The BEAT News duplicate

February 13, 2012

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Please send items of interest to Kristen.


Do you need a ride to the Climate Rally this weekend?

Please join for an important trip to Washington DC for the Forward on Climate Rally (Feb 17) to encourage President Obama to take immediate action on the environment.   Crippling drought, devastating wildfires, and massive super storms are just some of the impacts of climate change.

The Forward on Climate Rally is going to be the largest Climate Rally ever held in the US – organized by the Sierra Club,, and backed by over 120 organizations.  Ridebuzz is an official Rally partner, and providing ridesharing to the event. We need you there too!

There are scores of ride listing going to DC from all over the country here.  This is going to be a fun and important trip!  Please be a part of history and post your rides offered and needed to DC here, and encourage your friends to do the same!

Look forward to seeing you there!

- Jeff Brown, Founder,


What: The largest climate rally in U.S. history. Event website & RSVP:
When: February 17, 2013, Noon – 4:00 p.m. (please arrive by 11:30 a.m.)
Where: The National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Gather at the northeast corner of the Washington Monument
(Closest Metro subway stations: Federal Triangle and Smithsonian)
Buses are being organized here.
Ridesharing to the Forward on Climate Rally:

Create your own Ridebuzz Rideshare Groups for Events of any size and improve attendance here:

Ridesharing is an efficient use of resources compared to driving alone, and you can share the cost of travel and cut the emissions in half.

Please consider sharing the Ridebuzz event information like has:

Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter
Tell your friends, and forward this email ;)

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Take Action to Make Massachusetts Coal Free by 2020!

The coal free troops are delivering a Valentine’s card to the Governor of Massachusetts on 2/14.

You can sign the card, and you can share the card, right from the 350 Mass Facebook page!

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An End to Harmful Flame Retardants

CEH has been working to end health threats to children and families from harmful flame retardant chemicals for many years. On Friday, California finally took an important step in the right direction!

But we have just 45 days to make sure the chemical industry does not get in the way of our children’s and families’ health. Please take action TODAY to support improved fire safety and to protect our children from unnecessary chemical hazards!

This standard would affect families across the country—it has become the de facto national requirement, so whether you live in California or not, your furniture and baby products are made to meet California’s toxic and outdated standard.

Flame retardant chemicals can cause cancer and have been linked to reproductive problems, genetic damage and other serious health problems – and studies show they are not even effective in reducing fire dangers in many products. Furniture, baby care products, and many other products contain flame retardants as a result of an outdated California standard called TB 117. But that’s changing now–on Friday the state released a draft new flammability standard (TB117-2013) that gives companies better ways to provide fire safety – without the use of harmful flame retardant chemicals.

We support this historic step towards safer products for our families!

Make no mistake, the flame retardant industry has spent millions to protect their market for harmful chemicals, and they will do everything they can to fight this common-sense change. That’s why we’re asking you to send a letter supporting the new draft standard today!.

The proposal is open for comments for just 45 days. We need to show state regulators and Governor Brown that there is widespread public support for the new draft regulation which addresses real-life fire scenarios and puts our children’s and families’ health first!

An end to harmful flame retardant chemicals is in sight – but we must make sure the process is not derailed by flame retardant chemical lobbyists. Please send your letter today.


Want more info. on flame retardant health threats couched in your furniture?  Check out our site, Killer Couch, launching today!  See videos, facts and tips on how we’re “taking the killer out of your couch”.

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No New Incineration

The Patrick Administration proposes to lift the moratorium on new incineration facilities in order to allow gasification of MSW in Massachusetts. Gasification is incineration in two stages: first the garbage is heated to form a gas, then the gas is burned to generate electricity. The first link below is a Don’t Waste Massachusetts* fact sheet about gasification. Below that is a petition asking Governor Patrick to retain the existing 22-year-old moratorium on more incinerators and get the Commonwealth back on the path to Zero Waste. The petition with signatures will be sent to the Governor at the end of the month. Please read the fact sheet and then add your signature to the online petition. You are welcome to forward these links to family, friends, and colleagues.

(If you have trouble opening the links, cut and paste them into the address line of your browser.)

Facts Rule Out Trash Gasification is here:

Petition to retain the moratorium is here:

*Don’t Waste Massachusetts <> is an alliance of organizations concerned about the environment, public health, and the public interest.

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Pledge to Go Dark for Earth Hour

On March 23 at 8:30 pm local time, hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn off their lights for Earth Hour, the world’s largest collective display of commitment to protect the planet.

Yes, it is a token gesture. But as more and more people, businesses, communities, and cities join in, we are getting some pretty amazing pictures and video of places going dark for an hour to show commitment to doing something about climate change.  You can check out a video by going to the Earth Hour website and scrolling down to the video.

Last year 152 countries, on all 7 continents, and more than 7,000 cities and towns participated in Earth Hour. Iconic monuments and buildings went dark for an hour. Now, people are extending their commitments by saying – if you will pledge to turn off your lights for Earth Hour, here is what I will do.

Will you join us? By turning off your lights for just 60 minutes on March 23 you can take positive action for the environment and inspire others to do the same.  Let Jane know if you will go dark for Earth Hour. You can also let me know what you think would be a good challenge – e.g. I will not drive my car for a week and bicycle to all my meetings instead.

Thank you for all that you do to protect the environment.

Jane and all the BEAT team.

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Good News for the Bottle Bill!

from Mass Audubon’s Beacon Hill Weekly Update

The Updated Bottle Bill (HD 1105/SD 522) garnered record support on Beacon Hill this week, with a total of 95 cosponsors endorsing an expansion of the 5-cent deposit to include water bottles, sports drinks and other beverages, which currently generate 1 billion tons of unnecessary waste each year. Mass Audubon commends the 75 House and 20 Senate members who supported the bill, and looks forward to working with legislators to pass an Updated Bottle Bill this session. For more details see the full press release.

Mass Audubon’s early lobbying efforts yielded fruitful results in other areas as well, with legislators supporting improvements to the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (HD 3259, 38 cosponsors), permanent protections for Old Growth forests (HD 1669, 30 cosponsors), and the planning and development of sustainable communities (HD 3216, 58 cosponsors). We will continue to provide updates on these important legislative issues as the session moves forward.

In other legislative news, House and Senate leadership teams and committee assignments have been announced for the 2013-2014 legislative session.

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Rep. Edward Markey (MA) Helps Form Bicameral Task-Force on Climate Change

On January 24, 2013 a bicameral (both Senate and House) task-force on climate change was formed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Representative Henry Waxman, the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Edward Markey (MA), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Natural Resources. In a letter to President Obama, the three stated the purpose of the task-force: “to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change in Congress, to provide a forum for the development of effective policies, and to achieve enactment of measures that reduce heat-trapping emissions, spur new technologies, and enhance resiliency to climate disruption.”

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“MA Right to Know GMOs”   


Berkshire Organics“MA Right to Know GMOs” –is a Massachusetts statewide network that advocates the right to know if our food contains ingredients derived from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).


Berkshire Organics is the 1st business in Massachusetts to be featured as a leader in the movement for safe food by the MA Right to Know GMOs organization.  

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Genetic Changes to Food May Get Uniform Labeling

By Stephanie Strom

With Washington State on the verge of a ballot initiative that would require labeling of some foods containing genetically engineered ingredients and other states considering similar measures, some of the major food companies and Wal-Mart, the country’s largest grocery store operator, have been discussing lobbying for a national labeling program.
Read  more in the New York Times 

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Local Birds and Climate Change 

By Tom Pirro(reporting from Massachusetts)
Many bird enthusiasts in central Massachusetts now enjoy both Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Carolina Wrens at their feeding stations. But, it wasn’t too many years ago when an area sighting of either of these handsome birds would have been news worthy.

Learn more in this excellent article about the changing ranges of our birds. Great photos, maps, and graphs

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Residents Near Hoosac Wind Project Describe Issues

Residents living near the Hoosac Wind Project located in Florida and Monroe, MA met today to describe how life is for them now that the wind turbines have begun operation. The project is comprised of nineteen 1.5 Megawatt, 340 foot tall, wind turbines situated on two mountains, Crum Hill in Monroe and Bakke Mountain in Florida, and went online at the end of December, 2012. It is the largest wind turbine installation in Southern New England.

“My quiet, peaceful, serene world and home has been turned into a reality of grief, unending noise, annoyance, and constant dealing with those in charge to help us. And the realization that unless something changes, my family’s dream of a quiet place to live for myself and my wife, my kids and my grandkids, has been altered forever,” said Michael Fairneny of Moores Road in Florida, who lives  about 3,000 feet from the turbines and can see four of them from his property. As for how his health is impacted, Fairneny reported that “my wife’s ears are ringing constantly when we are home and I now have headaches around the clock. Our only relief comes when we leave our house.”

Tilda Hill Road residents Irving and Rosalyn Mullette moved back to Mr. Mullette’s family homestead after living in New Jersey. According to Ms. Mullette,  “We are both 75 years young now have enjoyed the lifestyle here where we can enjoy the yard in the summer, sit out both in the daytime or evening to enjoy the surroundings, and have a small garden.  We now find this way of life is challenged and jeopardized by the wind turbines surrounding our home.  Since the turbines started operating, 7 of which are visible through our kitchen window, my husband has had daily headaches which he never had before and  is now being documented with our doctor and by our daily records.  I have been awakened in the middle of the night several times by the sound of them, and on some days when the turbines are extremely loud, and our cat cannot rest and goes racing erratically through the house.”

According to Mark Lavariere of Moores Road, “I purchased a house in the middle of nowhere about eighteen years ago to have peace and quiet from the hectic world. I loved being here until the wind turbines took that all away. When I arrive at home after a hard days work I can no longer hear the sounds of nature.  All I hear now is what sounds like helicopters hovering over my house. It is the noise of the turbines. I can only imagine when the weather turns warmer and my windows are open. My family’s future and well being is being jeopardized. This is unacceptable.”

George Berne, also of Moores Road said “My and wife I moved here to get away from the noise and activity of the city. We built our own house and we loved the seclusion, the quiet and the wildlife, and since the turbines got turned on there is a noticeable lack of certain wildlife species here. The lights from the turbines are very disturbing at night. I am deaf, but I can clearly hear what sounds like motors and I can feel the vibrations both inside my house and outside. When they first started, my granddaughter woke up terrified in the middle of the night. We are retired, so are here all day. It’s all worse than we imagined it would be.”

Wendy Miller of 15  Tilda Hill Road described the turbine operation as a life altering event.  “I have lived on my family’s land my entire life. For forty years I have enjoyed the view, the wildlife and the overall sense of peace and quiet. Now there are nights I go outside to walk my dog and the sound of the wind turbines is as if jets are hovering nearby. I will no longer be able to sleep peacefully with the windows open in the summer. My family land is sacred to me and my plans were to leave it to my children for their “peaceful place of living” when they grow up. This won’t happen. I have a dog that never barked during the night and since the turbines started he freaks out and starts barking for no reason. My indoor house cats go nuts and run like crazy more than a normal cat would since these turbines fired up. Sad to see the country turn into chaos.”

The wind project was touted by Governor Deval Patrick and energy officials during a celebration at project owner Iberdrola’s headquarters on Bliss Road in Florida in December several weeks before the turbines began operation. While the officials expressed their excitement about “ harvesting energy” from the project, protesters, who were told to stand outside the event, warned the public about the downsides of the project. “We knew that we would be affected by the noise, but it is worse that we thought” said Fairneny’s wife, Jo Ann Upper. “We don’t see how Iberdrola could have believed that the noise from the turbines would not exceed state noise standards. Now we asking our neighbors and anyone else who is being affected to send complaints in to the Department of Environmental Protection so that DEP can figure out the best way for a sound study to be done. If we don’t complain, DEP will have to assume that we are okay with the noise being inflicted upon us.”

The State noise standard is to not exceed 10 decibels above ambient sound. The project permit included a modeled sound study, but opponents said that they are unable to uncover an actual sound study. Massachusetts DEP is required to enforce the noise standard.

The Friends of Florida and Monroe, a group formed in response to the project, has a website,, that describes the project and outlines their concerns, including questions about the actual benefits of large scale wind energy.  Information about how to complain to DEP is explained on the website. “Making an official complaint to DEP is most important thing that we can do right now to help ourselves deal with this problem. After that, we’ll see where we stand,” said Fairneny.

Other communities are reporting similar problems with turbines in their neighborhoods. A lawsuit asking for $200 million in damages was filed in October, 2012 against owner Iberdrola and others involved with the Hardscrabble Wind Power Project in upstate New   York. On January 30, the Selectmen in Falmouth, Massachusetts voted to have town meeting members decide whether or not to take down two 1.65 Megawatt,  397 foot tall,  municipally owned turbines that have sparked intense debate in that town.

In nearby Shelburne, MA, the town voted to ban large scale wind last May after a developer tried to place eight 480 foot tall turbines overlooking Shelburne Falls, and the neighboring town of Heath, MA will vote February 26 on whether or not to ban large turbines in their town. “I wish our town had it to do over again.” said Upper. “We would encourage every town to ban these things. These projects are truly much more pain than gain.”

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Vermont Yankee is Polluting the Connecticut River

Vermont Yankee is throwing everything they’ve got at the Connecticut River Watershed Council!
The fight against thermal pollution is not always front page news but the legal fight at the State of Vermont’s utility regulators has been anything but quiet. Entergy has four law firms and a pile of lawyers trying to throw out CRWC studies that debunk their case for thermal pollution of the Connecticut River.

CRWC’s four expert reports conclude that Entergy’s case is “significantly flawed” and relies on outdated science. The reports have been presented to all the decision makers in Vermont, including the Governor, and present a damning case for Entergy.


These reports are top notch. So much so that even the State of VT is using these reports in their own filings to the Vermont utility regulators who will decide later this year whether Entergy should get a new license to operate.

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List of GE Pittsfield/Housatonic River Project Documents submitted to Repositories from January 6, 2013 through February 2, 2013 and A Brief Update on Discussions with GE and Local Governments

Documents submitted to the Berkshire Athenaeum

Letter (with attached report) from Richard W. Gates (GE) to Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA) and Michael Gorski (MADEP), January 9, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; Monthly Status Report Pursuant to Consent Decree December 2012 (GECD900)

Letter (with attachments) from Richard W. Gates (GE) to Michael Gorski (MADEP), January 8, 2013, Re: December 2012 Monthly Status Report; GE Pittsfield ACO/MCP Activities

Letter (with attached report) from Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA) to Robert Van Der Kar (City of Pittsfield), January 30, 2013, Re: Registry of Properties Subject to the GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Consent Decree – Updated January 2013; GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site

Letter (with attachments) from Kevin G. Mooney (GE) to Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA), January 30, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; Upper ½-Mile Reach of Housatonic River (GECD800); 2012 Annual Monitoring Report

Letter (with attached report) from Kevin G. Mooney (GE) to Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA), January 30, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; 1½-Mile Reach of Housatonic River (GECD820); 2012 Annual Monitoring Report

Letter (with attached report) from Richard W. Gates (GE) to Richard Fisher (USEPA), January 30, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; Groundwater Management Area 1 (GECD310); Groundwater Quality Monitoring Interim Report for Fall 2012

Documents submitted to the Connecticut Repositories

Letter (with attached report) from Richard W. Gates (GE) to Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA) and Michael Gorski (MADEP), January 9, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; Monthly Status Report Pursuant to Consent Decree December 2012 (GECD900)

Letter (with attachments) from Kevin G. Mooney (GE) to Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA), January 30, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; Upper ½-Mile Reach of Housatonic River (GECD800); 2012 Annual Monitoring Report

Letter (with attached report) from Kevin G. Mooney (GE) to Dean Tagliaferro (USEPA), January 30, 2013, Re: GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Site; 1½-Mile Reach of Housatonic River (GECD820); 2012 Annual Monitoring Report

At the Citizens Coordinating Council meeting on January 30 in Lenox, EPA reported that the last of the scheduled discussions between leadership of GE and the governments was taking place on January 31st. The CCC requested that EPA provide an update from that meeting.

Our update is that the outcome of that meeting was for GE and the governments to have more discussion on Rising Pond remediation, questions regarding capping thickness, and the performance standard for PCB flux over Woods Pond and Rising Pond dams. As part of the followup, the GE and government technical teams are to meet again on Monday, February 11th. Following that meeting, leadership for GE and EPA are scheduled to talk on February 12th.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Jim Murphy

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EPA Makes Public Comprehensive Information on Use of Chemicals in the U.S.

The Chemical Data Reporting information will help EPA and others assess chemicals more quickly and encourage the use of safer chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the 2012 Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) information on more than 7,600 chemicals in commerce. The CDR database contains comprehensive use and exposure information on the most widely used chemicals in the United States.

Companies are now required to provide information on chemicals used in children’s and other consumer products, along with reports on commercial applications and industrial uses of chemicals. For the first time ever, EPA also required companies to substantiate confidentiality claims in order to ensure that as much information as possible is made available to the public.

“The 2012 Chemical Data Reporting information will help EPA and others better assess chemicals, evaluate potential exposures and use, and expand efforts to encourage the use of safer chemicals,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The CDR data also highlight the clear need for TSCA reform. Updating this critical law will ensure that EPA has access to the tools and resources it needs to quickly and effectively assess potentially harmful chemicals, and safeguard the health of families across the country.”

The CDR rule, the source of this new data, was issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The rule requires companies that manufacture or import chemicals to report manufacturing and import data every four years when site-specific production volume exceeds 25,000 lb. This report is for calendar year 2011. The EPA received reports on 7,674 chemicals, including 354 that were reported as used in children’s products. 1,704 chemicals were reported as used in consumer products and 3,073 were used in commercial applications or products. The remaining chemicals reported were for industrial use only. The CDR information includes data on chemicals that are used in children’s products such as toys, playground and sporting equipment, arts and crafts materials, and textiles and furniture.

Chemicals used in consumer products, particularly those intended for children, present potential for direct exposure to the public and are priorities for assessment by the agency. Although reporting on these chemicals is compulsory, currently there are no requirements under TSCA that existing chemicals be evaluated for safety.

Yet EPA has taken action and begun a process to ensure that chemicals used by the public on a daily basis are safe. The process identifies potential chemicals for near-term review and risk assessment under TSCA. In 2012, EPA released a work plan of 83 chemicals for further review as part of the agency’s existing chemicals management program. From that list, seven chemicals were identified for risk assessment development in 2012 and 18 for assessment in 2013 and 2014. In January, 2013, EPA released for public comment and peer review an initial set of draft risk assessments of five chemicals for particular uses found in common household products
The 2012 CDR information released today is available at Users can download or search the database. In addition, users can tailor the search results to view information on specific uses of chemicals, such as those used in products intended for use with children.

Read more about the CDR data, including fact sheets, at

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Help Talking to Family About the Future of Your Land

Making a decision about the future of your land often involves talking to members of your family to find out their needs and desires.  These conversations can be difficult for many families. Don’t let this stop you from planning the future of your land!

MassWoods is launching a new pilot program offering free professional facilitation assistance to a select group of families to hold a family meeting or conversation about the future of your land.

Learn more about this opportunity and download an application.

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 New Rain Garden App

The following notice was recently distributed by UConn.

The UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) has developed a Rain Garden smart phone app that is now available for download from iTunes.

The app is targeted to homeowners and contractors, and leads the user through the proper siting, sizing, construction, planting and maintenance of a rain garden.  It includes nifty tools to help the user figure out the proper size of the garden, find out about local soil conditions, get a handle on the price of construction, and customize a plant list that will delight the eye while soaking up stormwater.   In addition, there are 6 short video segments explaining various aspects of rain garden care and

The app is only for iPhones at the moment, but we will have an Android version out soon.  Also, the imagery and plants are specific to CT, but we are starting work on a national version that will have extensive databases for each area of the country.  (If any of you are interested in helping us expand these tools, please let us know.)

Go directly to the App’s info page on the iTunes store.

Or go to the Rain Garden App page on NEMO website.

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Farming Our Future – Growing Food, Farms, and Community

Focus on food systems and community involvement


FamilyFarmed founder and President Jim Slama, a national figure in the local-food movement, will deliver the keynote address at the second annual Farming Our Future – Growing Food, Farms, and Community conference on February 23rd, 2013 at Taconic Hills Central School, located in the heart of Columbia County, New York.[just west of Great Barrington, MA]  FamilyFarmed, based in Illinois, trains small farmers, helps develop wholesale markets for them, and has a focus on the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model. Under Slama’s leadership, FamilyFarmed has played a key role in developing state policy that has strengthened local farms and farm-based economies, and has recently been awarded a grant from the USDA to train more than 2,500 fruit and vegetable growers nationally in best practices in food safety, packing and postharvest handling.

Conference organizers expect more than 300 to attend Farming Our Future.  “We expect to see people from all over the northeast, including Albany, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the entire Hudson Valley,” said Karen DiPeri, co-chair of the event along with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene County’s Steve Hadcock.   “Attendees can expect a day packed with workshops, networking, exhibitors and time for dialog” said Hadcock.

Farming Our Future will engage the agricultural community of local and regional farmers, educators, farmers’ market managers, agricultural students, providers of goods and services, and consumers to think about how to best “grow food, farms, and community” in the context of a rapidly changing local, regional, and global food system. “Jim Slama is a perfect fit for this conference,” said Todd Erling, executive director of the Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation. “FamilyFarmed has done in Illinois what we in the Hudson Valley are working on now, for our own farmers, which is to connect local food producers with trade buyers and consumers on a regional level.”

Ginsberg’s, since 1909 one of the largest independently owned and operated foodservice distributors in the Hudson Valley, has joined Farming Our Future as a platinum sponsor, showing their commitment to locally sourced products.  In addition, The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation will be back for the second year to support the conference.

Exhibitors and sponsorships for the conference are encouraged. Proceeds will go toward Taconic Hills’ nationally award-winning H.A.R.V.E.S.T. Club (Healthy Agricultural Resources by Volunteers & Educators in Science & Technology) and the Taconic Hills Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). The thriving H.A.R.V.E.S.T. program engages youth in the process of growing healthy fruits, flowers, and vegetables in a school-based garden. Community sponsorships are encouraged to help offset the cost. More information can be found online at or by calling 518-329-0890.

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Join a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – Farm:

Become a member of a farm, provide funds now for a farmer, and begin picking up your share in June.

What a delicious way to support a local farmer!

See the list of CSA’s on Berkshire Grown’s Map-o-licious.

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JOB OPPORTUNITY from our friends at The Berry Patch:

Be a rock star and join the team at The Berry Patch! Think you want to be a farmer? The Berry Patch is recruiting for energetic, creative people who love local foods to work on our farm and in our farm store this summer. For the right people, this opportunity could turn into year round employment with benefits. Contact us for a full position announcement.



Cricket Creek Farm is a small, diversified dairy farm.  We milk between 25 and 30 cows; about 20% of the milk is sold as fresh, raw milk and the rest we make into artisanal farmstead cheese.  We have a small grass-fed beef herd, raise pigs on whey, keep laying hens, and have a small bakery on site.  We market our products through a vibrant on-farm store, several weekly farmers markets, a year-round diversified CSA, and many wholesale accounts.  Each year we host 4-5 apprentices, and we are looking for the final apprentice for this coming year.  Read more about our apprenticeship program and see directions on applying here.

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Better Future Project is Hiring

Better Future Project is hiring a natural gas organizer and a 350MA coordinator.   Please spread the word!


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