s first Community Dinner will have taken place Friday, May 29 at First Parish Church in Groton. Billed as a free, monthly (for starters), healthy (food and “practices”), hot meal with “live music, great food, and good company,” the mission behind the idea is to nurture a sense of community as well as combat a variety of “hungers” in this region. No single group owns this project in fact organizers from the outset represent churches and schools as well as civic entities (such as Groton Local). Besides hospitality, guests will receive resource information for other social services if needed – and if a guest can afford a donation, it will be welcomed. Many volunteers are needed each month to make it happen: at-home cooks (recipes and instructions will be given – reimbursement for cost of ingredients, too, if desired), servers, set-up and clean-ups helpers, musicians, and more. The next meal will be Friday, June 26 so jump on board whether a doer or a diner!

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

Upcoming Events
Groton Local Annual Members Meeting
Sunday, June 28, 3-5 p.m. Groton Local Community Farm, 206 W. Main St. (rain location TBA) Agenda:  Election to replace board members whose terms are expiring  Election of Officers  Retrospective on the past year (July 2008 through June 2009)  Plans for coming year (July 2009 through June 2010)  Pot-luck food & conversations

Group Updates
GL Community Farm in the news: http://www.lowellsun.com/c i_12445646?IADID=Searchwww.lowellsun.comwww.lowellsun.com

Community Farm
Interview of Gail Sun by Leo Laverdure The Groton Local Community Farm, formerly known as the Community Garden, is in its third season. Fifteen members share the work and the produce, with a waiting list of new members for next year. Three charitable shares go to Loaves and Fishes, and last week’s lettuce marked the first delivery this year. (The Loaves and Fishes food pantry, located in Devens, MA, serves residents of Groton and other surrounding communities.) Other recent happenings:     A portion of this year’s garden is allocated to Pamela Bye’s GDR High School Life Skills class. See the article on School Gardens in this newsletter. The annual fundraiser plant sale this last weekend netted over $500. The farm is hosting ongoing biochar research and workshops led by Hugh McLaughlin of Alterna Energy Inc. Last Sunday over 25 volunteers helped plant an acre field of winter squash for Brad Bigelow’s Community Supported Agriculture undertaking. (Brad, who has generously donated his land, ideas, materials, and lots of effort for the Community Farm, is currently recovering from knee surgery.) Haynes Turkle did a wonderful job of organizing the effort, and everyone enjoyed potluck food and conversations after the planting. See the accompanying photo (taken by Nancy Turkle) of the squash planters in action. Brad is starting to plan and design a solar-heated greenhouse, which will involve the Energy group.

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

Education Group
By Bobbie Spiegelman & Tiffany Doggett Farm-to-School Last March, as part of the Groton Reads 2009 book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, we sponsored the Three Chefs event at the Groton School with food service directors Paul Correnty (Bromfield, Harvard, MA), Jed Coughlin (Groton School) and Maria Barker (GrotonDunstable) in starring roles as they discussed the process of feeding our school children. Jamie Cruz and Paula Robinson of Springdell Farm in Littleton represented the farmers. The evening was so successful, we're planning to celebrate Farm-to-School Harvest Week, September 21-25. More details to follow for any interested parties. Check out the web site in the meantime to learn more about the program. School Gardens After many meetings between some members of the Groton community garden and Paula Bye, GDR high school teacher, we are able to appreciate the "fruits" of these discussions as the garden space now includes vegetable and flower seedlings started by Paula's students last March. They even had a hand in planting some of this year's potato crop. Paula is in the process of constructing raised beds for the garden so her students will have access to their own garden space sometime in the near future. We hope this is the beginning of a strong relationship between Groton Local and Groton school teachers and students.

www.mass.gov/agr/markets/ Farm_to_school/index.htm

www.rootsandshoots.org/re gional_offices/new_england /home

Roots and Shoots Stacey Chilcoat and members of Middle School science teacher Dorothy Dwyer's after-school Green Team designed a project as part of the 2009 Roots and Shoots Campaign for Water entitled "Mission James Brook...Not Impossible." These students will participate in cleaning up the brook, making wildlife and plant observations, taking water samples and helping to educate the community about the importance of the brook in our watershed by writing articles and creating posters. There will be more to come for our Roots and Shoots chapter, and we'd love some more student and parent involvement. Please visit the web site to learn more about the organization: If anyone has additional questions, please contact Bobbie Spiegelman at 978-448-6366.

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

School Garden Project at Florence Roche Elementary School By Tiffany Doggett Lisa Wiesner and Tiffany Doggett of the Education and Food & Agriculture Groups, have merged their passions and have joined forces to represent Groton Local in starting a school garden initiative at the Florence Roche Elementary School. Lisa is a professional landscaper and gardener who owns her own landsape business. Tiffany is a parent of two Florence Roche children and an amateur gardener. Lisa and Tiffany are heading up the project to bring school gardens to the elementary school which will be used by the teachers and students to enhance curriculum. Florence Roche would like to join the many schools across the United States where school gardens have enhanced the learning experience. Teachers, parents and administrators feel that using school gardens as a teaching aid can foster personal growth for children as they learn how to plant, nurture and harvest in the garden. As gardeners, the children play the part of observers, questioners, doers and problem solvers, as well as learning outside the classroom in the natural world. The project received a Groton Dunstable Education Foundation Grant which will enable a butterfly garden and one raised bed for vegetables to be built by the end of the school year. The school PTA has also supported the project and given the group money from their beautification fund. That money was spent recently on updating the plantings around the welcome sign on Rt. 119. Please notice the wonderful new plantings when you drive by the school. Lisa also generously donated two containers at the school entrance for students, parents and staff to enjoy. The vision is to create wonderful gardens all over the school that can be admired, studied, utilized, and enjoyed! This spring has been spent meeting with the administration, teachers, the school committee, and parents, so planting has just begun with just 5 weeks left of school, but this is an ongoing project that will encompass all grades and will grow every year. One reason why is has gone a bit slow is that we need help! We need more volunteers, more money and more donations! Currently we are looking for in kind donations such as, divided plants from your garden, extra hoses you may have laying around, extra tools that are cluttering up your garage, and old seeds that you'll never use. We are looking for all sorts of plants, but we really need ferns, hostas, butterfly attracting plants, lilies, iris, lupines, and small shrubs. The sorts of tools we are looking for are shovels, spades, small claws, wheelbarrows and rakes. We also need volunteers for

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

work days. We will have at least two work days in June. Please contact Tiffany Doggett at tdoggett@charter.net if you are willing to help on work days, would like to be added to our email list, or have any donations for the project.

Egg Co-op
By Brad Bigelow The Groton Local Egg Co-op was started by a small group of Groton Local members in May of 2008. We started with 9 people who were interested in learning how to care for chickens collectively. We built a run (12x20) that was safe from all predators from above, sides, and below. The hen house that was at the site was of concrete and proved to be too small for the 30 hens felt adequate to provide eggs for 9 families. We built a wooden coop of sufficient size with recycled (mostly) material. By July we had 48 hens in a 10x8 night coop, a 6x5 connector, the old 5x5 “bunker”, and 2 12x20 runs. They were producing about 36 eggs per day. Members take home 10 dozen eggs per week. The rest are sold to offset the price of certified organic feed. The hens are totally free range and totally organic. They are down to 39 in number after one year. The costs of producing eggs far exceeds the revenue generated by the sale of eggs because some hens do not lay every day, produce substantially fewer eggs in the winter, only lay for 3 years, and are lost to predators and disease. Efforts to raise the price of sold eggs even to near market levels are resisted by customers. Distribution to other (retail) outlets would increase costs and decrease revenue. The current model provided an opportunity to learn first hand what chickens needed to lay consistently. It also taught us what members were able to learn and what they were willing to do unsupervised. It provided an opportunity for people unfamiliar with animal husbandry and the realities of egg production to gain confidence and information without risk to wallet or their hens. It illustrated what people would pay for an unbranded product presented in a recycled box and the limits of an “honor system” payment method. By the end of the first year I have realized that a group can no more afford to pay the equivalent of $45/ week for labor to sell (on average) 10 dozen eggs than an individual can. All producers make various compromises to cut costs: organic feed costs twice that of regular, free range chickens must be put in at night, more freedom produces more losses, more space

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

per bird requires more lumber, etc. Suburban lifestyles do not mesh easily with rural necessities without costs. The Co-op provided me with the challenge of organizing a group who never met (no meetings) toward a common goal with equal compensation and equal labor input. It was interesting but not sustainable. Some members are raising their own chicks now and will have their own flocks at home. We will reorganize under different principles soon. Suggestions are welcome. The eggs continue to be delicious and nutritious. Providing unparallel quality and purity to the Local community has been a pleasure.

Energy Group
By Yuval Gonen Seminars In the past year, we organized seminars in such diverse areas as: “Saving Energy – Solutions for your Whole House System” “Green Energy Updates” “Solar Heating” “Home Energy Audits” (panel discussion)
You can access our seminars (video and slides) at www.grotonlocal.org/node/76

Slides from the above seminars are available on our website. For the coming new season, we are seeking suggestions on Energy / Green building seminars members would like to attend. Send your ideas to
editors@grotonlocal.org.

Senior Center Projects We continue to support our seniors by offering to replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs. The program is offered through Groton Senior Center. For more information about this program, please contact Martha Campbell, Director of Groton Council on Aging (978) 448 1170. This year, just before the cold winter arrived, Jim Hubert called GrotonLocal members to action. One of the seniors in our town needed his chimney replaced. Jim worked with town officials to get the correct permits, and through the dedicated work of Jim and other GrotonLocal members, we managed to keep one home warm this winter. Good job !!! Wind Potential Groton will soon be one step closer towards achieving clean, renewable electric power. Groton Electric is one of the 14 members/investors in the 'Berkshire Wind Energy Coop' located at N. Hancock, Mass (near Mt. Greylock). The current project consists of ten 1.5MW wind energy turbines for a total of 15 million watts and is ahead of schedule (estimated
Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org Page 7 of 11

Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

completion date Dec. 2009) and under budget – ironically due to the recession which has slowed or canceled many other renewable efforts. Groton will be generating more that 6% of its electric power needs from the Coop with the potential to increase as the project moves forward. We added our voices (and writing) to the successful passage of the Wind Energy Conversion Facilities zoning bylaw.

Kitchen Garden
By Tiffany Doggett The Kitchen Garden Cooperative was organized last autumn and has slowly taken shape over the winter and this spring. The group is essentially a web based group that supports kitchen gardening and is a great way to ask questions, get advice, swap recipes, and inspire yourself to get planting! There are 29 members on the web group and there have been discussions on transplanting raspberries, gardening workshops, biochar and horse manure, to name a few! Tiffany Doggett has been spearheading this group and has a roto-tiller that she is happy to lend out to anyone. Two people have taken her up on this and have great gardens this spring! This is a great, non-commitment group which is all about sharing ideas and linking people together. If you would like to join, please email Tiffany at tdoggett@charter.net.

visit the Google group at http://groups.google.com/gr oup/grotonlocal-kitchengarden

Food and Agriculture
GrotonREADS 2009 By Nancy Tucker Many members of Groton Local's Food & Ag Group led discussions and coordinated events for the Groton Public Library's town wide read, "GrotonREADS 2009!". The book was Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle chronicling the year she and her family ate only locally produced food, much of which they grew or raised themselves.

Nashoba Local First
Interview of Haynes Turkle by Leo Laverdure Nashoba Local First, a regional offshoot of Groton Local to strengthen local independent businesses, has experienced a burst of growth this spring. Ayer has been particularly active. Other towns include Bolton,
Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org Page 8 of 11

Local Synergy, the GrotonLocal Newsletter

June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

Harvard, Pepperell and Townsend. Recent activity includes:  Formation of a communications sub-committee working on printed brochures and a banner for Groton’s Main St. (subsidized by the Town of Groton and donations, including a contribution by Groton Local). Development of a web site (to appear soon as NashobaLocalFirst.org), including listings and links for local businesses. A drive for new business members.

 

For more info, contact Barbara Scofidio at NOA Gifts, 157 Main Street Groton, MA 01450, 978.448.0990, noagifts@charter.net

Web Presence
By Yuval Gonen The internet has helped GrotonLocal to meet its goal of reaching out to the people of Groton and surrounding towns. Most importantly, it has greatly facilitated bringing people’s diverse excitement into our discussion space. In the past year we have updated our web presence. Our website today allows dynamic interaction between GrotonLocal team members and others. In the past year, we added link to videos of our seminars, chat rooms, comment posting, several forum sites, and a complete calendar of events. As we move forward, we plan to add more educational materials.

www.grotonlocal.org

Regional News
Ayer Local
www.commute.com/bikeayer

Bike Ayer By Carolyn McCreary Join Ayer-Shirley Local in pledging to reduce our carbon footprint by 2 tons by July 4th. We are doing this by riding our bikes instead of driving and logging our miles with MassRides. It's simple. Just go to http://www.commute.com/bikeayer/ , setup a login and use the tool to keep track of the miles you bike. Remember that burning 1 gallon of gas yields nearly 20 pounds of CO2. Join us for our July 4th celebration at Pirone Park to check out our progress toward our goal, and look for the Ayer-Shirley Local table.

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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June 2009 Vol. 1, No. 1

Aquifer Protection By Susan Tordella After a 10-year legal battle against the railroads to prevent construction of an 800-auto parking lot to unload Fords over a Zone 2 aquifer for Ayer and Zone 3 for Littleton, Pan Am and Norfolk Railroads have broken ground to pave over a critical aquifer. UPS handles logistics for the railroad. Most folks expected that either EPA or Mass. Department of Environmental Protection would enforce strict standards for drinking water protection. For several reasons, these agencies have not acted to ensure there is sufficient monitoring and state and federal laws are enforced. 500 yards away from the construction site is an unused auto unloading facility. While there are complications in leasing, a bit of creative thinking from political leaders could make this lot available to avoid jeopardizing the water source of three Massachusetts towns. Ayer, Littleton and Westford residents are directly impacted by the quality of water in the aquifer. Ayer and Littleton draw up to 2 million gallons daily from wells near Spectacle Pond – some of the best water in the state, evidenced by the number of water-based businesses nearby -- Nasoya, Very Fine, Caines and Aquifina/Pepsi. The best chance of protecting the water and ensuring that paving Massachusetts aquifers does not become a precedent is for residents of the Commonwealth to hold political leaders accountable for basic protections, especially the right to clean, uncontaminated drinking water. Please take a few minutes to write Gov. Patrick and Sens. Kerry and Kennedy. By June 1, ask them to let common sense prevail and stop this project before it goes any further. If you live outside these towns in Massachusetts, you are indirectly effected by the railroads exercising unchecked power that can be applied elsewhere. Speak up now to ensure that our state can be counted on to preserve our right to clean water! It’s important that people from other towns outside of the aquifer join in the chorus of opposition because of the precedent being set by paving over our aquifer.

Book Review
by Tucker Smith Did you know that almost all birds feed their young bugs not seeds or berries? Did you know that one oak tree (genus Quercus) provides 517 species of wildlife with food, shelter, or nesting benefits? Douglas
Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org Page 10 of 11

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Tallamy, Professor, Dept. of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, U. Delaware, writes, “My central message is that unless we restore native plants to our suburban ecosystems, the future of biodiversity in the United States is dim.” This very readable (to an easily-distractible reader) book makes an inspirational case for homeowners and gardeners to THINK before they PLANT in order to continue to sustain native insects, which, in turn, feed native wildlife. This book is not a diatribe against the ubiquitous American Lawn but, rather, a sound argument why what we http://www.timberpress.com plant matters urgently – along with practical ideas and suggested plant /books/isbn.cfm/9780881928 lists for getting started. After reading this compelling book, the next gift 549 you’ll want to give someone special is either an oak tree seedling (they can be found for free in the woods) or a copy of the book! Douglas W. Tallamy. 2007. Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 288 pages

Other News You Can Use
by Tucker Smith I heard about this website in a “Living on Earth” show broadcast on WBUR-FM recently and then read about it in The New York Times “Home” section, Thursday, May 21 edition, which said it is “one of the first that rates products on potential environmental, health, and social effects.” Its creator, Dara O’Rourke, a professor at U. CaliforniaBerkeley, began to wonder about the contents and consequences of her purchases after she became a parent. The website says, “From our origins as a UC Berkeley research project, GoodGuide™ has developed into a totally independent "For-Benefit" company… committed to providing the information you need to make better decisions, and to ultimately shifting the balance of information and power in the marketplace.” I checked out hair care and laundry products online and will tweak my shopping list accordingly.

Help Wanted
We are looking for an Editor to help us support the production of this NewsLetter on a regular basis. Please contact editors@grotonlocal.org for more information.

Copyright © 2009 GrotonLocal Our Website: www.grotonlocal.org

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